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2009 - week 45, from 7 November - Post Wall Eastern Europe

PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:00 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Darko Rundek & Cargo Orchestra - Makedo - La Comedie des Sens - Croatia - Piranha - CD-PIR1894

2 - Kayah i Bregovic - Spij Kochanie Spij - Kayah y Bregovic - Poland & Bosina/Serbia - Zic Zac/BMG - 74321

3 - Brina - Poljanska balada - Pasja Legenda - Slovenia - DruGod - DR 55233

4 - Ljiljana Buttler - Otkaka Sam Tudja Zena - The Mother of Gypsy Soul - Macedonia - Snail - CC 50010

5 - Ersatz Muzika - Wild Grass - Songs Unrecantable - Russia/Germany - Asphalt Tango - CD-ATR 2209

6 - Felix Lajko - Látvány (Spectacle) - Remény - Hungary - A Productions - CDA 004

What happened to the music of Eastern Europe after the Berlin Wall came down? It became very interesting and attractive, as this programme tries to demonstrate.

Darko Rundek

I knew nothing about Darko Rundek’s previous incarnation as a Croatian rock singer when the album La Comedie des Sens arrived. No sign of rock here, but jazz, reggae and maybe a touch of cabaret make their mark. Sometime after I played a track once or twice, came an email message from the music maker himself, who explained that he lived in Paris now. I wondered what chance there might be for him to take Eurostar to London and be a guest on my Radio London show. Can I bring my violinist Isabel, he asked. Of course, I said, and was thoroughly charmed by the friendly, extravagantly dressed woman who looked to be in her mid fifties and was reported to have played with Nina Simone. Belatedly paying proper attention to the sleeve note, I saw Darko’s thanks to the ‘transsexual samurai’. Mystery unravelled, she was a he, or had at some previous time been a he. But she was now a she, and played violin beautifully. Surely worth tearing down a wall for.

Goran Bregovic [photo: Nigel Dickinson]

Goran Bregovic has been mentioned in dispatches before, the son of Bosnian and Serb parents and also formerly a rock star in his youth. After becoming visible through his work as a film score composer, Goran collaborated with singers from several countries including Turkey and Greece, often reworking the same melodies with new lyrics to suit the applicable nationality. Possibly the best of all these partnerships was the album with the Polish singer Kayah, who dresses in extravagant pop mode but has an exceptional voice.


Brina from Slovenia sounds like the first line of a short story, but the singer and her band have lasted long enough to made several albums of which Pasja Legenda attracted and held my attention. Their repertoire includes some lyrics unearthed in a library of traditional Slovenian songs, but I prefer the song written by Brina’s mother, ‘Poljanska balada’.

Ljiljana Buttler

Among all the Balkan states which claimed independence after the break-up of Yugoslavia, Macedonia has turned out to be one of the most fertile in terms of orchestras and singers, with Ljiljana Buttler becoming a major figure throughout the region. Interesting, musical tastes are not subject to political borders, as Eurovision voters have proved time and again. Small chance of Ljiljana being involved in sich frivolity, this is a serious singer.

Only as I listened more carefully did I begin to realise that more than one song on the second album from Ersatz Muzika is in fractured English, with newly invented phrases strung in eccentric order. Based in Berlin, the group comprises musicians from the former Soviet Union, including a vocalist from Ukraine.

Felix Lajko

Finally, Felix Lajko, the violinist with connections to both Hungary and Serbia, who records in much the same way as the late guitarist Les Paul used to do, layering several parallel parts in order to sound like an entire band or orchestra. Whiz kid does not begin to describe him.


PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:09 pm
by Charlie
email from:

1. Cecilia Tabak, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dear Charlie,

As an avid listener to your World of Music, I heard you announce Ljiljana Buttler as a singer from Macedonia. Actually, she hails from Bosnia, which she fled when the polital mood turned nasty. Her moving story is in the sleeve notes of The Mother of Gypsy Soul, written by producer Dragi Sestic, who rediscovered her impressive voice when she was living in Germany, working as a cleaning lady and a factory worker.

Maybe you can put this error right when you play another of her songs.

Cecilia Tabak

CG reply: indeed I will, Cecilia, thanks for pointing out yet another embarrassing error.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:08 pm
by liz molony
At last player & speaker are wired up to hear your Sat show Charlie.

Been listening fascinated to interviews with East Berliners on radio. But not all about music.. To hear this Post Wall music now is fabulous
I did hear a West Berlin jazz player say they used to cross over to East Berlin on a visa to meet up with musicians there but had to be back by midnight; and had to include a ‘foreigner’ as part of their group, plus an every present ‘official’. I expect he fell under the spell of the music.

I very much liked Darko Rundek’s captivating rhythms and that taste of eastern Europe. Hearing Brino again is a treat... [beautiful photo]. I looked forward to Ljiljana Buttler after reading your notes – now hearing her mysteriously mellow voice is lovely - you say how deceptively masculine it is.
Yes, Felix Jajko creates intriguing sounds.... his playing must be great in real sound. [The speakers I’m using are shy.] Violinists can be so excitingly expressive as they play. Have you seen him perform?
Show ends too soon.
Thank you Charlie.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:04 pm
by Charlie
liz molony wrote:Been listening fascinated to interviews with East Berliners on radio. But not all about music..

Yes, Felix Jajko creates intriguing sounds.... his playing must be great in real sound. Have you seen him perform?

Maybe I should have included groups based in Berlin, ErsatzMusika and/or 17 Hippies. But the latter are featured in week 52 so I'll save them till then.

Felix has done two shows, one back in the Radio London days at a Barbican event and much more recently in the studio at Radio 3.

you can find the exact dates by checking the database with the search facility in the top right above


PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 11:23 pm
by liz molony
Thanks - I found a video clip, and enjoyed that.
Altho' translation dodgy there was a good feel to his notes on 'Songs from the Bush'[Forest?]
...picture him under poplars.. inspiration in open forest spaces.