Boban Marković was born on May 6th, 1964, on the day of Saint George – the most important Gypsy festival day of the year – in Vladičin Han, Southern Serbia. His hometown is a town of 10,000 inhabitants, most of whom are of Roma Gypsy heritage and share a rich musical tradition. Boban’s father, Dragutin, was a musician, as were both of his grandfathers. Boban got his first trumpet when he was 5 years old, but he didn’t approach the music seriously until much later. Rather, he preferred to play with other children around the village, and once he even forgot his instrument in the sand while he was building a castle with his friends. Growing up, Boban preferred to play soccer and his greatest desire would have been to become a professional player. His father wasn’t happy with his inclinations, and had a serious talk with Boban when he was 10 years old, to tell him that his destiny was to be a trumpet player.
Boban started to play at his father’s concerts and the marriages where the orchestra performed. He was obliged to play until he was exhausted. Boban began playing professionally in an orchestra at the age of 16, and he founded his own orchestra at the age of 20 years old. Boban Markovic was then ready to compete at the Guca festival.
Guca is a small town in central Serbia with only 3,000 inhabitants. The town has been organizing the most important brass band competition in Former Yugoslavia there every year since 1961. There isn’t bigger satisfaction for a Serbian player than to become the “first trumpet” of the Guca festival. Boban started to take part in the Guca competition in 1984, succeeding in winning the “first trumpet” in 1988, and has gone on to win 5 more times until his last participation in 2001. In 1995 Boban received the “Trumpet Maestro Prize”, the most valuable recognition that a brass musician can aim for in the Balkans and in 2006 he was nominated “Ambassador of the Guca Competition,” becoming one of the most important personalities in Balkan brass band music. Boban Markovic has earned a great reputation not only in Serbia, but around the world.
For the young and talented Boban, the doors for an international career were widely opened. The many times awarded film director Emir Kusturica, and the most famous Balkan composer Goran Bregovic, invited him to record the music for the soundtrack of the movies “Underground” and “Arizona Dream”. One of the most important awards for him is that famous british SongLines magazine listed him as the only trumpet player on their list 50 All time best instrumentalist in the world.
Boban’s talent is due not to musical studies, but to the internal sense of rhythm that he possesses in his blood, as well as his passion and self- taught skills. Once called to play in London with more than 20 other trumpet maestros, Boban became confused when he was given an orchestral score. He didn’t start to rehearse, as he wasn’t able to read the sheet music. All of his knowledge comes from his natural predisposition and from the heart. When the conductor played the music for him, Boban picked up the piece immediately, having learned it by ear after only hearing it a couple of times. Boban’s international career started in 1999. Since then, he and his orchestra which includes his son Marko, have performed all over Europe, the U.S. and Israel. His father Dragutin was right: Boban’s destiny was to be a trumpet player. A brilliant one. The king.
Ancient melodies that have travelled from the silk road to the Adriatic Sea, played on 19th century instruments consist what we could refer to as "the true Balkan Brass Band music". A virtuoso father and a prodigious son, Boban and Marko Marković, are active interprets, implicated in the ongoing evolution of the Brass Band tradition.Their Brass Band music is contemporary, and urban, respecting its bonds with the rural traditions. Musicians such as DJ Shantel,Balkan Beatbox or even Zach Condon, leading member of the group Beirut, refer to Boban Markovic Orchestra as a source of inspiration and even dedicate songs to him or sample his music. Sometimes compared with New Orleans Big Bands, with Jamaican ska or even with funk music the rhythms and the melodies establish what this project is : True Balkan music.
21.4.2023 - Stanser Musiktage (CH)
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