Shantel and his delightfully bizarre Bucovina Orkestar are the secular man’s Whirling Dervishes. They play, sing and dance an incredible fusion of gypsy, Balkan and pop music, and they do it with a maniac’s pure energy.
You can see that every single musician on stage is absolutely passionate about what they do, and this passion is so infectious that it’s not long before the entire audience is starting to become more than a little crazed.
This was not such much a concert as a celebration of music and life. Shantel has the endearing (and somewhat unnerving) habit of stepping down from the stage mid song, to wander among the audience like a man possessed. He’s like Klaus Kinski’s sweet twin brother, drawing his audience in while getting every ounce of energy and passion from the musicians around him.
It’s a great shame that Shantel and his Orkestar aren’t in Hamburg on a regular basis because the feeling I get when at their concert is one of pure freedom. Their music and bacchanalian spirit is still vibrating through my body, making Winter feel a little less daunting, and reminding me of music’s unique life affirming properties.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the man or his albums, it’s quite possible that you may have come into contact with this musical anarchist while watching Fatih Akin’s masterpiece ‘Auf der Anderen Seite’. Indeed any fans of Emir Kusturica’s kaleidoscopic films wouldn’t feel out of place while revelling at a Shantel concert.
The only criticism I could possibly level at the concert is that, like everything else in life, it had to come to an end. But please please, don’t leave it so long until you return to these shores.
Marc Liam Toolan