Shantel & Bucovina Club Orkestar
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With his international mega hit Disko Partizani, Shantel became the audible face of a new music and dance culture worldwide. He was the first to give current pop culture a cosmopolitan sound because of his multi-layered family roots. With Shantel, migration is audible and danceable. Musical gems from Southeast Europe, Greece and the Middle East appear in a new, multi-layered context.
Shantel sees his work as a musician as a creative preparation of an ongoing discourse between theory and practice. The audible, tangible and danceable results are always a product of his very individual engagement with music as a specific expression of a historical, cultural, social and political soundscape of a place. From the very beginning, his output as a DJ, producer and musician has been in the field of
tension between tradition + modernity and analogue + digital.
Shantel’s method does not follow a linear understanding of music as something static, culturally and spatially delimit able. On the contrary: his own family history and the accompanying multi-layered musical socialization made it clear to him early on that music knows no boundaries. This basic idea of reconciling different musical expressions can be found in all of the artist’s projects. Thus, the club Stefan ran in the 1980s, Lissania Essay in Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel, can be understood as Shantel’s own musical expression, not to reflect the mainstream electronic music scene, but to put the complexity of new forms and techniques of making music into an overall global context. Lissiana offered the various urban communities a space that was integrative and diverse instead of a scene – as were all of Shantel’s other projects in the course of time, in which music and club culture always become political practice.
In today’s globalized world, in the urbanity in which we live, Shantel does not play and produce the one sound for the one community that supposedly springs from it. In a complex world, characterized by migration, digital exchange and a dynamic music scene that constantly spits out new creative products of seemingly incompatible musical backgrounds, there is no longer this one geographically pinned down,
separated, homogenous sound.
With this understanding, Shantel creates a curatorial approach to global musical structures and internationally functioning sounds with albums like “Disko Partizani” or “Istanbul”, which can be understood as an ongoing critique of Western Europe’s Eurocentric pop culture. While migration, subcultures and their respective bringings of music have long been an integral part of the lived diversity of cities, the media public sphere still creates a segregated system of supposedly homogenous modern music genres. Especially “Disko Partizani” and “Istanbul”, as lovingly produced albums created in constant musical exchange, show the limits of Western-focused and simplified genre classifications such as “Balkan Beat” and “Oriental Pop”.
So instead of understanding music as a dynamic product of historical, social and cultural influences, it becomes static and homogenous: Music with Greek, Anatolian or Southern European sounds, even if it originates in Frankfurt in the heart of Europe, thus still becomes the music of others. According to Shantel, this negation leads to music beyond the European mainstream, unless it is extremely commercial sable, being made invisible. Shantel sees his work as a producer, musician and DJ as a declaration of war against the existing structures of social dominance and the assumption that only that which can maintain a clear separation between the sound “here” and the sound “there” can be successful in the mainstream.