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Hot String Band Music from the Balkans to America: 1910-1950


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CD Booklet Cover: Early San Francisco, CA Tamburitza group. Photo courtesy of John Daley

Arhoolie 7051-52
An extensive two CD collection of hot Balkan string band music as it traveled from its origins to the USA, where most of these 78s were recorded, between 1910 and 1950. This unique string band music features amazing virtuoso playing by the top musicians who defined the genre. With a 40 page booklet containing detailed notes.

“Tamburitza! Is a welcome addition to Arhoolie’s extensive historical recordings catalogue of European immigrant music in North America…the sound quality extracted from these old recordings, some from the 1920s, is uniformly good…Every selection deserves such attention – to performers, repertoire, and musical style.”

- Mark Forry, Yearbook for Traditional Music

Tamburitza is a double album collecting a huge number of recordings from the 78 archives of Eastern European music in America. The majority of the recordings were made by groups after having come to America, and there is a bit of a focus in the song selection on the interplay between cultures that came about as a result. The recording quality leaves plenty to be desired in most cases, as would be expected of recordings from 1910 and forward. However, the music is reliably well made. The focus is largely on more improvisatory pieces, more jumping band music, and more rural vocal styles. It seems that some of the more somber forms within the genre are excluded to some degree in favor of making the album a bit more exciting to those who don't speak the language. The tamburitza ensembles are all built around a core of stringed instruments (the tamburitza) based itself on the saz, baglama, tambur, and such from the Middle East and developed over the decades both in Eastern Europe and in America with the immigrant communities. There's quite a bit of music here, with some very nice performances sprinkled throughout. The music has a frenetic pace to it for the most part, reminiscent of the clipped style of much instrumental music accompanying silent music. However, there's a definite ethnic bent to the sound here, making the old recordings live again as historical artifacts if not as particularly exciting contemporary music. As an added bonus, a fine reworking of Lionel Hampton's "Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop" is included from an attempt at coalescing the cultural styles of the day.

Adam Greenberg, Rovi

2 CDs - [2007] Available From: Arhoolie Records

113:02Kockare - MangupeGambler - Good for NothingDušan Jovanović & His Tamburitza Orchestra "Orao"1925 
123:07Dremala, SpavalaShe Dozed, She SleptStaich Adamov & Company1928 
133:22Čuješ MalaListen, Little GirlVerni's Troubadours Tamburica Orchestra1931 
143:00Čiri Miri Čica Tamburitza Orchestra1926 
153:18Mičika PolkaInstrumentalVerni's Troubadours Tamburica Orchestra1931 
163:18Očemo Braćo Da IdemoBrothers, Do We Want to Go?Dušan Jovanović & His Tamburitza Orchestra "Orao"1925 
173:05Ženidba MesecaWedding of the MoonStaich Adamov & Company1928 
183:16Djipaj DjevojkoInstrumentalDušan Jovanović & His Tamburitza Orchestra "Orao"1925 
193:17U Osijeku ĆuprijaThe Bridge in OsijekKuharčev Mješoviti Zbor1928 
1103:07Moj Se Dragi Na Put SpremaMy Darling Prepares to TravelMihály Huszár
Tamburitza Orchestra
1112:58Mladi DoktoreYoung DoctorTamburaski Zbor "Jorgovan"1926 
1122:56Pred Tvojom SamI Stand in Front of Your HomeTamburitza Orchestra
1132:53U Marice Beo VratMary Has a Fair NeckMišković Tamburitza Orchestra1931 
1143:05Kraj VardaraBeside the Vardar RiverPaja B. Santic1925 
1153:15S Ulice U BašticeThe Garden Alongside the StreetJoca Mimikaca. 1909 
1163:21Ide Lola Vija Ga PatrolaMy Love Is Coming with His FriendsJoca Mimikaca. 1909 
1173:12Vino Piju LaneThey Are Drinking Wine, My DearJoca Mimikaca. 1909 
1183:12Majika Me PsujeMother Is Scolding MeJoca Mimikaca. 1909 
1192:55Arapso KukunješćeFolk Dance (Instrumental)Tamburica Orchestraearly 1920s 
1203:15Ej Meni Kažu Da Sam Prava LolaHey, They Say I Am a First Class DudeJovan Radivojićca. 1910 
1212:49Constantinople MarchInstrumentalRoyal Serbian Tamburitza Orchestra1918 
1223:08Kukuruzi Već Se BeruCorn Is Being Harvested AlreadyJoca Mimika
Tamburitza Orchestra Lire
ca. 1909 
1233:06Jeftanovićevo KoloFolk Dance (Instrumental)Tamburitza Orchestra1918 
1242:59Kolika Je Javorina PlaninaOh, How High Is the Javorina Mountain!Sofka
Gypsy Orchestra of the Hungarian Radio
early 1930s 
212:59Bačko KoloInstrumentalIvan Goran Kovačić Ensemble1932 
223:09Uranila Lepa StanaPretty Stana Got Up EarlyAneta Stojanović
Vlado Konstantinović
232:55Koračnica Južnih SlavenaInstrumentalIvan Goran Kovačić Ensemble1932 
242:52Sedam Sati BijeThe Clock Strikes SevenMilan Verni Tamburitza Orchestra1931 
253:08Javor KoloFolk Dance (Instrumental)Tamburitza Orchestra1937 
263:20Kosovo WaltzInstrumentalKuharčev Mješoviti Zbor1928 
272:40Haj Vinca, Vinca CaHey, Wine, Dear Wine!Skertich Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra1940s 
283:09Na ZdencuAt the WellKuharčev Mješoviti Zbor1928 
292:44Sve Za Tvoju LjubavEverything for Your LoveSkertich Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra1940 
2102:36Udova Sam MladaI Am a Young WidowSkertich Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra1940 
2112:43La Paloma (Kad Vecernje Sunce)The DoveBalkan Tamburitza Orchestra1940s 
2122:58Erdeljanka - KoloInstrumentalBalkan Tamburitza Orchestra1950 
2132:23Ponoć Kad DodjeAt MidnightKapugi Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra1942 
2142:31Hey Tambu-Re-Bop Dave Zupkovich Orchestra1950Balkan 531
2152:56Sarajevka - KoloInstrumentalEdo Lubich Tamburitza Orchestra1940s 
2162:35Oj Marička PeglajOh Mary, Keep IroningBalkan Tamburitza Orchestraca. 1948Balkan 513
2172:56Kraljevo KoloInstrumentalDave Zupkovichca. 1950Balkan 521A
2182:51Mene Majka DajeMother Wants to Marry Me OffTamburitza Orchestraca. 1950Zora 115A
2192:40Otvori Mi Mili Pile VrataOpen the Door for Me, DearPopovich Brothersca. 1951Balkan 540
2202:42Vranjanka - KoloInstrumentalMilan Verni Tamburitza Orchestra1940s 
2212:48Seljančica - KoloInstrumentalMilan Verni Tamburitza Orchestra1940s 
2222:51Tamburaska PotpuraInstrumentalDave Zupkovich
Dick VanSice
Julius Peskan
Peter Vlajkovich
Joe Matačić
early 1950sBalkan 557
2232:36Worker's Greeting - MarchInstrumentalDuquesne University Tamburitzans1949Corona 500A
2243:08Malo KoloInstrumentalTamburitza Orchestra
John Halik
ca. 1945Zora 107A

Updated 1/19/2011

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