Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Moldovan turbo folk bonkersness

There are those who claim that the root of rock'n'roll lay in the African songs and spirituals sung mournfully every day in the fields and on the ships to keep the spirits up. And while this may be true to some extent, another equally important musical root is frequently overlooked when it comes to chronicling the history of contemporary Western sounds - one that rises from the mountains and villages of central  and South Eastern Europe - and that music is polka.

It's not fashionable to say it, but the simple boom-chit two-beat beloved of accordian-handed folkies and riotous Balkan weddings is surely every bit as much to blame for punk rock as any amount of delta blues. The speed, rhythm and pure bonkersness of the genre is infused through contemporary pop, but it's those out East who still do it the best, and Moldova's Doinita Gherman is about as bonkers as it comes.

Hailing from the capital Chisinau, she started life as a more traditional ethno-pop act before she saw the light and began to pile on the rock, while still staying true to her folky roots. The result is a 150mph punky stomp, that sees her breathlessly below out the words while jumping about like someone desperately trying to put out a carpet fire.

You think I'm exaggerating? The video for her song Batuta sees her dancing up trees, on motorway central reservations, footbridges and anywhere her feet will take her. One gets the feeling that this girl never stops, and gawd bless her for it!

But she hasn't forgotten the old days, and still dresses in a stylised and somewhat raunchy version of the traditional Moldovan farmgirl dress, and crowbars traditional rhythms and dances into the high speed insanity. Whether we'll ever get to see or hear the girl on these shoresis unclear, and indeed unlikely. She is perhaps a little too obscure, and indeed hardcore for even the keenest world music enthusiast, but she's all over the internet, so make a point of trying to track her down - it's what the world wide web is for, after all!

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