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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Neither ancient nor modern describes the band called Slavic Soul Party. The New York brass band takes inspiration from Balkan tunes and what it calls gypsy music, as well as funk and New Orleans traditions, and it plays with punk rock energy.

Reviewer Banning Eyre says Slavic Soul Party's fifth album, "Taketron," showcases its out-of-the-box thinking.

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BANNING EYRE: Any time musicians study traditions deeply and then free themselves to follow their own whims, it's a beautiful thing, but when it comes to the brass band fusion of Slavic Soul Party, that's just the beginning. With razor-sharp precision, juggernaut force and a healthy dose of playfulness, these guys start out in overdrive and never let up.

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EYRE: A decade ago, percussionist Matt Moran was playing with traditional Greek and Macedonian groups, but they quickly squelched his instinct to throw in funky backbeats, so he started his own band. Today, Slavic Soul Party is part of an experimental Balkan music movement that's right at home in eclectic, polyglot New York. This is a world where the throb of Serbian brass and the pump of Motown are happy bedfellows.

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EYRE: Of the nine players in Slavic Soul Party, only one has a real background in traditional Slavic music. That's Peter Stan, third generation Romanian accordionist. When Stan takes a solo with this band, his roots show, but so does his delight in breaking with orthodoxy.

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EYRE: Balkan music has a reputation for being frenetic and complicated, but Matt Moran doesn't buy that. It is dance music, after all, and even when Slavic Soul Party opens up for indie rock bands like Arcade Fire and the Dresden Dolls, kids with no clue about Balkan traditions dance their tails off. Moran says they're happy to escape what he calls the school uniform of electric guitar and the corporate hegemony of programmed beats. Ha, take that, big music. Slavic Soul Party offers a gut punch to preconceptions about traditional music, world music, pop music, dance music. But I'll tell you, this is one gut punch you'll enjoy.

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NORRIS: Banning Eyre is senior editor at afropop.org. He reviewed the new CD called "Taketron" by the group Slavic Soul Party. You can hear tracks from the CD at npr.org/music.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

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