Balkan brass – Guides, Features and Interviews | Songlines

Balkan brass Profile

The tradition of brass ensembles across the Balkans has its origins in the military bands of the Ottoman Empire.

As the instruments passed into civilian life they were used to accompany births, baptisms, weddings and funerals, often played by Roma (Gypsy) musicians.

Kočani Orkestar (photo: Simon Broughton)

Kočani Orkestar (photo: Simon Broughton)

The Guča Trumpet Festival in Serbia is the biggest brass band event in the world and attracts 300,000 visitors, while the Serbian composer and filmmaker Emir Kusturica popularised the music through his soundtracks.

Leading acts include the Boban Marković Orkestar, Romania’s Fanfare Ciocărlia and Macedonia’s Kočani Orkestar while the music has been mixed with electronic beats to invade Western dance floors.


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