Roman Bunka

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Roman Bunka
Bunka with Dissidenten in 2012
Born(1951-12-02)2 December 1951
Died12 June 2022(2022-06-12) (aged 70)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
  • Guitarist
  • oud player
  • composer

Roman Bunka (2 December 1951 – 12 June 2022) was a German guitarist, oud player and composer, active in world music and jazz fusion bands. He lived most of his life in Munich, Bavaria, where he was involved in various musical crossover projects.


Bunka was born in Frankfurt on 2 December 1951.[1] He started playing the guitar as a teenager. In the 1970s, he moved to Munich and joined the world music group Embryo. They toured in Morocco, India and Afghanistan, and the music of these countries made a strong impact on Bunka and his fellow musicians.[2][3] In 1979, Embryo traveled overland to India with three buses and their instruments.[4] The tour was documented in the movie Vagabunden Karawane.[5]

Besides the guitar, his second instrument was the Arabic oud, which he studied mainly in Egypt.[1][6][7] Having spent long periods of time there, he often played in the band of Egyptian singer and movie actor Mohamed Mounir,[1] for example at the New Year's Eve concert in 2000 at the Pyramids of Giza.[2][8]

In 1994, Bunka presented his ethno jazz project Color me Cairo, featuring Malachi Favors of Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Egyptian musicians Fathy Salama, Hosam Shakir and Khaled Goma at the Berlin Jazz Festival, curated by George Gruntz.[9] The same line-up was recorded by Enja Records, with Rolling Stone magazine writing: "Bunka gets fame in a growing musical diaspora as 'best oud-player north of Mekka'."[10]

Bunka was known for his artistic collaboration with German and international musicians, such as the German world music groups Embryo, Dissidenten and Jisr, but also with jazz musicians Mal Waldron, Charlie Mariano and Malachi Favors, as well as with Indian and Egyptian performers Trilok Gurtu, Ramesh Shotham, Fathy Salama and others.[11] German music critic Ralf Dombrowski wrote about Bunka's 2004 record Orientación with fellow musicians Luis Borda and Jost Heckler: "He is one of the first European musicians who dared to seriously explore the oud and liberated it from exoticism and Orientalism."[12]

During his 50-year career, Bunka recorded and played concerts with numerous musical groups, and also composed soundtracks for movies. A few weeks before his death, he played with the Munich-based group Jisr (Arabic for 'bridge') at concerts in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.[13] Bunka died of cancer on 12 June 2022, in Munich at the age of 70, with both Egyptian and German newspapers publishing obituaries.[1][3][14]



  • 1973 Steig Aus (also released as: This Is Embryo)[18]
  • 1973 We Keep On with Embryo[19]
  • 1975 Surfin with Embryo[20]
  • 1976 Bad Heads and Bad Cats with Embryo and Charlie Mariano[21]
  • 1977 Apo-Calypso with Embryo[22]
  • 1979 Aera Live with Locko Richter, Klaus Kreuzeder, Lutz Oldemeier, Helmut Meier-Limberg, Freddy Setz[23]
  • 1980 Reise (CD) with Embryo (Schneeball)[24]
  • 1980 Dein Kopf ist ein schlafendes Auto[2]
  • 1990 Germanistan with Dissidenten[25]
  • 1993 The Jungle Book with Dissidenten (Exil)[26]
  • 1995 Color Me Cairo with Malachi Favors and Fathy Salama (Enja)[27]
  • 1997 Enshaallah with Rahala (united One Rec.)[28]
  • 2008 Freedom in Music with Embryo[29]
  • 2010 Embryo 40 (Trikont)[30]

Filmography (as composer and recording artist)[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "German guitarist, oud player Roman Bunka, known for collaboration with Mohamed Mounir dies at 71 – Music – Arts & Culture". Ahram Online. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Biswurm, Roland (13 June 2022). "Musiker und Brückenbauer Roman Bunka gestorben". BR24 (in German). Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b Wagner, Dirk (13 June 2022). "Zum Tod des Münchner Musikers Roman Bunka". Sü (in German). Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  4. ^ Moises, Jürgen (5 August 2019). "Der Geschmack ferner Länder". Sü (in German). Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  5. ^ Vagabunden Karawane eine Reise nach Indien mit der Gruppe Embryo = Vagabond's band (in German), Aviator-Entertainment, 2005, OCLC 781352245
  6. ^ "City of Sounds". (in German). 30 April 2020. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Roman Bunka – Dein Kopf ist ein schlafendes Auto". (in German). 26 July 2020. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  8. ^ "Artist Profiles: Roman Bunka". 10 September 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Jazzfest Berlin Archiv | Roman Bunka 'Color Me Cairo' feat. Malachi Favor"., Berliner Festspiele (in German). Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Suchergebnisse für "Bunka" – enja records". (in German). Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  11. ^ Romero, Angel (10 September 2019). "Artist Profiles: Roman Bunka | World Music Central". Retrieved 12 June 2022.
  12. ^ Ralf Dombrowski: Rezension zu Borda / Bunka / Hecker, Orientación. Enja Weber ENJ CD 9155-2 in Stereoplay 8/2004
  13. ^ "The Sound of Faraway Lands". Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Mohamed Mounir Mourns Death of Best Friend Roman Bunka – Sada El balad". 13 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  15. ^ (11 November 2003). "Studiozeit Hörspiel – Tunguska-guska" (in German). Deutschlandradio. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  16. ^ "unterm strich". Die Tageszeitung: taz (in German). 15 June 2022. p. 15. ISSN 0931-9085. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  17. ^ Abendzeitung München (18 March 2014). "Auszeichnung! Die Preisträger stehen fest". (in German). Retrieved 15 June 2022.
  18. ^ Embryo (Groupe musical) (2004), Steig aus, Brain : Universal Music, OCLC 937026843
  19. ^ Embryo (Grup musical) (2009), We keep on, Wah Wah Records, OCLC 804682407
  20. ^ Embryo (1975), Surfin' (in German), OCLC 725468581
  21. ^ Embryo (Ensemble), Bad Heads And Bad Cats, April, OCLC 899989754
  22. ^ Embryo (1978), Apo-Calypso (in German), OCLC 725636441
  23. ^ Bunka, Roman (1980), Aera : live, Intercord, OCLC 312766341
  24. ^ Embryo (1994). "Embryo's Reise [recordings from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India]" (in German). OCLC 1183521208. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  25. ^ Germanistan (in German), Exil-Musikproduktion, 1993, OCLC 725004433
  26. ^ Dissidenten (Musical group) (1993), The jungle book, OCLC 30595504
  27. ^ Color me Cairo (in German), Enja Records, Weber, 2009, OCLC 723874496
  28. ^ Rahala (1997), Enshaallah (in German), OCLC 725778262
  29. ^ Embryo (200), Freedom in music, Indigo, OCLC 781380222
  30. ^ Embryo 40, [Frankfurt am Main], 2010, ISBN 978-3-89898-404-1, OCLC 1077290394{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  31. ^ Schlaich, Frieder; Alberti, Irene von; Bowles, Paul; Guesmi, Samir; Ksouri, Khaled; Belhassen, Sondos; Quilligan, Veronica; Cox, Sam; Zakir, Said; Belfquih, Mohammad; Filmgalerie; Film Förderung; Facets Video (2006), Halbmond, Chicago, Ill, ISBN 1-56580-549-6, OCLC 70662406{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  32. ^ Bin ich schön? (in German), Constantin Film, 2009, OCLC 699139360

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]