In 1997, before the Balkan sound became omnipresent in Global Beats and World Music circles, Max Pashm released his debut album ‘Weddings, Bar-mitzvahs & Funerals’ on Sony Music. This now classic collection of early dance/world music fusion tracks with blistering dance and darbuka beats, including the ground-breaking Kritika/Dance song ‘Queen of Sikim’, became a big success across Europe, and established Max’s reputation as one of the early pioneers of his genre who also went on to work with Nitin Sawhney and the Levellers and remix artists such as Ekova, Ska Cubano and Sex Pistols.
Fast forward to 2008 and the imminent release of the provocatively entitled, yet humorous ‘Never Mind The Balkans – Here’s Max Pashm’ (Elektrikos Organikos Records), a hefty dose of – as Max calls it – “KlezmerBalkanGreekGypsyPunk with Electro beats”, no doubt influenced by his own Jewish roots (he is half Sephardi and half Ashkenazi with his mum’s family being from Portugal and his dad’s family from the Russian-Polish border), many years spent in Greece, extensive touring of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and beyond and his current home town of Brighton.
No longer just a one-man act like in the early days, the Max Pashm Band is a collective of some of the finest UK-based Greek, Balkan and Klezmer musicians and includes Greek bouzouki and baglamas player George Kypreos, Klezmer clarinet player Merlin Shepherd, classical Russian/Yiddish singer and pianist Polina Shepherd, Bulgarian/Russian vocalist Eugenia Georgieva, guitarist Rik Harrington and Cretan lyra player Laura Anstee. Combined with Max’s blistering electronic beats/percussion and vocals, the band performs a powerful and uplifting fusion of the old and new, both on CD and at their exciting and innovative live shows. The forthcoming album also features guests such as Brighton Gypsy brass collective Fanfara, and Stelios Petrakis on Cretan lyra, and Hungarian trio Perunika on vocals. As well as all the traditional influences, the album contains flavours of Dub, Ska, Hip-Hop, Rock and Punk, blending many genres and styles to create a unique sound and energy with lyrics in Greek, Bulgarian, Yiddish and English. Get to the end of the 12 storming tracks and you might just agree: ‘Never Mind The Balkans – Here’s Max Pashm’.
UK Tour Dates:
Friday, 26 September 2008, 8pm
Balkan Beats, Komedia, 44-47 Gardner Street, North Laine, Brighton BN1 1UN
£10/ £8 concessions (Box office: 01273 647100)
Saturday, 11 October 2008, 8pm
Soviet Reunion present Cossack Disko (feat. a live solo set by Max Pashm), The Cross Kings (Jester Bar), 126 York Way, London N1 0AX
Saturday, 20 December 2008, 9pm
The Talbot Hotel, Tregaron, Ceredigion SY25 6JL
£11/ £10 concessions/ £8 members (more on the door) (Box office: 01974 298965)