Emir Kusturica and The No Smoking Orchestra
|Origin||Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Years active||1981–1990 (Sarajevo)
1993–present (Belgrade, from 1999 as The No Smoking Orchestra)
|Website|| Sarajevo Group
 Belgrade Group
The band was formed in 1981 in Sarajevo by a group of friends who worked on the early radio version of Top Lista Nadrealista (The Surrealist Top List). Contrary to the then-prevalent punk rock and new wave, Zabranjeno Pušenje created a distinctive garage rock sound with folk influences, often featuring innovative production and complex story-telling, sometimes even dark premonitions of war. They went on to record four albums and tour the country extensively, occasionally sparking controversy and even getting into trouble with authorities for their (usually mild and sympathetic) criticism of the socialist system, and the habit of making light of issues considered sensitive at the time.
After the band's popularity reached new heights in late 1980s, spurred on by the televised version of Top Lista Nadrealista, the Bosnian War which followed saw the breakup of the band, with one offshoot continuing work in Belgrade initially as Zabranjeno Pušenje, later under the name No Smoking Orchestra, and the other initially in Zagreb then later returning to Sarajevo, using the original name. Nevertheless, many of the songs of Zabranjeno Pušenje have attained an anthemic status and their music remains popular across former Yugoslavia.
The original band (Sarajevo)
Zabranjeno Pušenje was founded by a group of friends who attended Druga Gimnazija and lived in Fuad Midžić Street in the Sarajevo suburb of Koševo. The band they formed was called Pseudobluz bend (Pseudo-blues band). All members were involved in the radio show Top Lista Nadrealista, so they already had stage names. The original line-up consisted of Nenad Janković ("Dr. Nele Karajlić"; vocals, keyboards), Davor Sučić (aka "Sejo Sexon"; guitar), Zenit Đozić (aka "Fu-Do"; drums), Mustafa Čengić (aka "Muče" or "Mujo Snažni"; guitar), Mladen Mitić (aka "Munja"; bass guitar) and Ognjen Gajić (aka "Ogi"; saxophone, flute).
They were occasionally accompanied by Mirko Srdić (aka "Elvis J. Kurtović") as a guest, since he had his own band, "Elvis J. Kurtović & his Meteors". They soon started calling themselves "Pseudobluz bend Zabranjeno Pušenje", and after some time simply dropped the first part. Their first recording, "Penzioneri na more idu zimi" (Retirees Take Their Vacation In Wintertime), was made for Radio Sarajevo in early 1981.
They performed around Sarajevo for two years before recording their first album Das ist Walter in June 1984, for Jugoton label. The line-up was altered and now Nenad Janković's younger brother Dražen Janković (aka "Seid Mali Karajlić") was on organ and Predrag Rakić (aka "Šeki Gayton") took drums. Although it was publicized that Nenad Janković and Davor Sučić wrote the first album material, the fact is that Mustafa Čengić (lead guitar) and Mladen Mitić (bass guitar) were unpublished composers of a large portion of it, and also greatly influenced and contributed to all song arrangements. The album was initially released in 3000 copies, but the final count was 100,000 copies sold, setting a record for exceeding the initial release by 30 times. In autumn 1984 they embarked on a 60-concert nation-wide tour, making them one of the biggest Yugoslav rock attractions after just one album.
During that tour, at their concert in Rijeka (on November 27, 1984), Karajlić declared, referring to an amplifier that had just broken down, "Crk'o Maršal. Mislim na pojačalo." ("Marshall croaked. I mean, the amplifier."), which was recognized as a pun on Marshal Tito's death, landing the band in trouble. They were criticized by the media and a campaign against them resulted in the canceling of their concerts and the removal of Top lista nadrealista from the air.
In this atmosphere, the band recorded their second, double album Dok čekaš sabah sa šejtanom (While you wait for dawn with the Devil)in the infamous SIM studio and released it in July 1985. Songs were written by Mustafa Čengić, Sejo Sexon, Nele Karajlić, Mladen Mitić, Seid Mali Karajlić and Elvis J. Kurtović. The album was solid, but was boycotted by the media and the following tour had a rather disappointing conclusion as the following year Šeki Gayton and Mustafa Čengić (Muče) left the band in search of a more secure means of making a living. Mladen Mitić left in late 1986 after contributing to the development of the third album.
For the occasion of the recording of their third album, Pozdrav iz zemlje Safari (Greetings from the Safari land) released in 1987 by Diskoton, the rest of the band was joined by Predrag Kovačević (aka "Kova" or "Kowalski"; from "Elvis J. Kurtović & his Meteors") on guitar, Faris Arapović on drums and Emir Kusturica played the bass guitar on 3 tracks. All songs were written by Sejo Sexon and Nele Karajlić.
Kusturica co-authored two songs. Diskoton censors had some objections and the song "Our Proposal for the Eurovision Song Contest" had to be renamed, since the song included comments on the depressed state of the economy and the lack of freedom of expression. The album again included a number of hit songs and returned the band to stardom. The following tour, which included 87 concerts, was the largest Zabranjeno Pušenje tour thus far and the band was by that time regarded as one of the Yugoslav rock institutions. In January 1988 the band received a gold record for 100,000 copies sold.
In October 1988 the band released their last album before splitting up - Male priče o velikoj ljubavi (Small Stories About Great Love). The songs were mostly written and produced by Sejo Sexon. For this album, Jadranko Džihan (aka "Dinka") played keyboards and Darko Ostojić (aka "Minka") was on bass guitar. The album also featured opera singer Sonja Milenković, violin player Dejan Sparavalo and Goran Bregović as backing vocal and guitar player. The album was an average success. The band embarked on the tour with Bombaj štampa and the rest of Top lista nadrealista crew (those who didn't play in the band already). The tour (a combination of theatre and rock and roll, after an idea by Sejo Sexon) was a great success and regarded as the best tour of 1989 with around 60 concerts and more than 200,000 visitors.
In the early 1980s, when the rest of the ex-Yugoslav popular music scene followed the trends of early 1980s Europe (chiefly punk rock and new wave), Zabranjeno Pušenje were part of a unique rock movement centered in Sarajevo that forged its own path. This movement, for the most part, centred on simple, youthful, garage rock, with folk influences and a distinctive Sarajevo urban feel called Novi primitivizam (New primitivism).
The songs range from punk rock to rock, frequently arranged to feature trumpets and saxophones, adding to the band's unique sound, along with many samples and soundbites from the period. Zabranjeno Pušenje captured the feel of Sarajevo, its idols and local heroes along with tales of love and loss, in a distinctive and often humorous way. Very visual and cynical, the band's lyrics were progressive enough to show the last stages of Yugoslav socialism (songs "Dan republike", "Srce ruke i lopata", "Abid", "Guzonjin sin"), alternate clubs and gays ("Pišonja i Žuga u paklu droge", "Javi mi") as well as providing morbid hints for the upcoming war ("Kanjon Drine", "Zvijezda nad Balkanom").
They secured their place in the history of rock music in the former Yugoslav countries. The band released four albums before the ensuing war forced most of the members to relocate.
