Arranger keyboards entered music cultures worldwide since the mid 1980s. The discrepancy between the sound and rhythm presets included and the requirements of local music cultures spawned new genres that were as popular as they faced critique by purists. Serbia’s turbofolk, South America’s tecnocumbia and Algeria’s rai come to mind, but actually you can spot a workstation on stages anywhere between Augsburg and Vladivostok, from Shanghai to Kairo to Port au Prince. Only towards the end of the 1990s manufacturers began addressing the demands of different cultures in dedicated models that hosted their own sets of presets. Eventually, modern workstations allow for integrations of custom sounds and rhythms too, breeding the new job of local preset programmers.
I spoke to musician Dimitar Kotev of Sandanski, Bulgaria, to find out more about keyboard-based performance of traditional music, local twists to factory presets and … synthesizer viruses.
For the lack of a video of Dimitar, here’s an example of the style as performed by the Jimi Hendrix of the pitch bend wheel – Amza Tairov: