Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra
"If Clinton didn't play a saxophone, you'd all be dead by now."Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra
a Guca Festival visitor
For the last 40 years, the "Festival of Brass Music" has taken place annually in a small town in Central Serbia, called Guca. It's a competition to determine the best brass musicians on Earth. More than 300 thousand people grab the chance to listen to over 30 bands, and Boban Marcovic Orkestar are among the winners every time. They received the "best orchestra" award in 2000 as well as "best trumpet" in 2001, which was not only Boban's 5th win, but also the first time ever that a musician has received the highest mark from every jury member.
The reason for Markovic's continuing success is evident. He is the best Serbian trumpeter, reinventing "traditional" brass music with injections and adaptations of sounds from around the globe. His music is strongly influenced by the old traditions of the Roma. Just listen to his version of the Jewish classic Hava Naguila and you'll understand. The band's repertoire includes gypsy grooves, chocheks and other dances, as well as the soundtrack for a film of Emir Kusturica. In a mix of archaic jazz and light and sweet Balkan-brass-sound, Markovic became a king in the Balkans and now is one of the VIPs of the region. The band performs at weddings, open-air-festivals, music academies or classical concerts with an energy equal to that of the fiercest rock bands.
It was the gypsies who kept the country's tradition of brass music alive, from the times of the Ottoman Empire through Tito's communist regime, right into Slobodan Milosevic's infamous reign. It is told, that during the war, US President Bill Clinton (enthusiastic saxophonist that he is) appreciated the gypsy contribution and mercifully spared Serbia further bombing.
Since Emir Kusturica's notorious Balkan film "Underground" (1995), Gypsy-Serbian brass music has begun to have a powerful presence within the world music scene. The blasting of Boban's gypsy brass makes the film unforgettable, and creates the frantic, surreal atmosphere the film is famous for. Boban Markovic Orkestar have played festivals and concerts in Greece, Belgium, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Monaco, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia, and Czech Republic. They have performed at countless festivals including the Interbalcanic Music Festival (1995), the Balkan Brass Band Meeting (1996/97), the West Ritam (1999), the Mediawave (2000), Plein Air (2000), Glatt & Verkehrt (2000), the 30th International New Jazz Festival in Moers, Linz Festival, Lent - Maribor, Praha Respect Festival, Pohoda Festival in Trencin, Weltenklang Festival in St. Polten, Kapolcs Festival and Pepsi Sziget 2001 in Budapest.
At Pepsi Sziget they played on the World Music Stage before an audience of 15 thousand. The concert of the British group Oasis should have started at the same time on the Main Stage. But, as the whole audience was at the World Music Stage, Oasis were forced to wait 30 minutes until the crazy Serbs finished their concert.