Time of the Gypsies (Serbian: Дом за вешање, Dom za vešanje, literally “Home for Hanging”) is a 1988 Yugoslav film by Serbian director Emir Kusturica. Filmed in Romani and Serbian, Time of the Gypsies tells the story of a young Romani man with magical powers who is tricked into engaging in petty crime. It is widely considered to be one of Kusturica’s best films.
The film revolves around Perhan, a Gypsy teenager with telekinetic powers and his passage from boy to man that starts in a little village in Yugoslavia and that ends in the criminal underworld of Milan.
The movie’s soundtrack was composed by Goran Bregović.
|Also known as||Brega|
|Born||22 March 1950 (age 62)
Sarajevo, SR Bosnia, SFR Yugoslavia (present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina)
|Occupations||guitarist, composer, band leader|
|Instruments||Guitar, Vocals, Bass|
|Associated acts||Kodeksi, Jutro, Bijelo Dugme|
Goran Bregović (Serbian Cyrillic: Горан Бреговић, pronounced [ɡɔ̌ran brɛ̂ːɡɔʋitɕ], born 22 March 1950 in Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia) is one of the most internationally known modern musicians and composers of the Balkans. He currently lives with his familiy in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
Bregović has composed for such varied artists as Iggy Pop and Cesária Évora. He rose to fame playing guitar with his rock band Bijelo dugme. Among his better known scores are Emir Kusturica’s films (Time of the Gypsies, Arizona Dream, Underground).
Bregović’s compositions, extending Balkan musical inspirations to innovative extremes, draw upon European classicism and Balkan rhythms.
Bregović’s music carries Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Greek and Romani themes (in that order) and is a fusion of popular music with traditional polyphonic music from the Balkans, tango and brass bands.
Goran Bregović in concert at Carnegie Hall, New York on 19 October 2011.
Bregović was born in Sarajevo, SR Bosnia, SFR Yugoslavia (presently in Bosnia and Herzegovina), to a Serbian mother and Croatian father. His father was an officer in the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA). When his parents divorced he remained living with his mother in Sarajevo.
Goran played violin in a music school. However, deemed untalented, he was thrown out during second grade. His musical education was thus reduced to what his friend taught him until Goran’s mother bought him his first guitar in his early teens. Bregović wanted to enroll in a fine arts high school, but his aunt told his mother that it was supposedly full of homosexuals, which precipitated his mother’s decision to send him to a technical (traffic) school. As a compromise for not getting his way, she allowed him to grow his hair long. Upon entering high school, Goran joined the school band “Izohipse” where he began on bass guitar. Soon, however, he was kicked out of that school too (this time for misbehaviour – he crashed a school-owned Mercedes-Benz). Bregović then entered grammar school and its school band “Beštije” (again as a bass guitar player). When he was 16, his mother left him and moved to the coast, meaning that other than having a few relatives to rely on, he mostly had to take care of himself. He did that by playing folk music in a kafana in Konjic, working on construction sites, and selling newspapers.
Spotting him at a Beštije gig in 1969, Željko Bebek invited 18-year-old Bregović to play bass guitar in his band Kodeksi, which Goran gladly accepted.
Eventually, Kodeksi shifted setup so Goran moved from bass to lead guitar, resulting in Kodeksi having the following line-up during summer 1970: Goran Bregović, Željko Bebek, Zoran Redžić and Milić Vukašinović. All of them would eventually become members of Bijelo dugme at some point in the future. At the time, they were largely influenced by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. During the fall of 1970, this resulted in departure of Željko Bebek, who (both as rhythm guitar player and singer) got phased out of the band. At the end of the year, Goran’s mother and Zoran’s brother arrived to Naples and took them back to Sarajevo.
Then in the autumn of 1971, Goran entered university and decided to study philosophy and sociology. He soon quit, however. At the same time, Milić Vukašinović left for London, so Goran and Zoran started playing in a band named Jutro (“Morning”). In the next few years, the band changed lineups frequently, and on 1 January 1974 changed its name to Bijelo dugme (“White Button”).
Bregović played lead guitar and composed most of the music for the rock group Bijelo dugme (White Button). They were one of the most popular bands in SFR Yugoslavia right from their arrival on the scene in 1974 until their folding in 1989.
