Tuesdays - Funk Shui (Balkan Express 070)
This week, we’re talking the Balkan Express all the way down south to North Macedonia capital Skopje. That is where we find Funk Shui. This surprisingly versatile band could be – if pressed – placed anywhere between post-punk, neo-pop and funk-step. And yet, none of these labels do the band justice.
Funk Shui are five guys doing conceptual music with mass appeal. They released their first album, titled Aether, a decade ago. They kept up a steady three year clip since, releasing R.E.M in 2015 and Impulse in 2018. No doubt they would follow up with a fourth album in 2021, but for the plague.
The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Luka Gjorgijevski, bass guitarist Mihail Namičev, pianist Dragi Ivanov and percussionists David Nikolovski and Stefan Mamić. Together they’ve transformed the band from a run-of-the-mill Balkan post-punkers who listen to NOFX, to – I’m just going to say it – the Led Zeppelin of 21st century Balkans.
But let’s not get carried away with the Led Zeppelin analogy. Funk Shui make it no secret they count Seattle grunge scene as their main influence. They define their sound as ‘free flow’, that is to say flexible, more original, more open to creative input and more capable of generating creative output.
What sets Funk Shui apart from their regional contemporaries is the fact that they managed to transcend the barriers. For reasons that are as much political as they are linguistic, it is hard for a Macedonian band performing in Macedonian language to get traction outside Macedonia. But Funk Shui did just that.
Meteori was the first single of their yet-to-be-released fourth album. No doubt it was the plague which interrupted with the steady triannual rhythm of album releases. But the band has used the lull well. They took their music in an even more creative direction, and doubled down on the funk part of their music.
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget the gusle and tamburice, this show is about rock, pop and a sense of humour. Well, at least there’s guitars. On air most Tuesdays in a new-and-improved time-slot at 1100 hrs. Usually. Your train conductor is Aljaž (aka @pengovsky) who once did the world a solid and decided never to sing again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio.
TuesdaysWith : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.