- Muhamed Adas - violin (1989)
- Faris Arapović - drums, backing vocals (1987–1989)
- Zenit Đozić (Fu-do Đozić) - drums (1980–1983), backing vocals, percussion (1985)
- Vlado Džihan - keyboards, trombone (1987)
- Mustafa Čengić (Mujo Snažni) - solo guitar, backing vocals (1978–1986)
- Ognjen Gajić (Ogi Gajić) - saxophone, flute, keyboards (1980–1987)
- Dražen Janković (Seid Mali Karajlić) - keyboards, synthesizer, organ, backing vocals (1980–1981, 1984–1987)
- Nenad Janković (dr. Nele Karajlić) - vocals, backing vocals (1980–1989), keyboards (1980–1984)
- Predrag Kovačević (Kova) - guitar, bass guitar (1986–1989)
- Mladen Mitić (Munja Mitić) - bass guitar, backing vocals (1980–1986)
- Jadranko Džihan (Dado Džihan) keyboards, piano, backing vocals (1987–1989)
- Predrag Bobić (Bleka) - backing vocals, bass guitar (1987)
- Darko Ostojić (Ogi better known as Minka) - bass guitar, backing vocals, Percussion (1987–1989)
- Darko Poljak - saxophone (1989)
- Predrag Rakić (Šeki Gayton) - drums (1983–1986)
- Davor Sučić - Sula (mr. Sejo Sexon) - rhythm guitar, backing vocals, percussion (1980–1989)
- Zoran Degan (Poka) - synthesizer, keyboards (1980–1983)
- Das ist Walter - 1984 (That's Walter)
- Dok čekaš sabah sa šejtanom - 1985 (Waiting for the dawn with the devil)
- Pozdrav iz zemlje Safari - 1987 (Greetings from the land Safari)
- Male priče o velikoj ljubavi - 1989 (Little stories about a big love)
The war situation during the breakup of Yugoslavia took a toll on the band. Nenad Janković (himself a Serb) fled to Serbia and reformed "No Smoking Orchestra" in Belgrade. Sejo Sexon and the rest of the group took new member Saša Petrović ("Čabarabdić" from "Audicija"), during the war in Bosnia, started the war version of "Top Liste Nadrealista", first as a radio version on Radio BIH, then later as a hugely popular and influential TV series.
Zabranjeno Pušenje (Sarajevo)
The Western part continued to perform in 1996 and has recaptured some of the original group's success. They also later embarked on a European tour and by 2004 had released five new albums (three studio and two live albums). In 2006 the band created the complete soundtrack for the Bosnian movie Nafaka with guest musicians (mostly actors from the movie, as well as the female choir Arabeske). Later that year, the band released the double album Hodi da ti čiko nešto da, their first double album since Dok čekaš sabah sa šejtanom.
- Predrag Bobić (Bleka) - bass guitar, backing vocals (1996–2008)
- Bruno Urlić - violin, viola, keyboards, backing vocals (1997–2004)
- Dragomir Herendić (Dragianny) - lead guitar (1999–2004)
- Robert Boldižar (Robi) - violin, keyboards, backing vocals (2004–present)
- Davor Sučić - Sula (Sejo Sexon) - vocals, backing vocals, percussion, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar (1996–present)
- Zoran Stojanović (Zoki) - lead guitar, Backing vocals (1996–1998)
- Nedžad Podžić (Počko) - keyboards (1996–1998)
- Sead Kovo (Sejo) - lead guitar, rhythm guitar - (1996–1999)
- Samir Ćeramida (Ćera) - bass guitar - (1996–1998)
- Đani Pervan - drums, percussion, Backing vocals - (1996–1998)
- Dušan Vranić (Duco) - keyboards, backing vocals (1996–1997)
- Jimmy Rasta - percussion (2001–2004)
- Antun Lović (Toni) - lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals (2004–present)
- Paul Kempf (DJ Pavo) - keyboards, piano, organ (2005–present)
- Dejan Orešković (Klo) - bass guitar, backing vocals (2008–present)
- Branko Trajkov (Trak) - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1996–present)
- Marin Gradac (Mako) - vocals, backing vocals, trombone, trumpet (1996–1999)
- Mirko Srdić (Elvis J. Kurtovich) - vocals, backing vocals (1996–1999)
- Nikad robom, vazda taxijem (Best of 1) - 1996
- Fildžan viška - 1997
- Srce, ruke i lopata (Best of 2) - 1998
- Hapsi sve! (Live) - 1998
- Agent tajne sile - 1999 ("Agent of secret forces")
- Bog vozi Mercedes - 2001 ("God drives a Mercedes")
- Live in St. Louis (Live) - 2003
- Nafaka OST - 2006
- Hodi da ti čiko nešto da - 2006 ("Come, uncle wants to give you something")
- The Ultimate Collection - 2009
- Muzej Revolucije - 2009 ("Museum of the Revolution")
- Radovi na cesti - 2013 ("Workers on a road")
The No Smoking Orchestra (Belgrade)
The eastern part released one new album as Zabranjeno Pušenje - 1997's Ja nisam odavle. In 1999 the band was then renamed Emir Kusturica & No Smoking Orchestra and released four more albums and continued touring all around the world. In 1998 the band composed the music for Emir Kusturica's film Black Cat, White Cat, which won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival the same year. Since June 1999, the band has been regularly touring worldwide. They developed quite a following internationally in the process. Their popularity is particularly notable in Southern Europe (Italy, Portugal, Spain, and France) where most of their initial touring took place in late 1990s and early 2000s and in Latin America where the band first played in 2001, gradually developing a spirited fan base throughout the continent, especially in Argentina. Lately, the band has also fond much success deep into Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Armenia).
