A FIERY Balkan hot pot of love, lust and the maddest of talent, the award-winning Goran Bregovic returns to Australia this month.
This time, the rock star from the Balkans has his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra in tow to perform songs from his new album Champagne for Gypsies.
The composer tells Seanna Cronin about his love for Australia and the influx of gypsy culture on our TV screens.
Q: Why is your orchestra called the Weddings and Funerals Orchestra?
A: Where I come from weddings and funerals are still the two most important events in one's life, both on a personal and sociological level, and the music that accompanies them is played by same musicians. At funerals they perform the music that the departed person liked to hear during his life. That is where I as a composer come from.
Q: You were here in Australia in 2008, what were your highlights from that tour and what are you looking forward to this time?
A: Your country is very special for me - firstly because my tours in Australia never last long enough to get used to the different constellations in the skies above and there is always a sense of something not being quite right. Also because there are so many ex-pats from the Balkans where my music is very well known and it's strange to be so far away and yet play to an audience that feels more like home than in Scandinavia or Belgium...
Q: Will you be playing all new music in this show, or will there be any songs people might remember from your last tour of Australia?
A: They will remember plenty as we will be playing a mix of old well-known material and also less known pieces from my new album Champagne for Gypsies.
Q: What do you think of shows like Big Fat Gypsy Wedding which have been showing on TV screens around the world?
A: I haven't had a chance to watch any of it but I think that it's good that the travelling people get attention (gypsy culture is IN at the moment). However, all is not rosy (never was) for gypsies and my new album Champagne for Gypsies is a reaction to the extreme pressure that gypsies (Roma) have been experiencing lately across Europe (expelled from France, Italy, houses burned in Hungary). It seems unfair to cover real problems with invented problems - gypsies are not a problem of this world, they are talent of this world. Everyone is impressed by gypsies who left a trace in popular culture around the world - be they unknown gypsy on your street corner, or be they people called Charlie Chaplin, Mother Teresa, Elvis Presley or Django Reinhardt.
Goran Bregovic and his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra play QPAC's Concert Hall on March 14 at 8pm.
Tickets start from $45. To book go to www.qpac.com.au or ring 136 246.