Alkohol is the title of the first Goran Bregovic album to be released in North America. Goran Bregovic is one of the most internationally renowned modern composers of the Balkans. His music marries the sounds of a gypsy brass band with traditional Balkan polyphonies, those of an electric guitar and traditional percussion with a curious rock accent….creating music that our soul recognizes instinctively and the body greets with an irresistible urge to dance.
"Alkohol was recorded live in Guca in the summer of 2007," says Goran Bregovic about his new CD. "Guca is a small town in Serbia of maybe 20,000 inhabitants that holds an annual, world renowned, contest of brass bands in August. The town swells to 150,000 people who, under tents, drink, eat grilled meat and sour-kraut the Serbian way and drink and listen to the music and drink again, for three days… which explains the title.
"Alkohol is divided in two chapters: the first, Sljivovica, is named after our national drink, plum brandy. These songs are meant to be listened and danced to and accompanied by strong drinks… the second chapter, Champagne , will have a more complex structure, and will be a concerto for violin, a Balkan brass band, six male voices and a small chamber orchestra.
In each part the violin will play in a different mode, from a different tradition: the classic way it is played in European Christian tradition, the way it is played in Jewish tradition – klezmer, and the oriental way. To be enjoyed with softer alcohol… and dimmed lights in the hope that whoever listens to this album will enjoy it as much as I did recording it."
Goran was born (in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the then Yugoslavia) of a Serbian mother and a Croatian father. After a few years of (very unenthusiastic) music studies at the conservatory (violin), Goran formed his first group, "The White Button," in 1976 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. "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)..."
After fifteen years and 6 million albums sold with "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 Goran took time away from 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 shattered this, and many other dreams, and Goran had to abandon everything to find exile in Paris. But this wrenching period marked the beginning of something new – the Weddings and Funerals Orchestra, an ensemble of various configurations and personnel, from ten to 37.
Goran Bregovic’s compositions also enjoy considerable demand in the film world. A number of works by Bregovic can be heard on the soundtrack to the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America. Besides two more scores for Emir Kusturica (Arizona Dream, Underground), a host of films that Goran has scored have been nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscars, Cesar Awards, and Cannes Film Festival’s Palm D’or’s.
In June 2009, the Weddings and Funerals Orchestra will embark on a multi-city tour of North America.
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