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"Ahilea - Cafe Svetlana"

Von Wien aus wirbelt der selbst aus Patchwork-Verhiiltnissen
stammende, als Staatenloser geborene Ahilea
Durcorki einen großzügigen Mixaus traditionellen
Balkanklängen, Reggae, Independent-Rock und elektronischen
Soundzutaten. Ausgangspunkt seiner ungestürnen,
randvoll mit Roma-Klängen, orientalischem
Psychedelic-Prunk und zeitgemäßen Disko- und
House-Einflüssen bestückten Musik ist das Caf€ Svetlana,
in dem schon Erich Mühsam und malende und
dichtende 'Schlawiner' vom Balkan verkehrten. Multi
und Kulti ziehen an einem Strang- ein dreizehnköpfiges
Orchester fegt über den Autoput, wild und grenzenlos,
von Wien bis ins türkische Gebiet. Mazedonier,
Kosovaren, Östeneicher, Griechen, Serben und Ukrainer
bringen ihre nationale Musiksprache mit und
pflanzen sie in Ohr und Herz. Aus Einzelteilen entsteht
ein Ganzes; Urbanes und Provinzielles kooperieren
zum Vergnügen der Zuhörer. (hüb) - Jazzzeit


Ahilea - Cafe Svetlana (AY CD20)



What a story! Remarkable, and yet not untypical of the Balkans, where people’s biographies have rarely ever been straightforward, and where the vagaries of life have taken them from land to land in search of work or refuge; in the Ottoman Empire there were practically no boundaries. Ahilea Durcovski was born stateless in 1965 on the territory of former Czechoslovakia, near the Polish border. His parents had been evacuated as children when civil war erupted at the end of WWII. They met in a children’s home and eventually fell in love and married. This Walach/Aromun and Macedonian/Slavic family is just the kind of wild ethnic blend that you find throughout the Balkans. In 1974 the family left Czechoslovakia and settled in the little town of Debar near the Albanian border, where Ahilea grew up in a multi-ethnic environment. He studied civil engineering at the University of Skopje and, on graduating, immediately started all over again – this time studying art history and archaeology. The soundtrack to his student days was dominated by the singers and bands of the Novi Talas (New Wave): EKV, Idoli, Haustor, Electricni Orgazam, Sarlo Akrobata. He moved later on to Ohrid, a very beautiful town on the famous Ohrid Lake.
The next change of direction came in 1987, with a move to Graz in the Austrian region of Steiermark, where Ahilea took on any job that was going (washing dishes, leafleting…) until he had managed to master the German language. Then he became a DJ, spinning Chicago House, and trained as a sound engineer – a profession he has practised for 18 years in clubs and for bands like Tschuschen Kapelle. At one of the gigs, he met Zoran Tomasev, a fellow sound engineer. They became firm friends, going along to “Balkan events” where they were appalled at the rubbish the DJs were playing. So they decided there was only one thing for it: let’s do it ourselves! They founded Export Import Tunes as a creative platform. Soon, their "SchliwoBeatz" nights became must-do events in Vienna. Not least because of their use of visuals (such as excerpts from ex-Yugoslavian films of the 1970s and 1980s).
Ahilea had already produced electronic music, especially the kind of style that is often described as "funky, groovy, jazzy". But it was his colleague Zoran who pointed him in the right direction: "Hey, you know the music of the Balkans. Why don’t you try something of your own??!" No sooner said than done. He sent his first piece, Out of Town, to three colleagues: Shantel, Robert Soko, Penny Metal. Their unanimously euphoric response encouraged him to follow his own path.
Through his work as a front of house engineer and thanks to his SchliwoBeatz nights, Ahilea already knew some of the finest musicians in Vienna’s Balkan scene – some who were soloists and others who played in respected bands or even classical orchestras.
Ahilea’s musical cosmos: his grandmothers sang him Greek, Walachian and Macedonian songs and folk music. His parents were more into rock ‘n’ roll. He grew up listening to the vibrant pop music of former Yugoslavia that was popular throughout the entire Eastern Bloc and renowned for its revolutionary new approaches, creativity and topical references. But, like his colleague Shantel, it was the traditional music of the Balkans with its melodic and rhythmic structures that Ahilea was drawn to and which he tried to blend with his very own electronic lo-fi aesthetic. One particularly rich source of inspiration for him was the music played at weddings. Yet Ahilea is also open to all kinds of contemporary urban styles – from funk to reggae, freestyle, electronica, broken electronics and guitar-led indie rock.