The history of music is full of stories about fortunate outcomes, breakthroughs, fortunate and unfortunate events, misery, tragedies and treacheries. Saban Bajramovic has had plenty of each and some to spare. A legend in his own lifetime, he's become a synonym for Gypsy music. So many stories have been told about him that there's no way to separate fact from fiction. He even managed to survive Goli Otok (Barren Island), the infamous prison camp for political prisoners in post-WWII Yugoslavia, though he was imprisoned for deserting the army in order to see his girlfriend.
Hard life has left traces and bruises on his soul. God knows how many times he was stabbed, beaten, cheated. In general, his life has been a dynamic turn of events that eventually (and righteously) brought him the title "The King of Gypsy Music (or "The Nat King Cole From the City of Nish ). Many of today's famous musicians earn millions by recording some of his approximately 700. However, one thing is certainthere's no way to separate the man from his songs, lyrics and music.
Romano Raj (Gypsy Heaven) marks a new turn for this 71 year-old singer. After fifteen years away from recording, he arrives with a strong album where, as usual, he is the complete author. Supported by Dobrovoljno Kovachko Drustvo (the Voluntary Blacksmith Society), a team of experienced musicians on the Serbian scene, Bajramovic delivers a dynamic album full of passionate vocals, and a tasteful mixture of Gypsy songs with jazz, funk and Cuban flavors.
All of these influences swirl through, appearing at the most unexpected of places. Popular songs such as "Geljan Dade, "Bele Ruze and "Devla Devla get a different treatment here, as do the other songs, but Bajramovic's shattered voice and passionate delivery add a keen excitement to the music. All twenty songs have a distinct laidback atmosphere, as if they were played on a warm summer night. Notable guest appearances include guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski and flutist Teodosii Spasov.
Bajramovic and the supporting band have poured their hearts and souls into this recording, while striking an excellent balance between tradition and modernity. Romano Raj is an indispensable albumfrom this giant of Gypsy music.
Personnel: Saban Bajramovic: vocal, music, words; Petar Radmilovic: drums, percussion; Istvan Madjaric: bass; Ivan Aleksijevic: synth; Aleksandar Buzadzicm: synth; Gabor Bunford: clarinet, saxophone; Sasa Petrovic: acoustic guitars, vocals. Guests: Vlatko Stefanovski: electric guitar; Teodosi Spassov: kaval; Michel Kurina: cimbalom; Sen Ignac: violin; Igor Molnar: bass; Ferenc Kurina: bass; Dragoslav Stanisavljevic: trumpet, flugelhorn; Vladimir Krnetic: trumpet.