. . .something about the time when Americans gather to celebrate some birthday? Lessee, three days ago I went into the mall once but not to shop. Not pleasant. Today is Christmas and I’ve got a few creative projects to push over the finish line so I can offer gifts for the purpose of saying goodbye to the old year. It’s a crisp sunny day and not even a dusting of white yuletide vapor.

Here’s a fast one. DJ Shantel, as Shantel, put out one of my favorite records of the last ten years, Great Delay. Then he parlayed his interest in gypsy music to become the most prominent auteur of the Balkan Beat. His story is a fine example of entrepreneurial drive and DIY vision. Starting with a modest club platform in Frankfurt, Stefan Hantel turned his Club Bucovina into a globetrotting phenomena. He’s promoting the thumping big beats of his Club Bucovina Orkestar along with other electric gypsy ensembles.

Have a safe holiday and a great new year.

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