Stefan Shantel, a German musician with Bukovina Jewish and Greek roots, became famous in Romania due to the two very successful sets he performed at Balkanik 2014 and 2015. He is something close to a global underground celebrity – whatever that may mean – due to ‘Disko Partizani’, a hit he launched in 2007, combining electro with Balkan music. In September this year, he released ‘Viva Diaspora’, an album more related to his Greek roots, conceived as a road movie, ‘cinema for the ears’, in Athens, with contributions from renowned local musicians such as Areth Ketime or Imam Baildi.
I’ve interviewed Shantel by telephone, prior to his September 13 performance at Balkanik, for ‘Șapte seri’ – the Romanian version was already published. Here’s the first part of the conversation as it took place originally, in English.
You are probably the most seminal artist for the Balkan music trend which originated in Frankfurt several years ago and is a mix of Balkan, DJ-electro stuff and other influences. Can you tell us a little bit about how it all started?
Listen, first of all I would like to clarify a little bit this misunderstanding. I never considered myself a spokesman or representative of Balkan music. That was never the idea. Totally not. Second, I started somehow my work because I’m an artist from continental Europe and I am born and raised in Germany, but I come from a very cosmopolitical family. Continue reading