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 i 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).
Points of interest
At the Pepsi Sziget Festival, Budapest (2001), the Boban Markovic Orchestra performed on the World Music Stage for a capacity crowd of 15,000 people. Great news for Boban, but not so for the famous English band Oasis - the British act had to postpone their set by 30 minutes due to the fact that from the audience demanded to hear more of Boban’s outstanding performance!
Jurors presenting the “The First Trumpet” award (highest accolade known amongst all brass musicians in Serbia) to Boban at “Dragacevski Sabor 2001” all awarded votes of ‘10/10’ points for his performance, the first time such high marks have been given in the history of the festival since 1961.
In 2002 the Boban Markovic Orkestar completed a 17-date sold-out debut tour in the USA and Canada. By the beginning of October 2002, they reached their 100th concert, with more planned for the fall. It was on that tour that the young Marko Markovic made his entrance onto the music scene.
Boban Markovic was born on the May 6th, 1964, on the day of Saint George – the most important Gypsy festival day of the year - in Vladicin Han (South 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’s mother, Julka, used to remind him that he should strive to play as well as her own father.
He got his first trumpet when he was 5 years old, but Boban 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. Thus, 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.”
Boban’s talent is due not to formal 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.
Marko Markovic was born on February 29th,1988, in Surdulica .
Marko grew up in his family’s hometown Vladicin Han, in Southern Serbia.
He spent his childhood in a comfortable home in the town centre with his father Boban, his mother Lidija, and his sister Tamara.
Marko’s father, Boban, has been making music for more than 30 years. Consequently, he was rarely at home, spending just a little time with his family and Marko, as he was extremely busy with his band’s tours and recording sessions. With such a strong musical example in the family, Marko’s love for music strengthened, as did his admiration for his father, which inspired him to start practicing at the age of 5, even alone, dedicating all of his afternoons to his deepest passion: the trumpet.
His very first teacher was his grandfather Dragutin, who was also his father’s teacher.
In the meantime, Boban kept touring with his Orchestra, playing all over the former Yugoslavia and Europe. Each time his father left, Marko was alone with his dreams of following him, and of becoming an official member of the Orchestra. He used to sit outside in the yard, playing alone and imagining the future. Indeed, his family became impatient with him because of his frequent and noisy rehearsals, and Boban was compelled to buy a muter for Marko’s trumpet so he could play and practice as long and often as he wanted.
Boban had never seriously attended to his son’s musical talent until Marko was 12 years old. One day, Lidija, Boban’s wife, forced him to dedicate a little time to listen to the musical virtuosity of his son. The result was that Boban was completely astonished by Marko’s skills, and asked him to play several traditional songs, amazed that his child was able to play goods well. Completely satisfied and surprised to hear the talent and skill he had ignored until that day, Boban gave Marko a composition to be arranged, and sent him directly to a recording studio.
Starting from that moment, the young Marko was introduced to the world he had always dreamt of, the one of the professional musicians. When he was 14, Boban came home one day and told Marko to pack his bags and join the Orchestra. There was absolutely no need to rehearse; Marko already knew the scores by heart. He fully joined the tour in May 2002, and since then has provided the band with most of the solos and has worked intensely on the group’s new compositions.
Marko’s passion for the trumpet was never simply a child’s past-time: he has been practicing 10 hours per day since he was 11 years old.
Over the years, Boban has become more and more fascinated by Marko’s technique and his passion for the music and for composition; so much so that he decided to give him full control of Orchestra, as a gift for his 18th birthday.
Some years later he became the main soloist and musical arranger in the band. In addition to his musical career, Marko has branched out into screen acting, playing the main character in the movie “Gucha! The Distant Trumpet”, directed by Dusan Milic and co-produced by Emir Kusturica, whose world Première was in February 2007 at the Berlin Film festival. In the movie, Marko plays the young Romeo, a Gypsy boy and trumpet player, in love with a Serbian girl, whose father is also a very famous trumpet player. Marko took part in the movie not only as an actor, but also as a musician, playing most of the songs on the soundtrack himself. The film hit all of the major European cinemas in the autumn of 2007.
The soundtrack of the movie received a nomination for European Film Award for best original music score.
Marko currently continues to perform as the main soloist and arranger in the Orchestra, has intensely collaborated as a soloist and co-arranger with Shantel on the albums “Disco Partizani” and “Planet Paprika,” and has performed several shows with Shantel’s Bucovina Orchestra.
Since 2006, the Boban and Marko Markovic Orchestra has been collaborating with the well-known Italian trumpet player Roy Paci and the American trumpet player Frank London, as part of the “Trumpet Triumph” tour, renewed in 2009 with a new tour schedule.
Moreover Marko took part to the recording to Miss Platnum’s album “The sweetest Hangover”. Nowadays he keeps touring with his father and his band all around the world.