DJ Joro-Boro: Dirty south Euro
Joro-Boro is a music man of the turntable variety, known in NYC for his Southern European stylings. He will not be at your 21st birthday velvet-rope Tenjune Boulevard bungalow. He will be at two outrageous fetes in Brooklyn this Saturday, playing New Orleans bounce music and topping it off with what he calls glitch folk, ethnotech, or post national bass music, the illegitimate child of globalization; bassed-infused city-villager jams from Bulgaria, Turkey, the Ukraine for example. He dirties up Balkan rhythms and spices up classic hip-hop. Joro plays for audiences from Rubulad to Irving Plaza and spent some of last year on tour with the South American/ Israeli band Balkan Beatbox.
Joro-Boro found his DJ footing at the LES’ Bulgarian Bar, back when it was in Chinatown, and made a name for himself in the gypsy and immigrant rock scene at the time. My favorite Joro spotting was on the patio next to a mobile, mahogany circus tent pitched at the South Street Seaport. He plays the kind of parties Burning Man fans thank Brooklyn for, adding a dash of personal panache in grimy dapper; Oliver Twist-meets-Bedouin prince.
A chat with DJ Joro-Boro:
You grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria is that right? What brought you to NYC?
I came to New York for university, after studying in Oregon and Boston I moved here to go to The New School.
Did you begin Djing in college?
I started Djing by accident, I was called in the middle of the night to sub for a DJ at the Bulgarian Bar. They offered me free drinks so I did it. It was supposed to be temporary but one week turned into seven years. Eugene from Gogol Bordello did Thursdays and I did Fridays and Saturdays. I played Turkish and Arabic music alongside classic cumbias. That’s where I met the guys who later formed Balkan Beat Box.
How much time did you spend on tour with Balkan Beat Box last year?
We first went out on tour four years ago, actually, but it fell apart when we got to the Canadian border and two of the guys couldn’t cross because they only had tourist visas. I played a few shows alone. Last year it finally happened with Uproot Andy on dates all over.
You describe your style as ethno-tech, what is that exactly?
I use a few different phrases to describe it because it’s not easy to define. I mix local music from all over the globe. It’s not global because it’s very localized, like bounce in New Orleans, electro-cumbia from Argentina or chalga from Bulgaria. It’s folk but it’s not the kind of folk you put in a museum – it’s relevant, evolving, a grass roots kind of folk that resonates. It’s the kind of music that many people look down on because of the social conditions of those who create it – hyphy in the San Francisco Bay, corridos in Mexico. It’s tricky because you don’t want to play something as a novelty, you don’t chase it or exploit it. It’s living music from all over.
What can we expect from you this spring and summer, any adventures in the works?
I started a new residency this month, a party called Bastrdzm, every first Thursday of the month at National Underground in the LES. In May I’m playing at Symbiosis in Nevada, on Pyramid Lake. I’m playing along with the band Dolomites, Japanese-Romanian music out of California.
Check out Joro-Boro at Public Assembly and later at a party called Balkan De Janeiro at House of Yes this Saturday, April 7.