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World Music CD Reviews Europe

La Cherga

By Tom Jackson
Published October 23, 2008

Fake No More
Asphalt Tango

"All these chords you've heard before" sings Irina Karamarkovic on the title track. She's right, of course, but with this twangy, dubby, skanking collection of Balkan beats, La Cherga cooks them up into a dish that tastes as fresh as a plum from the tree. Drawn from the ex-Yugoslavian Diaspora (Karamarkovic is from Kosovo, electronica whizz Nevenko Bucan from Croatia), La Cherga cheerfully weave together disparate threads of Balkanized dub and techno (their name means "rag rug"). The band's pan-Balkan banner embraces Boban Markovic-style brass lines, the hectic rhythms of ursari percussive vocalizing, and Darko Rundek-style Croatian melancholia. The lyrics are partly in English and, in their mission to be "fake no more," are sometimes forthright to the point of bluntness, occasionally sounding poorly translated. For all the cross-cultural dynamics, when they choose to play it straight ­- as on the instrumental "Lajka" ­- they make a lovely noise.