Balkan Brass Band
|Balkan Brass Band|
|Stylistic origins||Military music
|Cultural origins||19th century Serbia|
|Typical instruments||Brass instruments|
Balkan Brass Band or Chochek (Serbian: Труба, trumpet) is a distinctive style of music originating in 19th century Serbia when trumpeters in the military transposed folk music during harsh times. It is popular throughout the Balkans, especially Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria. The beats are usually fast and often accompanied by kolo, a dance. The performers each have their instrument of the orchestra and are called trubači (трубачи). Some of the best known examples of acclaimed music in this style are from Goran Bregović and Boban Marković Orkestar. The Serbian film maker Emir Kusturica has, through his films (Black Cat, White Cat), made the style popular in the international community outside the Balkans.
According to many scholars[who?] the music genre are imitations of Mehter music of Ottoman Empire which then evolved in modern Ottoman military bands in 19th century. The eastern melancholic soul of the music is from the oriental melodies which can be seen still today in Turkish clarinet solos[dubious ]. The music's tradition stems from the First Serbian Uprising led by Karageorge (Serbian revolution) when Serbs revolted against the occupying Ottoman Empire, eventually liberating Serbia. The trumpet was used as a military instrument to wake and gather soldiers and announce battles, the trumpet took on the role of entertainment during downtime, as soldiers used it to transpose popular folk songs. When the war ended, the soldiers returned to the rural life; the music entered civilian life and eventually became a common musical style, accompanying births, baptisms, weddings, the slava (family patron saint day), farewell parties for those joining military service, state and church festivals, harvesting, reaping, and also departing this world. In 1831 the first official military band was formed by Prince Miloš. Roma have since adopted the tradition.
A brass band is primarily made up of a large number of musicians playing brass instruments such as flugelhorns, trumpets, alto horns, helicons, euphoniums, tenor horns, tubas, baritone horns, wagner tubas and sometimes trombones. Percussion is provided by snare drum and bass drums, traditionally davuls (also known as tapan or goč) carried by the performers.
Serbian Brass music has had a major impact on the world music scene. Introduced to western audiences through the films of Emir Kusturica featuring soundtracks by Goran Bregovic, it soon spread to European dancefloors spearheaded by DJ Robert Soko's "Balkan Beats" parties in Berlin, Germany.
Traditional bands from Serbia like the Boban Marković Orkestar and from Romania as Fanfare Ciocărlia garnered worldwide attention while new bands like New York-based Balkan Beat Box or the Amsterdam Klezmer Band fused the Balkan sound with other genres like Klezmer or Ska. DJs and producers, most prominently Shantel from Germany, successfully mixed Serbian Brass with electronic beats.
- Guča trumpet festival, largest trumpet festival in the world, every year for five days.
- Balkan Trafik, a yearly three-day Balkan Brass festival in Brussels, Belgium.
- Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, a yearly two-day festival in New York City.
- Guča na Krasu - Guča sul Carso, a yearly three-day festival in Trieste.
Serbian brass band music in the cinema
- Time of the Gypsies (Dom za vešanje), 1988, Emir Kusturica
- Underground, 1995, Emir Kusturica
- Black Cat, White Cat, 1998, Emir Kusturica
- Borat, 2006
- Trumpets' Republic, 2006, Stefano Missio and Alessandro Gori
- Guca!, 2006, Dusan Milic
Notable Balkan brass bands
- Boban Marković
- Goran Bregović
- Kočani Orkestar
- Fanfare Ciocărlia
- Demiran Ćerimović Orchestra
- Fejat Sejdić
- Bojan Ristić
- Željko Bebek
- Zlatne Uste
- Slavic Soul Party!
- Raya Brass Band
- Orkestar Zirkonium, Seattle
- Aistaguca (UK)