Boban Markovic is one of the world’s most celebrated musicians of Romani descent – father and son have nailed down some of the most captivating Balkan brass tunes over the years
Genre: Romani Music / Balkan Brass
Region: Vladicin Han, South Serbia
Artists’ Website: Boban i Marko Markovic
Label: Piranha Musik
Few are the words to convey the history and magnitude of Boban Markovic; he is one of the most important ambassadors of South-Eastern European music of Romani descent (together with Fanfare Ciocarlia, Kocani Orkestar and Taraf De Haidouks).
This compilation, ‘Golden Horns’, comes to celebrate that history with 13 tracks plus two remixes from Dunkelbunt and DJ Robert Soko. The dance-prone side of the Orkestar is somehow pronounced here so expect some occasional digital-sounding drum beats and, as usual, a lot of mirth.
Songs like ‘Mundo Cocek’ are just epic – everyone should listen. Both Boban and Marko are two of the most talented and accomplished trumpet players and anything can pale in comparison. This dominant, sharp, stormy, crystal clear brass sound is their trademark and the foundation of a praised tradition that has flourished in the Balkans.
Keep in mind that Boban Markovic had a pivotal role in the mid-00’s gypsy music outburst, bringing his sound from South Serbian countryside to the rest of the world. He managed, with the aid of his son (since 2002), to flirt with different styles like jazz and dance music and create a sound palatable to Western audiences.
Balkan beat has really become the global beat, an international language of celebration, dancing and high spirits. The sound has persisted ever since across the globe (especially in Europe) as a staple in clubs and a terrain for hundreds of new ‘alternative’ bands to build their sound on, many times far removed from the original spirit and essence of the Balkan Romani roots. In Boban’s case that never happened – no matter how accessible his sound has been to global crowds he never watered it down, always staying true to the centuries-old heritage of Romani musicians.
Boban I Marko Markovic Orkestar’s more traditional moments are still the most enjoyable like ‘Voz’ which is a cunning mash up of rhythmic prowess and poly-melodic brass transcendence. Boban Markovic improved back in the day the regular brass band arsenal with the addition of another two precussionists. Songs like ‘Dzumbus Funk’ reveal their best side of fusion with some soundtrack-theme funky crossover attempts.
The compilation includes the classic Boban cover of the all-time favourite Hebrew folk ‘Hava Naguila’ to which melody millions have rejoiced and danced. Moreover, there is a live cover of the traditional gypsy spring anthem ‘Ederlezi’ ( The feast of Saint George), which you may know from the renowned film of Emir Kusturica ‘The Time Of the Gypsies’.
If you never came across boban Markovic or Balkan brass music in general, this compilation is definitely a good start. It just came out yesterday so be sure to check it out.
Discover more folk and brass via Freegan Kolektiva:
- Martha Mavroidi – traditional music in playful and cosmopolitan forms
- Rebirth Brass Band – Rebirth of New Orleans
- Psarantonis – epitome of deep-rooted tradition and genuine innovation
- Niyaz – Sumud (2012, Six Degrees Records)
- The Funk Ark – High Noon (2012, ESL Music)