Battle of Brass Bands to Cross the Atlantic

Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Germán Lizárraga (left) Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar (right)
Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Germán Lizárraga (left) Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar (right)
Londoners will be able to experience another exciting ‘brass band battle’ on Sunday, April 14th at 8:00 pm at Barbican Hall. This time, Serbian band Boban & Marko Markovic Orkestar will compete with Mexico’s Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Germán Lizarraga.

The two heavyweight brass bands will go head to head, mano a mano on the same stage to decide whether it’s Mexico or the Balkans that can blow up the biggest storm.

Father and son Boban and Marko Markovic have become the Gypsy brass kings of the Balkans. Meanwhile, in North America, Germán, leader of the Lizarraga dynasty of banda musicians from Northern Mexico, has blown his way to ascendancy with the Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de German Lizarraga.

Mexico vs. Balkans Brass Band Battle is a World premiere produced by La Linea, the London Latin Music Festival, in association with the Barbican.

Meet the contenders

Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra

The essential Balkan brass band from Vladicin Han, in Southern Serbia, has once again captured the mantle of ‘Leading Band in Serbia’, a title for which they have been crowned many times since the late 1980s.

Their music, performed by a thirteen-piece strong orchestra, is wholly defined by their own gypsy lineage, while giving a knowing nod towards other musical and cultural backgrounds closely related to Romani traditions.

Boban and his Orchestra have won all of the most prestigious accolades available to players in Serbia: ‘Trumpet Maestro’ (2 times), ‘Golden Trumpet’, ‘First Trumpet’, ‘The Best Orchestra’, ‘ The Best Concert’.

Marko, Boban’s son and now the band’s primary soloist and arranger, has collaborated heavily, as both as a soloist and co-arranger, with Shantel on his well-received new album Disco Partizani and has performed with the Bucovina Orchestra.

They return to the Barbican after their spectacular 2009 concert in the Hall and a double bill with the legendary Taraf de Haidouks at Hackney Empire in 2010.

Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa de Germán Lizárraga

Germán Lizárraga’s career spans over 60 years and 194 records. He started playing very young in Banda El Recodo, founded by his father Don Cruz Lizárraga in his hometown of Sinaloa. That is how his music reached the United States and Europe for the first time and the band became the ‘mother of all brass bands’.

In his quest to revolutionize brass band music, Germán decided to split from Banda el Recodo to pioneer a new concept called ‘Sonido Turbo’, using harmonics and clarinets in the rhythmic section – and that’s how the Germán Lizárraga y su Banda Estrellas de Sinaloa was born.

Combining the traditional style with the melodies and the classical clarinet of his ‘Sonido Turbo’, Germán and his sixteen talented musicians have toured the Mexican Republic at large, in addition to European countries such as Spain.

This event is part of La Linea, the London Latin Music Festival which takes place each April in a range of venues across central London from clubs to concert halls. Now in its 13th year, it is a twenty first century presentation of all that is best and current in contemporary Latin music.

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