Boban Markovic Orkestar - Letterkenny
Boban Markovic Orkestar
"Dance music that was almost brutal in its gleeful efficiency."
- New York Times
"Supremely rich, varied & inventive Serbian brass from a true musical thinker."
All hail the king. It's been a big year for Balkan brass in Ireland, with visits from Macedonia's Kocani Orkestar and Romania's Fanfare Ciocarlia, but here comes the idiom's undisputed aristocrat, Serbia's Boban Markovic.
This high wattage personality burst onto the global consciousness when he featured, along with his 14-piece orchestra, in filmmaker and fellow Serb Emir Kusturica's 1995 international hit Underground. Long before that, he had achieved near mythic status throughout the Balkan Peninsula, as word filtered out from a small festival in Central Serbia of a brawny trumpet player who was raising the already imposing bar in Balkan brass music to dizzying new heights.
The town is Guca, come August the centre of the Roma musical universe, every corner crammed with upwards of forty brass bands, playing not for money but prestige, and competing for the festival's top prize and the lucrative wedding work it would bring later in the year. A festival like no other, but think somewhere between the Willie Clancy Summer School and Puck Fair.
Boban's dominance at Guca has been such that he no longer competes there, perhaps to encourage the next generation, including his son Marko, not yet twenty but already displaying the family trait of dazzling trumpet virtuosity. Of course showmanship is nothing new in Balkan music, but this precision drilled orchestra of seventeen years standing offers a great deal more. Along with the breakneck tempi and those exhilarating grooves, ensembles and solos, there's an attention to detail more akin to a classical brass ensemble, and manifest in the Orkestar's collective grasp of dynamics, blend, phrasing and intonation.
Add to that a playful attitude on Boban's part to embracing snatches of klezmer, funk, tango and jazz into the Orkestar's foundation of coceks, horas and other dances of the Balkans, and its clear why they've become something of a global sensation. A scan of their tour history shows they've been everywhere but here, but King Marco is finally coming to entertain his Irish subjects!
Boban Markovic – flugelhorn
Marko Markovic - flugelhorn, trumpet, kaval
Sasa Jemcic – flugelhorn
Srdjan Spasic – flugelhorn
Dragoljub Eminovic –tenor horn
Isidor Eminovic - tenor horn
Asim Ajdinovic - tenor horn
Goran Spasis - tenor horn
Sasa Alisanovic – helicon
Sasa Stanojevic – percussion
Aleksandar Stosic – percussion
Asmet Eminovic - snare drum
Nedzat Zumberovic - goc, darbouka