Boban i Marko Markovic
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Boban i Marko Markovic

Vladičin Han, Central Serbia, Serbia | INDIE

Vladičin Han, Central Serbia, Serbia | INDIE
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"Boban and Marko"

Clad in a suave white suit, it’s not impossible to imagine why urban legends credit gypsy trumpet king Boban Markovic with getting his homeland out of a recent jam: Markovic’s spit-fire precision is rumored to have so seduced Bill Clinton that the saxophone playing president called off the further NATO bombing of Serbia.

True or not, one thing is clear: Markovic and his son, prized protégé Marko, are the bomb in Balkan brass dance music, harnessing the absolute flexibility of Miles Davis and the cool funk of Herb Alpert in the ultimate expression of their Southern Serbian Rroma roots. Their latest album as the Boban and Marko Markovic Orkestar, Devla: Blown Away to Dancefloor Heaven (Piranha Musik, November 10, 2009), flies effortlessly between echoes of the Ottoman Empire and down-and-dirty grooves that would make P-Funk’s jaws drop.

Boban’s decades of experience are now fired by Marko’s youthful vibe an energy sustained by marathon practice sessions and a lifetime spent with dad on stage. As a kid, Marko put in ten hours a day at home with his horn, a practice that drove Boban so crazy he finally insisted his son stand and deliver with the Orkestar. The determined, then fourteen-year-old Marko played so perfectly, he soon became a fixture in the group.

But Marko has done more than merely play along. Together, Boban and Marko Markovic are expanding the idioms of gypsy brass, as Marko scats (“Devla”), raps in Serbian and English (“Benim Gecem”), and even flirts with flamenco (“Kazi Baba”). All while keeping true to tradition: the lightning-fast melodies, driving rhythms, and exuberant transcendence of the greatest Balkan brass bands.

Of course, to get to dancefloor heaven, you need some help from the Balkans’ gypsy saints, the singers who have made and remade the centuries-old traditions now wildly popular worldwide. There are veteran singers like Rade Krstic (“Udre Mila”) who Markovic lured out of his decades-long retirement, or Ljubiša Stojanovic (“Kum Boemcina”) dubbed “Louis” for his Balkan-flavored renditions of Louis Armstrong tunes and his love of jazz. There are rising stars like Bulgaria’s Sofi Marinova (“Soske Sul Na avea”) and hidden gems like Mustafa Šabanovic (“Maruska”), a little-known idol of the Serbian gypsy scene. Devla showcases the melismatic and dramatic vocal stylings of these singers, adored at home but little known in the West; the best the Balkans have to offer. - LiveJournal

"Glorious record"

The U.S.-based likes of Balkan Beat Box, Gogol Bordello and Slavic Soul Party have done much in recent years to introduce the irrepressible sounds of southeastern Europe into the pop mainstream. As this exultant offering from Serbian trumpet virtuoso Boban Markovic and his son and protege Marko attests, those bands are drinking from a deep and abiding wellspring.

Though steeped in their homeland’s rich brass band tradition, the Markovics and their Orkestar aren’t kid-glove preservationists. Bending, twisting and stomping all over their native music, as well as that of places such as Spain, Africa and the Middle East, theirs is an ever-evolving hybrid, an ebullient fusion of jazz, funk and gypsy rhythms that does more than deliver on the promise of their CD’s title. The record at times sounds like the Balkan answer to a cross between Louis Armstrong’s groundbreaking early combos and the on-the-one funk of James Brown and George Clinton.

Swirling horn choruses and frenetic cadences abound, along with plenty of shouting, trilling voices. “Kazi Baba” weds a ska backbeat to spoken-word vocals and the occasional hip-hop breakbeat. Another hiccupping vamp, “Hopa Cupa,” is played at such a runaway pace that the music sounds as though it’s speeding up. The accordion- and sax-sweetened title track suggests the second-line rhythms of New Orleans and features the younger Markovic’s scatting vocals; he raps on the head-bobber “Sljivovica.”

The word “Devla” is a Serbian shriek of delight, the equivalent of the English phrase “Oh, my God!” The expression is bound to be on the lips of anyone who hears this glorious record. - Washington Post


A back-to-basics blast from Boban and the boys
Boban Markovic, one of European music’s top trumpet players, has been playing explosive Balkan Gypsy tunes for longer than almost anyone can remember, certainly long before the whole Balkan Beats phenomenon blew up. With his son Marko now leading the band alongside him, Boban has been chasing that hipper club-produced sound over recent albums, so it is a pleasure to note this return to form. True, it is not quite a step back to his early days – his exquisitely soft rendition of ‘Izvorski Biseri’ on Network’s excellent Golden Brass Summit compilation is the undoubted highlight – but with the exception of the clumsily produced dance-rap tune ‘Šljivovica’, Boban and the band are playing with fire in their bellies again. ‘Rommano Biav’ is a perfect example of the all-horns-blasting, wickedly sinuous, Turkish-inflected cocek groove that has made the Gypsy brass sound such an anthemic dance music trend of recent years – an ultra-tight, delicious rhythm that grabs you and just won’t let go. Elsewhere, some top-notch guest vocalists are welcome additions to the party: the Rom-pop sound of ‘Soske Sul Na Avea’, featuring Bulgarian singer Sofi Marinova, is one of the best cuts here, with a blistering trumpet solo just in case you forget who’s really in charge. The production is generally solid and young Marko feels more integrated into the band sound than before: he gives the group an added drive and energy, without being allowed to take over the show. One of the best bands in the business is back. - Songlines


Hani Rumba (ITMM)
Zlatna Truba (‘Golden Trumpet’) (PGP-RTS)
Srce Cigansko (‘Heart of Gypsy’) (X Produkcio)
Millenium (X Produkcio)
Bistra Reka (X Produkcio / B92 /
Live in Belgrade (Piranha Musik /
Boban i Marko (Piranha Musik /
The Promise (Piranha Musik /
Go Marko Go (Piranha Musik /
Devla (Piranha Musik /
Balkan Brass Battle (Asphalt Tango/



The quintessential Balkan brass band from Vladicin Han, in Southern Serbia, has once again captured the mantle of “Leading Band in Serbia,” a title for which they have been crowned many times since the late 1980’s. Their music, performed by a thirteen-piece strong orchestra, is wholly defined by their own gypsy lineage, whilst giving a knowing nod towards other musical and cultural backgrounds closely related to Romani traditions.
Boban and his Orchestra have won all of the most prestigious accolades available to players in Serbia: ‘Trumpet Maestro’ (2 times), ‘Golden Trumpet’, ‘First Trumpet’, ‘The Best Orchestra’, ‘ The Best Concert’. Most of the members have been presented at the renowned “Dragacevski Sabor” in Guca, Southern Serbia – a festival noted to attract fierce competitions among both the players and audiences of up to 600,000 people.

In addition to the 13 albums released so far, the Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra has performed and been featured in the following:
-Emir Kusturica’s beloved films: ‘Underground’ & ‘Arizona Dream’
-‘Unblocked’ (‘Music from the Eastern Europe’) compilation on Elipsis Arts in the USA.
-”Srbija: Sounds Global” vol. 1, 2 and 3 (B92) 2000/2002/2005.
“Golden Brass Summit” Anthology of 40 years in Guca. (Network Medien). First 4 tracks.
-“Rromano Suno” Vol. 1 and 2 Gypsy music from the Balkans (B92) 2003/2006.
-“Gucha! The Distant trumpet” film soundtrack (2006)
-the award winning documentary film “Competition,” as main characters

The band has already performed in a host of countries around the world: Greece, Belgium, Rumania, USA, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Holland, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine, Monaco, Russia, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden, Canada, UK, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg, France, Slovakia, Croatia, Czech Republic. Over the last 7 years, they have given more than 600 concerts. In 2002 and 2004 alone, the band performed more than 100 concerts, including tours in USA and Canada. Boban and his son Marko are also starring in a documentary on Gypsy artists, called “Usti Opre,” which includes live music from Iva Bittova, Kalman Balogh, the Boban Markovic Orchestra, Ivo Papasov, Sergey Erdenko and others.

Marko, now the band’s primary soloist and arranger, has collaborated heavily, as both as a soloist and co-arranger, with Shantel on his well-received new album “Disco Partizani,” and has performed with the Bucovina Orchestra.

In 2006 and 2007, the Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra performed many concerts with Roy Paci and Frank London, as part of the “Il Terrone, l’Ebreo e lo Zingaro” show, with huge success. This project continued with new shows in 2008 and 2009.

Since 2006, Marko, then 18, has co-led the band with his father, giving many spectacular solos, composing and arranging new material for the band, and producing a brand new album together with Boban (Go Marko Go).
After the successful album "Devla", in 2011 the band toured the whole Europe with the project "Balkan Brass Battle", a musical duel with the "rival band" Fanfare Ciocarlia.
They have just released the new CD "The Man and his Trumpet"