Ahead of his return to Australia this May, Goran Bregovic picked out some of the most-loved musical collaborations from across his career.
Goran Bregovic has had a wild and colourful musical history.
Across his career, he has done it all. He was a rockstar in the former Yugoslavia, wrote the scores to award-winning films, composed for orchestras, and has become an internationally-loved exponent in brassy Balkan Gypsy music. Along the way, he has teamed up with some of the world’s biggest and best-known artists – across genres and generations, his collaborations explore and combine a stack load of musical terrain.
We asked Goran to put together a list of his favourite musical collaborations from across the years, and this is what he came up with.
Iggy Pop – Arizona Dream Soundtrack, 1993
The soundtrack for Emir Kusturica’s Arizona Dream by Goran Bregović features the godfather of punk Iggy Pop on four of its tracks – what an absolute power pairing. The French-American absurdist comedy stars Johnny Depp, Jerry Lewis, Faye Dunaway and Lili Taylor. Bregovic’s cinematic take on Balkan music perfectly balances with Iggy’s distinctive, and at times topical, lyrics and vocal.
Ofra Haza – La Reine Margot Soundtrack, 1994
The soundtrack for Patrice Chéreau’s film La Reine Margot is heavily influenced by Balkan folk music tradition. Bregovic drew inspiration from his past work as frontman for Bijelo Dugme – arguably the most influential Yugoslav rock band of the ’70s and ’80s. This collaboration is just one of many soundtracks Bregovic has composed over his career and we are in awe of his seemingly endless repertoire.
Cesaria Evora – Ausencia (Underground), 1995
Bregovic’s Underground soundtrack provided several instant fan favourites such as Mesečina and Kalašnjikov. However, Bregovic is most fond of his collaboration with the late Cape Verdean vocalist, Cesaria Evora. The duo’s collaboration on Ausencia is enchanting, while Evora’s haunting vocals leave fans entranced by her undeniably emotive performance. Two decades later the performance still induces chills, and we are not surprised it’s one of Bregovic’s favourite collabs.
Scot Walker – Man From Reno, in the UK
Showcasing Bregovic’s tremendous talent in this guitar-driven instrumental, Man From Reno serves as the seventh solo single from Scott Walker. Adapted for the 1993 French comedy, Toxic Affair, the steady piece takes an unexpected turn as it builds to a pop-infused chorus. The single represents one of just four singles written and released by Walker, and for that reason, it’s easy to understand Bregovic’s appreciation for the project.
Sezen Aksu – Düğün ve Cenaze (The Wedding and the Funeral), in Turkey
In 1997, Bregovic collaborated with Turkish singer-songwriter Sezen Aksu on her album Düğün ve Cenaze (The Wedding and the Funeral). Named after Bregovic’s orchestra of the same name, the album consisted of interpretations of Bregovic’s songs (mostly music from Emir Kusturica’s films) with words by Aksu as well as Meral Okay and Pakize Barista.
George Dalaras – Thessaloniki – Yannena with Two Canvas Shoes, in Greece
Also released in 1997, Bregovic worked with Greek musician George Dalaras on their album Thessaloniki. Combining the world’s of Greek and Balkan music, this high energy release is a treat for any music fan – even those who may not be familiar with either musical style.
Kayah – Kayah i Bregović , in Poland
In this Romani and Balkan-inspired blend of pop and folk, Bregovic demonstrates his ability to compose music that is both artistic as well as commercially successful. The album, Kayah i Bregović sold over 700,000 copies and spawned four singles including mega-hits Śpij kochanie, śpij and Prawy do lewego. Famously, Bregovic and Kayah performed together live in Warsaw for a monumental crowd of 50,000. Impressive stuff.
Words by Gloria Brancatisano and Ryan O’Connor
Goran Bregovic and his Wedding & Funeral Band will perform Three Letters from Sarajevo at Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide on Friday 10 May, Perth Concert Hall on Sunday 12 May, and Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne on Tuesday 14 May. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster.com.au.