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Exclusive interview-Goran Bregovic: My music is at home in Romania

I’ve always been fascinated with this Romanian way of loving music and making music.

I met the people, musicians, criminals, politicians and everything that makes Romania charming and beautiful.

I can’t imagine world without Gypsies, it’s the same imagining America without cowboys.

I am presenting my music the old-fashioned way, travelling around the world.

It could happen just one day I’d say ‘I have enough of it’.

What does the “Baro Foro” festival encompass this year and what novelties do Goran Bregovic and the Wedding and funeral orchestra bring at this edition?

I like to play in Romania and I will play of course some old songs that I wrote for the movies, few things from my opera “Carmen with Happy End” and few things for my last record “Champaign for gypsies” and probably few things from my new record that will be out at the beginning od next year, “Three letters from Sarajevo”. So, I am looking forward to play in Romania, I like to play in Romania for I feel that my music is at home in Romania.

What music genre do you think it characterize you at this stage in your life?

Well, you can call my music a contemporary Balkan music even if my contemporary is far away from the normal contemporary and it will always sound old fashioned because this is from where I am, from a place that is very far away from the contemporary world.

You’ve come many times to perform in Romania. Is there anything that is attracting you here in particular? Do you find similarities between our cultures in the Balkan region or you are more lured by the originalities of the Romanian culture, symbols, etc?

You’ll remark that a lot of influences in my music come from Romania, because one of the most beautiful traditions comes from Romania and I’ve always been very much impressed by Romanian traditional music, since I’ve met Taraf the Haidouks and till I’ve worked with Florin Salam on my last record “Champaign for Gypsies”. I’ve always been fascinated with this Romanian way of loving music and making music. It was always impressive to me and there were millions of things I could learn from Romanian music and Romanian artists.

Have you managed to visit a little bit of Romania while you were here? What place has been ingrained in your mind and heart and why?

Few years ago I had a Romanian tour so I played in most Romanian big cities and it was then that I travelled around Romania. You know, during the communist times in former Yugoslavia, we had a little touch with Timisoara and the rest of Romania was a big mystery for us, so discovering this beautiful big country for me it was really the highlight of this year. You are really lucky to be born in such a big, beautiful country. I was travelling around, I listened to the music, I met the people, musicians, criminals, politicians and everything that makes Romania charming and beautiful.

Is there any musical collaboration with Romanian artists this year?

On my latest album “Three letters from Sarajevo” I work with some Christians, some Jews and some Muslims but no Romanians this time, even if I consider my collaboration with Florin Salam as a beautiful experience, he’s really one of the most talented guys I’ve met during this long lifetime making music.

Your music, rhythm mixes gravitate around the Roma issue and values, which is quite prevalent in the Balkans. Romania has been long slammed abroad for not coping with the Roma minority’s problems. On the other hand, Romanians are facing a lot of identity incidents abroad when are mistaken and judged for some Roma nationals’ wrongdoings. What do you think is the right way to deal with the Roma topic? Are they a special minority that has to be differently addressed or we are wrongly approaching their integration in the Romanian society?

I think the 21st century will be a century when we’ll learn how to live with the differences. I can’t imagine world without gypsies, it’s the same imagining America without cowboys. It would be pity not to have them. I hope they we’ll learn better in time how to live with us, but I think we should also learn how to live with them. My last record, “Champaign for Gypsies” is a toast to this incredible minority that survives for centuries of discrimination and in the middle of this they left us just the beauty. So I hope one day Europe will have a role to say openly that Gypsies left some strong traces in our popular culture. Of course, since always I was impressed, and I am not the only composer in the music history impressed by the Gypsies’ unexplainable talent of making music.

On another hand, it’s not easy to be Gypsy, believe me.

You’ve reached a peak in your musical career. What’s next? What are your plans for the next year? Any tours, concerts? Will Romania still be on the tour map?

Next year I will release my new record, “Three letters from Sarajevo” and of course I will perform a lot, I am not the kind of guy to present music on TV. I am presenting my music the old-fashioned way, travelling around the world playing my music, this is the way I like it. Of course, Romania will be always on my map and I will always play in Romania with big pleasure.

If some day you stopped singing or quitting music for some reason, what would you do? What do you see yourself doing instead, if the case? Do you think retirement from music is possible for a complete artist like yourself?

Well it could happen that just one day I’ll say ‘I have enough of it’. I’ve played music since I was very young and it could happen just one day I’d say ‘I have enough of it’.

But, unfortunately, I haven’t learnt anything else to do with pleasure. So, I don’t think I will be retiring too soon (laughing).

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