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World on 3, Friday 3 April – Titi Robin & Goran Bregovic

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:06 pm
by Alan
World on 3, Friday 3 April – Titi Robin & Goran Bregovic (Posted on behalf of CG)

Titi Robin in session
Goran Bregovic, playing radio ping pong

Listen again for 7 days via this link

Friday, 3 April 2009

What we wound up with here is a programme that showcases two of Europe’s most fervent fans of gypsy music, the French guitarist Titi Robin with his group, and Goran Bregovic, best known as the score composer for the films of Emil Kusturica, now launching his own solo album. The only pity was, they came in different weeks, so did not meet and therefore did not hear each other’s work.

I don’t think any of us at Radio 3 quite realised what we were letting ourselves in for, with this concept of having one guest to play a session, and somebody else to play the game of swapping tracks (formerly known as Radio Ping Pong). It felt necessary to devise a plan B for the occasions where the session guest did not have a grasp of English good enough for conversation. In practice, from an organisational and time point-of-view, each section of the programme takes up the same amount of time to prepare and record as a complete ‘as live’ recording of the programme would do.

In this case, I made a serious misjudgement, since Titi Robin is obviously completely fluent in English and could certainly have performed the other role too. Next time for that, Titi.

Because the two guests were not available on the same day, putting the final programme together was more like editing a film, inserting the opening and closing scenes with Titi, having already completed the ping pong session with Goran a week earlier.

For me, Titi Robin is one of the great musicians of our time, having been recording regularly since the late 1980s, first under his formal name, Thierry Robin and now under his nickname, Titi. Initially a guitarist, he has grasped both the subtleties of the Middle Eastern oud and the intricacies of the Greek Bazouki, which he tunes and plays in the Syrian manner. Early albums featured his Indian wife as vocalist, and now their daughter Maria is the vocal focus, writing songs in a mixture of French and Romany.

Titi’s latest album Kali Sultana is that suspect beast, a concept album, dedicated to the search for, and celebration of, the ideal female companion. Intending to write a suite of compositions on this theme, Titi found he had overrun the capacity of a single CD and prevailed on his compliant record company, Naïve, to make it a double. I confess that my mind wandered on the first (all instrumental) album, but was more engaged by the second, where Maria and her songs come to the fore. In France, the live stage production involves a large ensemble with a slide show, but so far no UK venue has been brave enough to take it on.

Before playing his second set of songs, Titi outlined his plan for the next album, for which he will travel to Turkey, Morocco and India to record with local musicians in locally-owned studios manned by local engineers. Convinced that the music should be available locally too, he has arranged for local record labels to release the album, at their normal low prices. As he says, the usual process is for a European to snatch a talented musician and use them in much the same way that we consume petrol or other natural resources. The musician is happy to be earning European rates, but while he benefits individually, there is no reward for anybody else. Titi wants to turn this around and help local shoots to flourish. This is a brilliant solution to the recurring problem faced by musicians and listeners from outside Europe, who normally cannot reach each other directly. The price of a European CD is too high for most countries outside Europe, and the low cost of CDs elsewhere threatens competition from imported copies. Bravely, Naïve have decided to meet the challenge. How great it will be if other major world music labels such as World Circuit and World Village can follow suit.

In between the performances by Titi with his daughter Maria on vocals, Francis Varis on accordion and Max Tran on percussion, you will hear the hour-long ping pong session with Goran Bregovic. So many discoveries and revelations emerge during the conversation; I won’t give the game away here. The story of his own life is remarkable, but I am also fascinated by his comments on the Rembetika music of northern Greece - the real Balkan music, as he puts it.




Titi Robin and Goran Bregovic
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Chango Spasiuk - Tierra Colorada - Pynandí - Argentina - World Village - 468083

2 - Cedric Watson & Corey Ledet - Colinda - Goin' Down to Louisiana - USA - Valcour - VAL CD 0001

In Session (1) Titi Robin, Bazouk & Oud; Maria Robin, Vocal; Francis Varis, accordion; Alex Tran, percussion

3 - Titi Robin - Appel - In Session - France - Naïve

4 - Titi Robin - Khûda Teri Kasan - In Session - France - Naïve

5 - Titi Robin - Petite Mère Sultanne - In Session - France - Naïve

- Radio Ping Pong with Goran Bregovic (selections marked*)

6 - Goran Bregovic - On the Back-Seat of My Car - Alkohol - Bosnia - Mercury/Wrasse - 531 509-1

*7 - Ry Cooder - Woman Will Lead The World - Get Rhythm - USA - Warner - 925 639 -2

8 - Goran Bregovic - Ederlezi - Time of the Gypsies - Macedonia - Kamarad - 842 764-2

*9 - Shantel - Bucovina - Gypsy Beats and Balkan Bangers - Germany/Romania - Atlantic Jaxx - JaxxCD004

10 - Imam Baildi - O Pasatebos - Imam Baildi - Greece - Capitol - 5.09992E+12

*11 - Mahala Räi Banda - Mahalageasca (Bucovina Dub) - Gypsy Beats and Balkan Bangers - Romania - Atlantic Jaxx - JaxxCD004

12 - Goran Bregovic - Truckers' Song - Alkohol - Bosnia - Mercury/Wrasse - 531 509-1

