On the weekend we went to one of the best concerts of my life... fabulous, loud, passionate Balkan music-- a combination of hot jazz, wild gypsy, lyrical shepherd flutes, and more. It is unlike anything you've ever dreamed of. If you've never heard of Goran Bregovic and his "Wedding and Funeral Band", let me give you a very brief introduction. He was born in the former Jugoslavia to a Serbian mother and a Croatian father, and he grew up in Sarajevo until the war forced him to exile in Paris. We first heard of him while living in Romania where his music from the movie "The Underground" was quite popular. He's actually done written the music for several films including one of my favourites "La Reine Margot" (Queen Margot), and for "Time of the Gypsies". One of his most unusual pieces has to be "Death Car" which he wrote for Iggy Pop!
A wonderful thing about the concert was how the music seemed to touch everyone from 6 years old up to 66. I looked around and people were dancing and singing and waving their hands in the air. It was virtually impossible to keep still! It's interesting- the audience was jumping but the band on stage hardly moved their feet. I loved watching Goran and his sidekick Alan (a true wunderkind) as they connected with each other and to us. At times Goran seemed to be in awe of his band members, watching and listening to them perform with a twinkle in his eye.
Both evenings were apparently sold out, and yet I have mentioned him to several Albanians who react in scorn- "bah- he was on the wrong side in the war!" It's sad, but I don't believe there will ever be real peace in the Balkans with attitudes like this. People are unwilling to forgive and forget, and to move on in harmony. Everyone you talk to seems to hate everyone in the surrounding countries with such passion. Not only that, but the south of Albania seems to detest the north and vice versa!
Bregovic's music melds imagery from the entire Balkan area, and he has even been dubbed "The Pied Piper of the Balkans" by the press. I know I closed my eyes and the music transported me to the mountains where I'm sure I was surrounded by sheep.
If only the passion of his music could somehow bring us together.
Here are his upcoming concerts so try to go!
April:26.04. ZURICH 27.04. GENEVE - Victoria Hall29.04. ANTWERPEN - De Singel(Karmen)May:MEXICO & USA? (possible - stay tuned) 20.05. BRETIGNY/ORGE - Théâtre de Bretigny(Karmen)21.05. COUTANCES - Jazz Sous Les Pommiers22.05. BREST - Le Quartz(Karmen)23.05. BREST - Le Quartz(Karmen)24.05. MUNICH - Philharmonie25.05. FRANKFURT - Alte Oper27.05. CORBEIL - ThéâtreJuly:30.07. CARCASSONNE - Festival de Carcassonne31.07. MARSIAC - Festival Jazz à Marsiac