One of Yugoslavia’s top rock stars in the 70s and 80s, a renowned film-score composer in the 90s (in particular for Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturića), a Balkan musical prodigy, a tireless performer, and a free, uninhibited producer: Goran Bregović is all of these at once. A wide variety of influences come together and fuse in this Serbo-Croatian’s unique and universal music.
Slavic and gypsy roots, a passion for British rock, and an attraction to classical and world music: Bregović’s world reflects the diversity of his inspiration sources. Balkan folk with brass-band sounds mingles with Orthodox choir music and merges with electric guitar and traditional percussion. From Led Zeppelin and religious music to David Bowie and the minimalist Polish composer Henryk Górecki, the influences of Balkan music’s leading ambassador are clearly cosmopolitan.
Goran Bregović in a few words
A native of Sarajevo, born in 1950 to a Serbian mother and a Croatian father, Goran Bregović has a natural propensity for cultural diversity. His unique yet universal music is a fusion of electric rock, Balkan folk, gypsy brass, Orthodox choirs and traditional percussion. Bregović has recorded some 30 albums and given thousands of concerts filled with his boundless energy.
In 1974, with his group Bijelo Dugme (White Button), he released his first album, Kad Bi' Bio Bijelo Dugme, which was an immediate hit in Yugoslavia. From 1979 to 1989, the group went on one tour after another, recording numerous albums of supercharged rock – nine in total. They were a stellar success in the countries of the Adriatic coast.
After Bregović became friends with Serbian filmmaker and musician Emir Kusturica, he began composing for the silver screen. The duo collaborated on the films Time of the Gypsies (1989), Arizona Dream (1993) and Underground (1995), which won the Golden Palm at Cannes that same year. It was the ultimate confirmation of his talent. Bregović also created the score for Patrice Chéreau’s La Reine Margot (1994), which won the Jury Prize in Cannes.
This insatiable traveler has journeyed around the globe and worked with many musicians from all corners of the world, including the vital Cape Verdian Cesaria Evora, the Turkish diva Sezen Akszü, the Grecian crooner George Dalaras, the Polish star Kayah, the icon Iggy Pop, the cult hero Scott Walker, the alchemist Stephan Eicher, the punks of Gogol Bordello, and the unsurpassable Gypsy Kings.
In 1997, he decided to take to the road again with his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra, an ensemble of varying size (which can comprise up to 50 musicians) similar to the orchestras that keep up the traditions at large family gatherings. For the past 20 years, Bregović has been fascinating enthralled audiences every night on a tour with an unpredictable end, and only one guiding principle: “If you don't go crazy here, you're not normal!”