At the time Bijelo dugme was falling apart, Goran entered the world of film music. His first project was Emir Kusturica’s Time of the Gypsies (1989). This turned out to be a great success (both the film and the music from it). Goran and Emir’s collaboration continued, and Goran composed music (which was performed by Iggy Pop) for Emir’s next film Arizona Dream (1993).During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina Goran lived in Paris but he also lived in Belgrade. His next major project, music for Patrice Chéreau’s Queen Margot was again a great success, and the film won two awards on the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Next year’s Golden Palm went to Underground, for which Goran Bregović composed the music.
In 1997, he worked with Turkish singer Sezen Aksu on her album Düğün ve Cenaze (Wedding and Funeral). After that album, he continued making composite albums with other musicians that were based on his music and singers’ lyrics.
He made an album with George Dalaras in 1999 named Thessaloniki – Yannena with Two Canvas Shoes. In the same year, Bregović recorded an album called Kayah i Bregović (Kayah and Bregović) with popular Polish singer Kayah which sold over 650,000 copies in Poland (six times platinum record).
In 2001, he recorded another album with another Polish singer, Krzysztof Krawczyk, titled “Daj mi drugie życie” (“Give Me Second Life”).
In 2005, Bregović took part in three large farewell concerts of Bijelo dugme.
A number of works by Bregović can be heard on the soundtrack to the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, most notably “Đurđevdan.” The film itself actually features more Bregović samples than the soundtrack.
Bregović performs with a large ensemble of musicians. A brass band, bagpipes, a string ensemble, a tuxedo-clad all-male choir from Belgrade, and traditional Bulgarian and Roma singers make up his 40-piece band and orchestra.
Since 1998, Bregović has been performing his music mainly in the form of concerts all over the world with his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra. This consists of 10 people (in the small version) or 37 (in the large version, although at some instances this number will be different, depending on participants from the host country).
The small orchestra consists of Alen Ademović (vocals, drums), Bokan Stanković (first trumpet), Dalibor Lukić (second trumpet), Stojan Dimov (sax, clarinet), Aleksandar Rajković (first trombone, glockenspiel), Miloš Mihajlović (second trombone), Dejan Manigodić (tuba) and Goran himself. The uniqueness of the orchestra comes from the voices of the Bulgarian singers Daniela Radkova-Aleksandrova and Ludmila Radkova-Traikova. The large orchestra usually has singers from the Belgrade Orthodox male choir, string performers from Poland, or from the country in which they perform, as well as other local performers.
During the Eurovision 2008 final in Belgrade Arena, Serbia, he had a small concert. He also composed the Serbian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010; ‘Ovo Je Balkan’ sung by Milan Stanković.
In 1993, Bregović married his long-time girlfriend Dženana Sudžuka. The wedding ceremony held in Paris featured film director Emir Kusturica as the groom’s best man and longtime Bijelo dugme backing vocal Amila Sulejmanović as the bride’s maid of honour.
The couple have three daughters: Ema (born in March 1995), Una (February 2002) and Lulu (May 2004).
Bregović owns real-estate properties all over the world, but spends most of his time between Belgrade, where most of his musical collaborators reside, and Paris, where his spouse lives with their three daughters.
He also has a daughter named Željka (born out of wedlock from a previous relationship) who gave birth to Goran’s grand daughter, Bianca. He has a brother named Predrag who lives in New York City and sister Dajana who lives in Split.
On 12 June 2008, Bregović injured his spine in a fall from a tree. He fell four meters from a cherry tree in the garden of his home in Senjak, a Belgrade district, breaking vertebrae. However, according to the doctors, his condition was “stable without neurological complications.”After surgery, he made a quick recovery and on 8 July and 9 July, he held two big concerts in New York City, where for more than two hours each night, he proved his performance skills had not suffered from the accident.
Bregović prefers to avoid delving into politics. “Yugoslavia is the intersection of so many worlds: Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim,” says Bregović. “With music, I don’t have to represent anyone except myself — because I speak the first language of the world, the one everyone understands: music.”
Goran Bregović Wedding and Funeral Orchestra in Donetsk. March 15, 2006.