in the Balkans where he stems from, head in the 21st Century which he
fully inhabits, Goran Bregovic's music marries sounds of a gypsy brass
band with traditional Bulgarian polyphonies, those of an electric
guitar and traditional percussion with a curious rock accent….
all against a background of a bedevilled string orchestra and deep
sonorities of a male choir, creating music that our soul recognises
instinctively and the body greets with an irresistible urge to dance.
Born in Sarajevo of a Serbian mother and a Croatian father. After a few
years of (very unenthusiastic) music studies at the conservatory
(violin), Goran forms his first group “The White Button” at
the age of sixteen. Composer and guitar player (“I chose the
guitar because guitar players always have most success with
girls”), he admits his immoderate love for rock n'roll. "In those
times, Rock had a capital role in our lives. It was the only way we
could make our voice heard, and publicly express our discontent without
risking jail (or just about)..."
Studies of philosophy and sociology would most certainly have landed
him teacher of Marxist thought, had the gigantic success of his first
record not decided otherwise. Follow fifteen years with his group "The
White Button", marked by marathon-tours and endless sessions of
autographing in which Goran plays youth idol in Eastern countries until
he's sick and tired of it.
At the end of the eighties BREGOVIC takes time away from this permanent
hustle-bustle to compose music for Kusturica’s "Times of the
Gypsies", and to make his childhood dream come true: to live in a small
house on the Adriatic coast. The War in Yugoslavia shatters this, and
many other dreams, and Goran has to abandon everything to find exile in
MUSIC FOR MOVIES
Coming from the same background, the same generation, survivors of the
same experiences, Goran BREGOVIC and Emir KUSTURICA formed a tandem
which didn’t need words to communicate. After “Times of the
Gypsies” Goran had a free hand to compose the original soundtrack
for “Arizona Dream”. The music lives up to the film –
poetical, original and incredibly enhancing. “One of the great
things about Emir’s movies is that they show life exactly as it
is – full of holes, hesitations and unexpected events. It’s
this imperfect, unorganised side that I wanted to preserve above all.
Even the songs recorded with Iggy are very under-produced.
There’s just his voice and behind it a gypsy-orchestra blowing
into old pre-war trumpets and cow’s horns. It’s really very
simple.” What Goran doesn’t say is that it’s probably
one of Iggy’s best performances over the past ten years. What he
doesn’t say either is that this apparent simplicity belongs only
to artists of exceptional talent.
Patrice Chereau entrusts him with the music for “La Reine
Margot”, Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994.
Goran delivers a majestic piece with rock accents.
The music for Emir Kusturica’s “Underground”, Palme
d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, was also signed by Goran.
But not the following film. A three year collaboration on
“Underground” has worn everyone out and Emir has to find a
whole new team for his next film “White Cat Black Cat”.
Recently Goran composed spicy music with a “kletzmer” aroma
for the “Train de Vie” of Radu MIHAELANU acclaimed by the
critics in Venice, Sao Paulo, Berlin and by the public everywhere it
He has since devoted himself to the interpretation of his own music and
lent himself to a second stage-career. Without completely abandoning
the movies, however: Nana DJORDJAZE « 27 Missing Kisses »
in 2001, Unni STRAUME « Music for Weddings & Funerals »
in 2002 (original music and the main male role). In 2004 Bregovic
repeats the same adventure: he composes music and plays the main role
in an Italian film entitled “Giorni di Abandono”
(“The days of Abandon”) to be premiered in Autumn 2005.
MUSIC FOR THEATRE
“Silence of the Balkans” was a very ambitious multimedia
project performed in 1997 at Thessaloniki, under the direction of
Slovenian Tomaz PANDUR with video images by Boris MILJKOVIC . Then a
collaboration with Teatro Stabile from Trieste for whom he wrote the
stage music for a very unusual “Hamlet”, and Goran Bregovic
starts enjoying writing for the theatre. Follows a collaboration with
one of the most “in” Italian directors, Marco BAILANI for
whom, commissioned by the Festival NOVECENTO in Palermo, he writes the
music for “The Children’s Crusade” (created November
1999). Recently Bregovic wrote music for a stage setting of Dante's
"Divine Comedy" (conceived as a triptych, of which the first part
Inferno was premiered at the THALIA THEATRE in Hamburg in January 2001,
followed in February 2002 by Purgatory and Paradise). The director is
Goran’s long time work complice, Tomaz PANDUR from Slovenia.
For over ten years, since he abandoned pure rock in 1985, the music of
BREGOVIC had never been performed live. This all changes in 1995 when,
with a band of ten traditional musicians, a choir of fifty singers and
a symphony orchestra, he undertakes a series of mega-concerts in Greece
and Sweden followed by the concert given October 26th at the Forest
National of Brussels for an audience of 7500. Very few concert
performances in 1996 as the idea of a hundred and twenty performers on
stage scared even the most enthusiastic promoters.
In June 1997, the group is reduced to fifty musicians for a two hour
concert with the music he composed for films. And it’s one
success after another. bregovic undertakes a triumphal tour throughout
Europe with his Wedding and Funeral Band presenting live his most
beautiful pieces from the famous “ Ederlezi” (Time of the
Gypsies) to the “ In the Death Car” (Arizona Dream) and the
energetic “Kalasnikov” (Underground) taking off as
delirious audience echoes the with the powerful “Juris”
(Charge ! !). The number of entries – between 3,500 and 10,000
per concert - and the concert given May 1st at the Piazza St. Giovanni
in Rome in front of 500.000 people confirm beyond any doubt that his
music now has a real impact on an international level.
Goran BREGOVIC continues his career, and the young local rock mega-star
of the 70s and the 80s asserts his authority as a mature, successful,
Like a happy grown up child, Goran is amazed to be collaborating with
such important performers from diverse cultures – people he would
have asked for an autograph not so long ago : Iggy Pop, whom he totally
reinvents (Arizona Dream 1993), Ofra Haza (La Reine Margot,1994),
Cesaria Evora (Underground 1995), Scot WALKER in UK, Setzen Aksu in
Turkey, George Dalaras in Greece, Kayah in Poland.
Official Site: www.goranbregovic.rs