While over the last few years the area’s become better known for strategic voting in Eurovision, the folksy music they trot out for the annual musical shindig isn’t anything like the music lighting up the charts around the different nations that make up the Balkans.
Surprisingly enough, the area is dominated by dance music, with the area’s biggest sellers hardly ever dropping below
Firstly, we start in Croatia, where you’ll find Yannah Valdevit, a new artist coming out of there with something completely different, a UK garage influenced, orchestrally twinged quasi-dance based artist.
After teaming up before with Croatian producer Eddy Ramich, this first solo record sees Yannah co-producing with new label-mate and UK garage DJ Zed Bias and producing an album that has a really unique quality.
Its Yannah’s blues based vocal that makes the combination really work, as her positively timeless style of voice forms an odd but highly intriguing combination with the up-tempo garage backing. With dashes of strings coming in to lend a hand, it makes for a record unlike probably anything else you would have heard this year.
With a debut album this interesting, the future looks bright for Yannah.
Next up we transition from someone just starting to make it big to one of the area’s biggest hitters. Inna has become a colossus of the Balkan’s with the Romanian star picking up no fewer than 27 awards over the past five years, including two MTV Europe Music Awards and five Balkan Music Awards.
Amazingly enough, Inna actually gave up on music before her big break after failing to become a part of one of Romania’s biggest girl bands A.S.I.A, she quit the business and started selling slippers. After being spotted by a talent scout singing in a market however, she was back in the game, with even an unsuccessful bid to become Romania’s Eurovision contestant not enough to dull her rise to power.
Inna’s trademark dance-pop has made her a smash hit for a reason; it’s Eurodance at its absolute infectious best and is pure summer based entertainment. With two albums in the books, and a list of chart hits as long as her arm across Europe, it’s all turned out very nicely for Inna.
Moving on to Slovenia, we come to Trash Candy, a young vibrant rock group so Western influenced they could have trotted straight out of the U.S. or Canada.
Despite the pop-rock scene being almost non-existent in the area, Tash Candy have found themselves nominated for the best Adria at this year’s MTV EMA’s after winning the companies Bend competition, beating over 300 other bands to the praize and securing themselves a dedicated following on the way.
While comparisons with Paramore and The Pretty Reckless are easy, they’re also terribly apt, with their sticky sweet punky vibe a delight for anyone with a rock-themed sweet tooth, with just enough edge and verve to make them interesting and new even for veterans of the genre.
With their first album available for download from their Facebook page for free, any rock and roll buffs owe it to themselves to give them a look.
We close up by moving back to Croatia with VIS Lollobrigidia. Formed back in 2003, the group’s been through its rough patches (including a vocalist leaving and the group going through a subtle name change) but with three albums under their belt
Following the departure, the band’s sound doubled down on its electro side, with a fleet of new instrumentations giving their music a deeper, more textured and rounded electronic swagger.
Scooping the MTV award for best Adriatic act back in 2009, the group keeps going from strength to strength, their music continuing to sound like an electro infused Blondie, a prospect that should whet the appetite of any music aficionado.
Think we’ve missed of a crucial part of the Balkan cluster, or have someone you want to show the world? Let us know in the comments.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith