OP OP OPA! (La Sra. Tomasa + Dubioza Kolektiv)

Balkan and reivindication lovers, last thursday we had the pleasure of having Dubioza Kolektiv giving us a concert (Sala Salamandra, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona). DK is a band from Bosnia & Herzegovina founded in 2003 by Adis Zvekić and Almir Hasanbegović. They are known for offering their fresh take on reivindicative lyrics featuring a mix of hip-hop, reggea, rock and Bosnian folklore. They define their starting motive as an urge to address the porblems in the Bosnian society. Their aim was to show to the rest of the world that the life in the Balkans had so much more to offer than what was the hackeneyed by the media through stereotypes. This is the underlying reason, why most of their lyrics revolve around peace, understanding and tolerance, criticism of nationalism and injustice. But what really gives these lyrics their tone is that they are very direct with and reflect the real experiences of the members of the band. They’re prospected to become the next reowned international balkan group after Goran Bregović or Kusturica and his no smoking orchestra (well known in Barcelona and all over the world). But their style is very different from the others, they don’t mince the words, they really want to change situations and mentalities.

The event started with La Sra. Tomasa, a Catalan band also detached from taboos that mixes dubstep and drum’n’bass with latin music (salsa, guaguancó, rumba, timba…), occasionally featuring touches of reggea, funk or even hip hop. Their warmth filled the stage, they really made us move our hips by playing new cd songs like “Guajira” or a very special version of “Chan chan” from Cuban singer Compay Segundo. But they also surprised the crowd in Salamandra and made us shake our heads with heavy rhythms that reminded the essence of Skrillex, appearently this is a strange mixture of styles that surprisingly invigorated their performance and made it richer.

Right after it was Dubioza Kolektiv’s turn with their one-of-a kind performance. Bosnians appeared with their legendary yellow and black clothes and offered us more than two hours of real joy. What really draws attention of this eastern male group is their modest attitude and certainty, their ability to pass on this special feelings and thoughts, turning indignation into cheering up through music. All of Dubioza’s songs have the same sort of Balkan storyline behind, where saxophonist Mario Ševarac makes an excellent job. By Balkan storyline, I’m refering to something that is exotic to people living here. We first corelate these melodies with arabian melodies but soon we realize that it is something else, new and different. When this special type of folklore is mixed with ska, rock or reggea, results are fascinating: everybody jumps and dances while those from the Balkans start singing it, delighted to have Dubioza representing their land. Adis Zvekić and Almir Hasanbegović (vocals) showed the meaning of endless energy, Almir interacting with the audiance with his contagious smile and Adis with his special funny dances and his magnetic voice.

When the Balkan explosion finished, I had the chance to meet them for a while in the backstage. There is no group of people that is warmer and kinder in the world than they are. The “private” space was turned into their own party spot, full of hugs, laughs and beer. It was their first performance in Barcelona (followed by Madrid and Galicia), and Dubioza expressed their feelings as it is amazing to realize lots of people love what you do. “Happy Machine Tour 2014” will finishing after several concerts in numerous countries. The fans are now waiting anxiously for the new album full of Dubioza’s energy. As they say in their webpage, if somebody is searching for rude boys or for gangstas this is the wrong place to look at. What they really do is to take their traditional music forms and show it through a personal and positive perspective, the only way to get changes, when desire comes directly from soul.

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