[from the archive]
Eastern Europeans battle for your head & feet
How does one dance to a Macedonian wedding band? That was the dilemma facing the good people at the Brighton Dome in the second half of this double bill of Eastern European folk.
Although music of Romany origin is little known in Britain, film buffs will have heard Naat Veliov play on Emir Kusturica’s film ‘The Time of the Gypsies’. A fat, charismatic Telly Savalas look-alike, the King’s music is highly influential in the ex-Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia. In keeping with its use in weddings and festivals, Balkan brass bands play happy, high tempo dance music. The Orkestar is based on trumpets, (including Veliov’s brother Orhan) saxophones, tuba and percussion, which maintain a funky, syncopated attack.
The King’s impressive girth swung with the rhythm, and his cocky skill with the trumpet was really quite sexual. The impression overall was akin to Herb Alpert on speed, and by the second tune the crowd were up doing an impression of string in a wind tunnel. With guidance from a few flag-waving Macedonians in the aisles, the audience picked up enough dancing tips to make it happily through a long set without dislocating anything.
Encores were demanded and given, and it was a sweaty, smiling audience who eventually spilled out onto the street.
King Naat Veliov and the Original Kocani Orkestar, Brighton Dome, 14 May 2007
Original music criticism for the Brighton Magazine