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A Gypsy Brass Band

Kočani Orkestar

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Album Review

Just about any brass band from the Balkans might consider themselves a "gypsy brass band," so strong is the Romany influence, with a majority of the bandmembers often from this ethnic background. This is a recording of a Macedonian brass band, which mixes in some instruments that would certainly be out of place in a typical American high school brass band. These include the accordion and the Turkish drum called a darbuka, layered on top of the obese, low-end sound of three baritone horns and one tuba. There's also a sax and clarinet player who tangles with leader Naat Veliov's splattering riffs, the leader's son on second trumpet, and a female vocalist tying the bow on the package. Veliov also gets the credit for the striking arrangements. This is a recording of folk music, yes, but organized with the high-powered finesse bandleader Buddy Rich described as "a right hand on your brain." Veliov has a wide choice of influences to tap into, not only the rich Turkish/Slavic/Balkan stew but the distant yet pungent aroma of Indian music stretching back to the Romany's original homeland. On the whole, the astonishing fluidity of the instrumental numbers makes it a bit harder to appreciate the vocal numbers with Violeta Filipova.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

The Balkan brass band tradition may have resulted in dancers throwing all restraint to the wind and cavorting wildly into the night, but it actually came about through the intermingling of two forms of strict military discipline, one from the East and the other from the West. The former is the ancient Ottoman mehter military band, and the latter the familiar Western brass band, complete with tubas, trumpets, and saxophones. This Macedonian brass band, who proudly proclaimed themselves as A Gypsy...
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A Gypsy Brass Band, Kočani Orkestar
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Europe
  • Released: 01 June 1994

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