13 - C W Stoneking's King Hokum - Don't Go Dancin' Down The Darktown Strutter's Ball - C W Stoneking's King Hokum - Australia - Voodoo Rhythms - VRCD38

*14 - Balkan Beat Box - Bulgarian Chicks - Balkan Beat Box - Israel / USA - Essay - AY CD 08

*15 - Calexico - El Gatillo - Carried to Dust - USA - City Slang - SLANG1051258

16 - Goran Bregovic - Gas Gas Gas (Shantel vs Bregovic) - Alkohol - Bosnia - Mercury/Wrasse - 531 509-1
- - - - - -
In Session (2)

17 - Titi Robin - Rovave - In Session - France -

18 - Titi Robin - L'Exil - In Session - France -
19 - Beto Villares - Nó Dend'água - Beto Villares - Brazil - Six Degrees - 657036 1152-2

20 - RadioKijada - Lima-Paris - Nuevos Sonidos - Peru/Swittzerland - Wrasse - WRASS 223

World on 3 is broadcast at 11.15 Friday evenings on BBC Radio 3

Goran Bregovic
Titi Robin

Next week, our guests are RadioKijada, the duo whose new album successfully brings authentic, acoustic Peruvian music into the world’s dance clubs. That show will start 15 minutes later at 11.30 pm.

Both of them can be found on iPlayer for seven days after the applicable broadcast.

THE TIMES Friday April 3 2009
Radio Choice by Chris Campling

World on 3 Radio 3, 11.15pm

If you can tune into Charlie Gillett's World Music show without finding at least one piece that sends you charging off in a new direction, then you're just not trying. Tonight Gillett and the Balkan singer and guitarist Goran Bregovic swap favourite tracks - Gillett's from Bregovic's oeuvre, and Bregovic from everyone else's. His group is called the Wedding And Funeral Band and his latest album is called Alkohol, although much of his own music leans towards the wedding end of the emotional spectrum. But the eureka moment of the show comes with a song from a man Gillett describes as coming "from Australia but, in his head, from 1928". C.W.Stoneking plays lugubrious banjo and sings in a voice straight from the grave of Robert Johnson. This year's Seasick Steve, no question.



Correction re Goran Bregovic

Email from Bogomir Mijatovic:
Thank you so much for your e-mails you have been sending to me. I am very happy about Goran Bregovic. If you need some of his albums, please e-mail me and I will say him to bring it for you. We are very good friends from the beginning of his rock career - since 1975!
In your set list you made one big address: Goran's country is not Bosnia! Since a beginning of nineties he lives in Belgrade. The music he has been playing since that time has roots from the south and the central Serbia. His father was Croat, his mother was Serbian. Unfortunately both of them passed away. He was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia but he is not Bosnian.

I hope you will not be angry about this.

Greetings from Novi Sad, Serbia.


Women will rule the World

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:45 pm
by richardh
Raymond Quevedo was the real name of calypsonian Atilla The Hun; he also wrote "FDR in Trinidad", which Ry Cooder recorded on Into The Purple Valley. His own performance of "Women" is included on a Rounder CD, Fall of Man; Calypsos on The Human Condition.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:13 pm
by garth cartwright
Good to hear Titi play so well! Bregovic - he is the nemesis of a musician like Titi, a total hack. His rock band that he mentioned - White Button - were a rotten prog rock act that stole their hits from US songs (everything from Eddie Cochran to Van Halen got borrowed, sung in Serbian and credited to Goran) and he has continued to do that across his career. Even the Alcohol CD finds him recycling old numbers as new. His best known soundtrack material was all written by the likes of Esma Redzepova and Saban Bajramovic with no credit given - the Gypsies resent him immensely for this. Notably that when it came to playing music he didn't play one Gypsy or Balkan folk act; instead stuck to Shantel and Balkan fuckin Beat Box. I guess he feels kinship with those hacks! A few tougher questions next time please, Charlie.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:24 pm
by Philip Ryalls
I remember Nigel Kennedy saying something similar when he was a guest at the time of the East Meets East CD. They had to get permission from Bregovic to include Ederlezi and give him the credit.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:30 pm
by Con Murphy
I tend to forget who are the good guys and who are the bad guys when it comes to Romauthenticity, but I have to confess that Alkohol is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, especially as it's reminiscent of 17 Hippies' first couple of live albums. I thought that the presence of Trad/Arr and suchlike on the songwriting credits meant that Bregovic had put the authorship white lies behind him. It's sad to read that might not be the case.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:43 pm
by Alan
Here's another lovely version of Rovave performed by Titi & Maria Robin ... vave_music

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:03 am
by Gordon Neill
Not my favourite show, but that's possibly because I'm already familiar with so many of the tracks that were played. It did feel like a missed opportunity not to have Titi Robin play The Bit Formerly Known As Radio Ping Pong. I think his choices would have been fascinating.

THE stand-out track, for me, was Imam Baldi's 'O Pasatebos'. It sounded an utterly perfect blend of old soulful singing and inventive modern sounds. It's not easy to get the album, so I'll have to make do with hearing the occasional track on the radio. I've ordered a copy from Trehantriri Music, but it's currently out of stock. Perhaps you've provoked an outbreak of Rembetika fever?