Kal are the hottest Gypsy band from the suburbs of Belgrad, fuelled on dance beats and rooted in the Balkan blues. In their wit, imagination, ability to throw disparate sounds together and refusal to play by "folkloric" rules Kal mark themselves as both part of Balkan Gypsy tradition and 21st Century Roma cultural activists.
To be a 21st Century Gypsy in Serbia involves navigating a potentially explosive cultural and social minefield. Currently no one acts as a more forthright guide through this mess of history, myths, traditions, prejudice and community pride than Belgrade's Kal. Ethnically inclusive, forward looking while embracing the treasure of the last thousand years of lungo drom (long road), a culture determined to operate as equals in the ever evolving Nu-Europe we all share, Kal are a band who aim to make a difference.
The name ‘Kal’ comes from the Romani for black the project was formed by the Ristic brothers, Dushan and Dragan, to confront the prejudices and clichés the Roma face. Dragan, a theatre producer who has set up Romani theatre groups in Budapest and Belgrade, and Dushan, a painter. Kal’s aim is to blend influences from traditional Balkan Gypsy music with the contemporary music they heard whilst living in Belgrade and Budapest.
Ristic's vision of how Kal embrace 21st Century Roma music is a generous one: bhangra rhythms underpin one song, a violin dances around a two-step rhythm played on double bass, weeping Hawaiian steel guitar drifts over a lovely waltz tempo, an accordion feeds tango flavours, Montenegran rock satirist Rambo Amadeus delivers an acerbic, hiccupping rap whilst the striking voices of Zumrita Jakupovic, Adil Maksutovic and Dragana Berakovic lend earthy, sensual qualities to the songs.
Kal Released their ground-breaking debut and self titled debut album in 2006 on Asphalt Tango Records, launching them into international world music stardom, touring the the US and Europe. The band followed this up with their 2009 album Radio Romanista, also on Asphalt Tango Records.