August 19, 2006 9:39 AM   Subscribe

In a small town in Central Serbia called Guca, the "Festival of Brass Music" takes place since 1961. The main event is an epic trumpet competition which Boban Markovic has won 5 times. (You might have heard his playing in several films by Emir Kusturica, most notably The Underground.) Now there is also a film about the festival , which begins this year on the 30th of August.

The festival is an insane mixture of Oktoberfest, Carnival of Rio and folklore show with a Serbian twist.

Some examples of the music to be heard on the festival. And if you like those, you'd better check out Fanfare Ciocarlia and Taraf de Haidouks too.
posted by hoskala (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Interesting post hoskala. Enjoyed the trailer of the movie. I love it when he says "I always say this is the biggest psychiatric clinic in the world". I love Balkan music. And crazy culture mixes.

The Bollywood Brass Band.

My ex got me hooked on Balkan pop. It's an interesting cultural mix all around with the Roma gypsy influence, Ottoman Empire Turkish and Slavic/Northern European. Amazing variety.

I like the "Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music", Vera Bila.

Let's Get Retarded in fanfare. Alarm clock fanfare.
posted by nickyskye at 11:15 AM on August 19, 2006

I love Boban, have met the man and he is one sweet guy, but the truth is his secret to World Music success is that he is the one and only Gypsy Brass band leader with the ability to get his band to actually get visas, arrive at an airport on time, and not jump ship and get jobs in whatever western city they play in. For out and out wild brassiness, Elvis Ajdanovic gets my vote.

Frank London has worked with Boban a lot, and tells a story about showing up to play at the Guca festival competition: before the gig the band was tuning their trumpets, and the local musicians looked at them and asked "what are you doing?" "Tuning" so the local musicians simply grabbed their horns and pushed the valves in as far as they could go. "There, you are tuned" And Frank told me that that was the secret of that serbian brass sound.

If you are ever in Belgrade, don't miuss a visit to the Crni Pantera bar - it's on a barge on an island on the danube. All the cab drivers know it. Cheap booze, gypsy brass bands, roast slabs of bacon, open all night, everybody singing and dancing. Zivoli!
posted by zaelic at 11:21 AM on August 19, 2006

slav pop is resolutely bloody awful , but the sexiness of the people more than makes up for this - they could dance to the sound of a phone ringing and make it look wonderful.
after a month of being pounded with that stuff , i was crossing the mostar bridge when i heard this lovely snare drum and trumpet stuff you've linked to here ....so ramshackle and joyous.

I need more links to this stuff ................!
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:34 AM on August 19, 2006

so ramshackle and joyous

posted by nickyskye at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2006

slav pop is resolutely bloody awful , but the sexiness of the people more than makes up for this

Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Yet, I ended up associating one with the other and ended up liking early 90's pop, the truly awful deep crooner kitch. Guess that would be pre-recent-war pop, like Saban Saulic and Marinko Rokvic.
posted by nickyskye at 12:42 PM on August 19, 2006

Kusturica is producing (Dusan Milic is the director) a new movie about gypsy musicians, set (I think) in Guca, which is starring Marko Markovic, Boban Markovic's son (and the official successor to the Boban Markovic Orchestra) which is sure to feature some especially delicious music.

My mom and I went to the festival in Guca two summers ago and it was a blast- we have some priceless pictures of the people we were sharing a table with in a restaurant stuffing money into a gypsy band's instruments and dancing at the table. At the actual competition, it was so loud that I could feel the lower register notes vibrate in my chest cavity. Even if you're not into huge crowds of mostly drunken people, it's worth visiting just because the area itself is actually very beautiful. There is some very pretty hiking in the mountains around the town and lots of gorgeous monasteries.
posted by Oobidaius at 1:04 PM on August 19, 2006

Yeah, hoskala nice post. This festival looks like heaps of fun: hope I can go sometime.

From their site:

" As per the decision of the Serbian Government the festival is going to last five days from 30th of August to 3rd of September. The main reason for this is that it is not acceptable for the festival to be held in the time of fasting."

What's the fasting about? Old Serbian tradition?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:53 PM on August 19, 2006

Yet, I ended up associating one with the other and ended up liking early 90's pop, the truly awful deep crooner kitch

oh i love this type of singing , no eight foot people or the shaky hip thing in the video unfortunately....it's that terrible synth keyboard drumbeat again .....thanks for reminding me of that Nicky : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:21 PM on August 19, 2006

Now that's a party.
posted by longsleeves at 8:52 PM on August 19, 2006

Thanks hoskala - anything reminding me of Underground is a good thing. I loved it so much when I first saw it at the cinema, I sent to England to have a video posted out. And thanks for the Kusturica tips b1tr0t - I shall have to put those on the list.
posted by peacay at 3:27 AM on August 20, 2006

Thanks for the tip zaelic. I'll definitely pay that bar a visit next week when I'm travelling to Guca via Belgrade. I thought of visiting the Tesla Museum too.

Turbo-folk would be a worthy topic for a FPP by itself.
posted by hoskala at 4:02 AM on August 20, 2006

What's the fasting about? Old Serbian tradition?

Could it be to do with Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims?

terrible synth keyboard drumbeat

Yeah, that is so dated and cheesy.

Asked to comment, Rambo Amadeus famously quipped: "I feel guilty for turbo-folk as much as Albert Einstein felt guilt over Hiroshima & Nagasaki".

Rambo Amadeus, great name. (derail, I knew a female asbestos inspector named Aphrodite Socrates). Turbo-folk, omg, am dying to listen to it!
posted by nickyskye at 10:34 AM on August 21, 2006

Serbs are mostly Orthodox Christians. I don't think Ramadan is the reason.
posted by hoskala at 12:21 PM on August 21, 2006

more importantly , what does Ljubav je moja tvrdjava mean ?

cause that guys lookin worried about it.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:11 PM on August 21, 2006

sgt. serenity, lol, I think those singers look worried as part of looking "strasti", passionate. My Serbo-Croatian is very limited but as far as I can make out Ljubav je moja tvrdjava means my heart is my castle, or love is my fortress, or my devotion is a citadel...? Something like that. It's might be a take on Fortress Around My Heart.

Ljubav= love, devotion, heart
je= is
moja= my
tvrdjava=fortress, castle, citadel
posted by nickyskye at 7:03 PM on August 21, 2006

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