Style: Balkan Brass
Friday: 9 p.m., Altria Stage.
Saturday: 4 p.m., Altria Stage and 8:15 p.m., Community Foundation Stage.
Slavic Soul Party treated local audiences to a taste of Balkan brass music blended with a bit of jazz, klezmer and funk in early September at the Modlin Center's Brass Bash. The Boban and Marko Markovic Orkestar bring the Folk Festival a blast of Balkan music in its purest form.
Brass music is huge in southeastern Europe. Serbia plays host to the biggest brass band festival in the world, an almost weeklong event that attracts more than a quarter of a million attendees. The Boban Markovic Orkestar, perhaps the most famous band of its kind, is a multiple festival winner. Trumpeter and bandleader Boban Markovic retired from the competition after achieving the pinnacle feat of winning the top prize with perfect scores.
The music ranges from lyrical to propulsive and virtuosic, always with a strong Gypsy flair. The band is a standing line of horns, tuba, a mini-snare set, a bass drum played on one side with a standard beater and the other with a long stick. Boban Markovic plays lightning runs on an unusually configured trumpet with horizontal tubing with the valves at what would be the bottom. His son, Marko, plays with blazing facility on a conventional instrument. The result, even if unfamiliar, is immediately engaging. The playing is impressive, charming and danceable.
It's a rare chance to hear perhaps the finest band from a rich musical tradition.