Roman Bunka is one of the most prominent German ud players and guitarists. He was born in 1951. Bunka was a founding member of several of the most influential German rock bands, including avant garde rock bands like Embryo and Aera. He impressed fellow musicians with his
Middle Eastern-style of guitar playing.
In 1976 he gave his first concert with
Trilok Gurtu in India. While searching for a second stringed instrument more suited to his musical development in the direction of modal and microtonality, he discovered the Arabic lute, the fretless mother of the guitar, the ud.
His first solo album, Dein Kopf ist ein schlafendes, recorded in 1980 (re-released by ATM-records) presented a blend of avant-garde rock with Oriental melodies. Released in the same period was the more jazz / rock fusion oriented album Live!, recorded in 1979 with the group Aera. After concerts with Okay Temiz in Turkey, Bunka chose Cairo as his musical refuge in the Arab world during the 1980's.
Bunka was so immersed in Egyptian music that he even represented Egypt with the Nubian singer Mohamed Mounir as arranger and ud-soloist at the Mediterranean Culture Festival in 1992 in Nimes, France. With solo-concerts in Tunis (Festival de la Medina), Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo and Beirut as well as in Lanzarote
(Canary Islands, Spain)with the group Vox and his performance at the Jazz Festival in Granada he was able to bring his vision of Arabic music closer to an interested
world music audience.
For the feature film Al Oud, directed by Fritz Baumann, which won the Gold Hugo at the 1992 Chicago International Film Festival, he was responsible for the musical direction and for composing the film music. While shooting, Bunka became involved with the Ensemble of the violin virtuoso Abdou Dagir from Cairo, with whom he made the CD Malik-a-Taksim. The films Warshots and Ende einer Reise by Heiner Stadler (Bavarian Film prize 1992) and the music to the film based on three short-stories by Paul Bodies entitled Halbmond by Frieder Schlaich and Irene von Alberti introduced him as a composer who uses his oriental style of sound collages to cleverly transport the drama.
Along with Grace Yoon, he produced several radio-plays for the Bavarian Radio, one of which, Tunguska-Guska, was awarded the Prix Futura 1993 by the BBC. Tunguska-Guska and their latest radio-play ''Earborn'' are both available as CD.
A live-recording of his project
Color Me Cairo featuring the Fathy Salama Ensemble from Egypt and Malachi Favors from the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago has appeared on the ENJA
label and received the German Record-critics Prize. In 1998 he composed and
recorded with the Spanish flamenco guitarist
Tomatito the music for the cinema movie Bin ich schön!?, directed by the famous German film director Doris Dörrie.
Ever the musical pioneer, in 1999 Bunka and his group, featuring Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotam and Japanese violinist Hiromi Nishida, performed at the first Oriental-Jazz-Festival in Beirut. To celebrate the new millennium, he participated with Mal Waldron, Jeanne Lee, Tri-O, Peter Dicke and Blixa Bargeld in Grace Yoon´s multimedia-event Illusion des Endes.
The year 2000 was launched at a live concert event in front of the Great Pyramids at Giza with Egyptian singer Mohamed Mounir.
With Argentine guitarist and composer Luis Borda, Bunka
created a mix of tango and Arabic music. Their trio project
Jost Hecker on cello was released on Enja Records.
Bunka joined forces with Egyptian musician and musicologist Issam El-Mallah, singer Sheikh Arabi Farag and kawala virtuoso Ahmed Arnab
to form the “Madih-ensemble”. This ensemble performs traditional Egyptian Sufi music,
although it also participated in the projects of modern European composers like Rupert Huber (“Sufi-Modem” NDR, “Ruh-I Gulab” WDR, BR), Jürgen Grözinger („Orient-Okzident“) and Klaus Huber („Die Erde bewegt sich auf den Hörnern eines Stiers“).
We keep on, with Embryo (1973)
Surfin, with Embryo (1975)
Bad Heads, Bad Cats, with Embryo and Charlie Mariano (1976)
Reise, with Embryo (Schneeball, 1980)
Dein Kopf ist ein schlafendes (ATM, 1980)
Live!, with Aera (1980)
Mohamed Mounir, with Mohamed Mounir (Line Records, 1989)
Germanistan, with Dissidenten ( 1990)
Tunguska-Guska, with Grace Yoon (Schneeball Records)
Earborn, with Grace Yoon (JARO Records)
Color Me Cairo, with Fathy Salama Ensemble (Enja)
Malik-a-Taksim, with Abdou Dagir (Enja Records, 1992)
From Spain to Spain, with Vox (Erdenklang Records, 1992)
The Jungle Book with Dissidenten (Exil, 1993)
Enshaallah with Rahala (united One Rec., 1997)
Bin ich schön!?, soundtrack, with Tomatito (Virgin, 1998)
Orientacion, with Luis Borda (Enja Records, 2004)
Freedom in Music with Embryo (2008)
Abadan with Hammond Schneider (2010)
40 (2CD), with Embryo (Trikont, 2010)
Official Web Site: www.romanbunka.de