With their first album “Cigarros Explosivos!” Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanics laid the foundation for the fusion of Balkan music with Latin grooves. They are consequently pursuing this path on their latest album “Zivot”, and further perfecting their trademark sound. Global Music Network spoke with bandleader Jaro Milko about how “Zivot” came into being, his many travels and how old Italian organs ended up on the album. 

Jaro Milko The Cubalkanics Zivot Snap
Hi, Jaro. How’s it going and what has been happening since our last interview?
A lot has been going on. Babies have been born, such as our Cubalkanics baby, the new album “Zivot”. Meanwhile, we have the release behind us and are now on the road, performing our music live. It has been quite a while since we were working on the album and when I just couldn’t hear it any more. Now I am truly enjoying the live shows and the feedback is fantastic.
I heard that you have been travelling quite a bit recently. Where all have you been and what did you experience?
That was primarily during and following the concerts related to the first album. Some of the band, like myself, would travel on their own from time to time. I mostly visited friends in Israel, Greece and Turkey, musicians whom I greatly respect and with whom I also exchange ideas about music. And so, it happened that I brought back instruments such as a Greek bouzouki and a Turkish bağlama that are very inspiring to me when writing songs.
You recorded your album with Marco Bonanomi (Figli di Madre Ignota, Firewater, Ministri) in Milan in what was once a brothel. How are we to imagine that?
Quite soberly! The house is a huge building that operated as a cathouse at the turn of the 19th century. It was then sold and turned into a semi-detached house. It is located in a suburb of Milan and is where Marco Bonanomi grew up. His room was in the attic. That room eventually evolved into a recording studio and control room, serving mainly as a studio where he mixes albums. We mixed our entire album and recorded overdubs there.
We were the ones to give the studio the name “Bordello”. But it is also very important to mention that along with the “Bordello” we worked in another studio, where the whole band could be recorded at the same time. We placed the rhythm section in one room, the bass and guitar amps each in a separate room and the horns in the break room. We recorded some of the overdubs such as the vocals and guitar ourselves in Basel. In addition to these quasi normal studios, we recorded in an out-of-the-way, rundown factory building in a suburb of Milan. There on a shelf behind a curtain, we came across some quite bizarre, old Italian organs and keyboards which we didn’t hesitate to use.
Will you be performing live?
Sure. We have already done a few concerts since the release. We are touring mostly in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. In March, we’ll be headed to Italy, and there may also be some concerts in Czechia.
On the album you were supported by the vocal talents of Jana Kouril and Kama Kamila. Will they be performing with you at the live shows?
Basically, it would be great to have them both. Jana Kouril actually sang at the release concert in Basel. We are very open to having guest appearances, budget permitting. Since the band members are also involved in other projects, we frequently perform with subs, such as the fantastic singer Jasmin Albash of Basel.
Some parting words for all those Cubalkanics fans:
Thanks for your support, come to our concerts, follow us on Instagram and Facebook. New stuff will come for sure!



Jaro Milko & The Cubalkanis on Spotify:


Interview: Robert Lippuner / Global Music Network
Translation: Jamie Davies



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