Chalga Band – Ratka Piratka

SSB 024
Release date 2005

Ratka Piratka is a radio show, aired on the frequencies of Radio Popolare, devoted to the music and the culture of the Balkans. It started four years ago, based on the assumption that the sound of former Yugoslavia shall not live by Bregovic alone… Widening more and more its range of action, nowadays Ratka Piratka sweeps from Albania to Turkey, from Greece to Ukraine. The virtual capital of its kingdom is of course Sofia, the city of the chalga, a music genre whose lyrics are peppered with irreverence and whose sounds mingle the rhythms from the gypsy universe with the reeks of the contemporary urban culture. The dam broke to the general public with the song that we use for the theme of the show, that “Ratka Piratka” that tells about little Rade, voluptuous red-haired pirate girl, who can floor the bachelors stripping off her bra on stage using the same hand that hold the microphone. One of the most representative voices of the world of the chalga, a music genre that crosses all boundaries in Eastern Europe, is that Sissi Atanassova, young artist of gypsy origin, who contributes with no less than two tracks. Of gypsy origin is also Daniela Diakova, a mezzo-soprano with an unusual repertoire, derived from compositions written by her grandfather and by an old uncle of hers. “Zingarella”, on the other hand, is a song from the Serbian tradition that the Chalga Band here stews in a Bulgarian sauce. Also of self-evident gypsy tradition are the languid “Ma Maren Ma” and “E Daj Nasval’I”, two tracks respectively taken from the repertoires of the Bulgarian singer Jony Iliev and of Věra Bílà , outstanding Czech musician, who grew up listening to the songs by Adriano Celentano from an old radio. “Italianez” is instead an implicit accusation to the horny Italian male hunting for exotic beauties in the discotheques of Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. But the same can be said about the Italian macho scouring the discotheques of Warsaw, Moscow and Kiev. Talking about Ukraine, “Guljianka” is the hit by Vërka Serdiuchka, the local equivalent of Renato Zero, while “Iest Sexi” is a song eavesdropped in the outskirts of Bucharest, a track the Serge Gainsbourg would surely appreciate. But on Ratka Piratka you can also find tracks that were turned into hits by Sezen Aksu, the Mina of the Bosporus, and by Eleftheria Arvanitaki, the Ornella Vanoni of the Peiraios. There’s even room for a band of young emulators of Cristina D’Avena: they’re the mysterious Bulgarian voices… at a young age. And of course, they’re tackling the “Pipppero” too…

Chalga Band