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Kiril: Balcancan Soundtrack

Nenad Georgievski By

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There is a popular story that has been told so many times throughout the Balkans that today it has reached the status of urban legend. A family goes to a neighboring country on vacation and they take their granny with them, and lo and behold, during the trip the granny dies. In order to avoid complications with customs officials, they decide to roll the granny in a carpet and to smuggle her across the border. Somewhere someone steals the carpet, and that's where all the fun begins. Director Darko Mitrevski took this story as the symbolic basis for his movie Balkancan, where the drama unfolds in the midst of war and the characters drift away into the labyrinths of the Balkan criminal underground in a hilarious and at times surreal search of the carpet.

The score for Balkancan, composed by Kiril (Dzhajkovski), captures the ironic, humorous, and yet at moments tragic and elegiac atmosphere of the film. In recent years the composer has proven to be a truly prolific artist. Although Kiril's background is in electronic music, his work has seen him moving more lately towards contemporary classical, where his interest lies in music for films and theatre. The soundtrack for Balkancan is a beautiful mixture of contemporary sounds and Middle Eastern-laced aesthetics and influences. The music is mostly orchestral, using lush harmonies that remind me of Zorn's Bar Kokhba, but infused with a healthy dose of humour.

What's really intriguing about this soundtrack are the various instrumental backdrops for the film: the densely arranged, yet infectious opener "Monte Union," the Morricone-inspired track "Bar-baritone," the funky "The Legend of Trendafil Karanfilov." There are fireworks, too, such as the gypsy brass tunes (performed by the Pizzicato Orchestra), where the band takes the main theme, mashes it up, and runs with it on the heels of their trumpets. Joining for this endeavor is the band Project Zlust, which broadens the spectrum of Kiril's compositions with arrangements for strings, percussion, sax, guitars, and clarinet. There is a special appearance by Kiril's old collaborator from the Apparatchiks project, Vlada Divljan, who sings on the closing track, "Baba Zumbula (a big hit in Macedonia and Serbia).

The album is consistently impressive, and in addition to the aforementioned tunes, the highlights also include "Santino's Coming," "Good Night, Bro," and "Finding El Dorado." Even though Balkancan is not as striking as his previous work on Dust, Kiril's genius as both composer and arranger is nevertheless in full evidence, and this recording is clearly one of his best efforts to date.

Track Listing: Monte Union; Bar-Bari; The Legend Of Trendafil Karanfilov; To The Sea; Finding El Dorado; Carpet Idea; Dr.Safarafoff; June, July; Balcankan Chochek; Over Saturn; Santino

Personnel: Written, arranged, produced by Kiril. Dzijan Emin: keyboards, French horn, acoustic guitar, voice; Ivan Bejkov: acoustic & electric bass; Aleksandar Pop Hristov: acoustic bass, electric guitar; Goce Stefkovski: drums & percussion; Zdravko Angelov: clarinet and saxophone; Ljubisha Kirovski: solo violin; Vera Milosevska: solo voice; Verica Lambevska: violin; Vladimir Kostov: violin; Blerim Grubi: viola; Vladimir Pop Hristov: cello. Pizzicato Orchestra (4,6,9,11); Husref Said: kanun; Panche Bujukliev: harmonica; Special guest appearance: Vlada Divljan: vocals (15); Darko Mitrevski: lyrics (15); Kiril Dzajkovski: keyboards, programming & editing.

Title: Balcancan Soundtrack | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Lithium Records

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