Niš

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Turbo Folk

Born in Serbia in the early 1990s and having close cultural links with the Bulgarian Chalga, Turkish Arabesk and Greek Laïka scenes, Turbo Folk mixes traditional Balkan folk music with the westernised club music coming out of the region at the time. The term was first used by the Montenegrin-born Serbian singer-songwriter Rambo Amadeus, essentially as a joke, but has now become synonymous with the genre. Growing up via the illegal radio stations of Belgrade and the cult cable television station Pink TV, what was originally a Serbian child has gone on to have children of its own throughout the Balkans.

Fusing together a bizarre mix of predominantly working-class sentimentality, nationalism and hedonism, Turbo Folk is alive and well and living in the streets of Niš. Dress codes for men are fairly liberal, but the classic Turbo Folk female wears revealing dresses, dances in a provocative way, and is usually found inside a pair of long, high-heeled white boots. Completely off the tourist radar, those wishing to know more about the sub-culture before venturing along to a venue might like to ask the advice of a local before doing so.

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