In 2007, the band was involved in Time of the Gypsies punk opera that was staged in Bastille in Paris.
Since the Ušće fiasco, the band played only a few more concerts on home soil such as 2008 large open-air gigs in Kruševac and Novi Sad that went well, serving as lead ins for the concert at Belgrade Arena in late November 2008 where more than 10,000 gathered.
Though the band played Montreal twice before, summer 2010 marked their first foray into North America with concerts in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Chicago, and New York City. The highlight of the mini-tour was the outdoor concert in the streets of Montreal in front of some 60,000 spectators as part of the city's jazz festival (Le Festival International de Jazz de Montréal).
The Belgrade-based band's live repertoire includes a homage to accused war criminal Radovan Karadžić a.k.a. Dr. Dragan David Dabić also known under pseudonym Raša, who was arrested in July 2008 in Belgrade, on the song "Wanted Man." In January 2009 Tilman Zülch, holocaust survivor and founder and President of the Society for Threatened Peoples, wrote an open letter to the organizers of a Munich concert protesting the band's performance on January 24, 2009. He called organizers to "Stop the propaganda for war criminal Karadžic on the Munich concert stage!"
- Dejan Sparavalo (:D) - violin, backing vocals (1997–present)
- Nenad Janković (Dr. Nele Karajlić) - vocals, backing vocals, keyboards (1997–present)
- Stribor Kusturica - drums, percussion, backing vocals (1997–present)
- Goran Markovski (Glava Markovsky) - bass guitar, bass balalaika (1997–2005)
- Dražen Janković (Herr Dralle Draugentaller) - keyboards, organ, backing vocals (1997–present)
- Goran Jakovljević (Terry) - guitar (1997–1998)
- Zoran Milošević (Zoki) - accordion (1998–present)
- Aleksandar Balaban - tuba, trumpet (1998–2001)
- Emir Kusturica (Kusta) - rhythm guitar, lead guitar, backing vocals (1998–present)
- Nenad Gajin (Coce) - lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar (1999–2004)
- Nenad Petrović (Neša) - saxophone (1999–present)
- Zoran Marjanović (Čeda) - percussion, drums (2001–present)
- Goran Popović (Pop) - tuba, trumpet, bass guitar (2001–present)
- Ivan Maksimović (Ivica) - lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, bouzouki (2004–present)
Many other musicians have appeared on various albums in large and varying setups.
- Zabranjeno Pušenje: Ja Nisam Odavle 
- Black Cat, White Cat: Black Cat, White Cat 
- Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra: Unza Unza Time 
- The No Smoking Orchestra: Life Is A Miracle 
- Emir Kusturica And The No Smoking Orchestra: Live Is A Miracle In Buenos Aires 
- The No Smoking Orchestra: Emir Kusturica's Time Of The Gypsies Punk Opera 
- The No Smoking Orchestra: The Best Of Emir Kusturica and The No Smoking Orchestra 
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2013)|
- "Wanted Man – Emir Nemanja Kusturica, Nenad Janković a.k.a. Nele Karajlić & No smoking Orchestra". elyrics.net.
- Ruediger Rossig; Boris Žujko (July 2009). "The Director's New Clothes". Atlantic Times. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- Zülch, Tilman (January 23, 2009). "Stop the propaganda for war criminal Karadzic on the Munich concert stage!". Munich: GfbV-International. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zabranjeno Pušenje.|
- Official website (Sarajevo's Zabranjeno Pušenje)
- Official website (Belgrade's The No Smoking Orchestra)
- muzica.acasa.ro, photo gallery: Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra@ Bucharest.