Balkan Brass Band

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Balkan Brass Band
Stylistic origins Military music
Folk music
Cultural origins 19th century Serbia
Typical instruments Brass instruments
Subgenres
Booty Balkan
Orkestar Zirkonium, Seattle

Balkan Brass Band or Chochek (Serbian: Труба, trumpet) is a distinctive style of music[1] originating in 19th century Serbia when trumpeters in the military transcribed folk music during harsh times.[2] 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.

The biggest brass band event in the world the Guča Trumpet Festival is a 5-day annual festival with 300,000 visitors, in Guča, Serbia.[3]

History[edit]

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[citation needed]. 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[citation needed] 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[citation needed]. In 1831 the first official military band was formed by Prince Miloš. Roma have since adopted the tradition.[2]

Instrumentation[edit]

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.

The music is usually instrumental although sometimes accompanied with singing. Common song forms include the čoček and the Kolo.

Modern styles[edit]

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.

Festivals[edit]

  • Guča trumpet festival, largest trumpet festival in the world, every year for five days.[3]
  • Balkan Trafik, a yearly three-day Balkan Brass festival in Brussels, Belgium.[4]
  • Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, a yearly two-day festival in New York City.[5]
  • Guča na Krasu - Guča sul Carso, a yearly three-day festival in Trieste.[6]

Serbian brass band music in the cinema[edit]

Notable Balkan brass bands[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Balkan Brass Bands Music", NationalGeographic.com, retrieved 27 September 2012 
  2. ^ a b Mitchell, Laurence (2007). Serbia (2nd ed.). Bradt Travel Guides. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b History at Gucasabor.com
  4. ^ Balkan Trafik at MySpace
  5. ^ Zlatne Uste Golden Festival 2010
  6. ^ [1]