Goran Bregovic & His Wedding and Funeral Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Goran Bregovic & His Wedding and Funeral Orchestra

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There's probably nobody who's done more to popularize eastern European Gypsy music than Goran Bregovic: his sound tracks to Emir Kusturica films like Time of the Gypsies and Underground introduced the region's classic melodies (and its brass-band tradition) to the West. But in Garth Cartwright's book, Princes Amongst Men, three prominent Gypsy artists (Boban Markovic, Esma Redzepova, and Saban Bajramovic) have little but scorn for the man, accusing him of taking full credit for songs he cowrote with them. Such allegations aside, Bregovic is clearly a talented assimilationist. He started as a rocker in the 70s, then moved to film and TV scores, where he began blending horas and coceks with more conventionally cinematic fare. The songs on his excellent 2002 solo album, Tales and Songs From Weddings and Funerals (Mercury), are occasionally overripe, but most combine Gypsy melodies, Euro balladry, and rollicking brass into a satisfying whole. Here in Chicago, one of only three North American stops on this tour, Bregovic is presenting two very different shows. Tonight's performance features a 43-piece group, which includes the 13-member Saint George String Orchestra and the 15-strong Belgrade Choir. The following night at the Park West he brings a 14-piece group that includes a full brass band and several Bulgarian singers; see Tuesday for details. Mon 7/10, 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168. Free. All ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Mike Orlove.

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