There is a sense of identity that one feels, especially when one lives abroad. Romania is mainly a combination of latin influences, with slavic ones, on top of our ancestors, the Dacians. But this does not stop us from feeling close to the Balkan culture, nor from having influences from the Byzantine or Austro-Hungarian one. So when one lives far away from home, a good opportunity to feel a bit close to it is to go see a live concert of someone who comes from that part of Europe. Someone who happens to be quite popular in Romania. And not only there. I am talking about Goran Bregović who brought to Stockholms Kulturfestival a bit of the Balkans with their Serbian, Bulgarian and Gypsy cultures. And don’t freak out if I use the word “gypsy”, he uses it too and he does it it the most positive and beautiful way possible. No political correctness needed, not here, but I do have to mention that he did talk on stage about the situation of the Gypsies in Europe.
I think the first time I heard about him was when Emir Kusturika’s movies were shown on TV in Romania, more precisely I remember Arizona Dream, Underground and Black Cat, White Cat. Goran Bregović took care of the soundtrack for the first two. For Arizona Dream he worked with Iggy Pop on a few songs, check one below:
Some songs from Underground became instant classics and my favourite is, of course, Kalashnikov, which has as basis, if I may say so, a Romanian song: The Skylark . I can not remember the number of parties when we danced to it as kids, and I am pretty sure we danced to it at a few weddings as well. Goran Bregović had quite a few concerts in Romania, collaborated with Romanian artists and with other international artists like Gogol Bordello. So it was quite nice today to hear Romanian during the concert. It was also nice to se the reactions of my Serbian friends, to look around and see how they explain to their other foreign friends that do not come from the Balkans what the songs were about.
And the best part of the concert today, besides the music that fills you with life and joy, is Goran telling the audience out loud during Kalashnikov: “If you don’t go crazy you are not normal”. He used this line to name an international tour that took place in 2015. Maybe he was just referring to that little drop of madness that sometimes makes life a bit more beautiful. Caution though! Tonight I felt that I knew exactly what he was referring to because Kalashnikov is that kind of a song: you listen to it and you go crazy and breathless from all the dancing. Check it out below: