Published Jun 08, 2009Bregovic, a long-time superstar in the Balkans (his first band, the White Button, sold over six-million albums), is best known in the West as a film composer for Borat and acclaimed director Emir Kusturica's Time Of The Gypsies, Arizona Dream and Underground. Here, he uses his Weddings and Funeral Orchestra to craft a widescreen, horn-driven sound that marries gypsy brass, traditional Balkan, klezmer and rock elements to invigorating effect. Think the Pogues on a plum brandy bender in a Serbian taverna. Alkohol, recorded live in the small town of Guca, captures the sound of a group clearly having a great time making music. A little more respite from the generally frenetic pace would have been welcome, and may be provided by a companion album, Champagne, set for release at the end of the year. This one could function as a near-perfect soundtrack for a well-lubricated summer BBQ party.
Is it fair to assume there was a lot of alcohol consumed while recording the album?
Usually I drink just one glass of Jack Daniels, and I give money to the musicians always. That always helps the atmosphere onstage. But on that concert, when I watched the video from it, I drink really a lot and I give a lot of money! So I thought maybe if I drink so well with this record maybe other people would like to drink with this record.
There are so many different musical cultures in your sound. Does that come naturally?
Well, I am from the borderline, Sarajevo. It has been borderline for five centuries between the Catholics and the Muslims. That's why we have this terrible history. If you are on the borderline and you are a composer you draw from everything. It is a mixture of orthodox, Catholic, Muslim religious music, wedding music from Jews, gypsy music. If I concentrate on how to be pure with something that is impossible.
Did you enjoy collaborating with Iggy Pop on the music for Arizona Dream?
Very much. I met him in New York. He came with Johnny Depp for one scene that he wanted to audition for. He put a pumpkin on his head and sang "God Bless America." He was a big fan of my soundtrack for Time Of The Gypsies, so we thought we'd do something. He told me there was a Serbian waiter at a place in Greenwich Village where he drinks coffee in the morning. Iggy asked him, "what do you think of Goran?" and the waiter told him, "He is God." So Iggy said, "If he thinks you're God, you must be good." At that period for him, it was no drugs, no meat; he had a Japanese wife and kids, dog. He even asked to not go to the studio where technicians were smoking joints, so we recorded everything in Philip Glass's studio. (Wrasse)