No Strings Attached
Naat Veliov - truba and direction
Vinko Stefanov - accordion
Erol Asimov - saxophone, clarinet
Ismail Ismailov - drum (tapan), darabuka
Violeta Filipova - voice
Orhan Veliov - tuba
Mendu Saliev - bariton
Dalkran Asmetov - bariton
Sadedin Durmisov - bariton
Estan Amedov - golem
Solo Tapan - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Srpshko Oro - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Romski Chochek - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Tarabuka Solo - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Kerta Mangae Dae - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Trepaza - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Nejatov Chochek - Composed by Naat Veliov
Nic can Bagna - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Ciganski Chochek - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
Bulgarska Oro - Trad. Arr. by Naat Veliov
A certain genius particular to Gypsy musicians and the Rom people has
allowed them to adopt and transform the indigenous music of the regions
they traverse, thus facilitating the integration and evolution of musical
styles and songs specific to various cultures and ethnic groups.
Destined to their role as professional musicians as a secondary result of
their social status, the Rom people have often been the exclusive source
of traditional music, as well as faithful mirror to the culture of the
country they inhabit, across the ages. But at the same time, thanks to
their travels, they have developed the capacity to mix a multitude of
sources and transform them into a style that is uniquely their own.
Contrary to the preconceived notion that Gypsies are gifted with a
capacity for imitation, they have always forged a music with their own
very distinct character, even though they have continually been forced to
deal with the necessity of adapting to local demand. With the Rom
people, playing music has always been synonymous with creating it.
This observation is particularly relevant when it comes to Naat Veliov,
trumpet player and leader (kapelnik in the Rom language) of his
brass band, the Kochani Orkestra, which, with his lead, presents
extremely original arrangements.
In the Balkans region, brass band orchestras have a particularly Rom
style. From western Serbia to Macedonia these orchestras demonstrate
remarkable creativity in their transformation of the original, static
style of traditional brass bands. These brass bands were created in the
19th century in imitation of the Turkish military bands which replaced
the Mehterhane formations of Janissary Turks beginning in 1828.
Apparently, as in Turkey, they dethroned the ancient traditional oboe
(zurna, zurla, or mizmar) and double-membraned drum ensembles. Today
these ensembles that had formerly been imported from Turkey and played by
the Roms, are dying out, in part because of modernity, but also because
of the growing Macedonian and Serbian nationalism.
In Kochani, a city in the Republic of Macedonia, the Rom brass band music
is called Romska Orientalna Muzika. Naat Veliov's band is made up
of a trumpet (trompeta), a cornet (kornet), and a saxophone (saksafon),
which alternates with a clarinette (klarinet), 3 baritones, a tuba, and
accordion (armonika), and a large drum (tapan), which itself alternates
with a darabuka.
From Albania to Turkey, Greece to Bulgaria, the Balkans region represents
a multitude of forms of expression with extremely diverse ethnic
origins. Nevertheless, a certain musical tendency which reflects the
ancient Ottoman occupation remains at the heart of this complex rural and
pastoral mosaic. The Oriental aspect of Balkan music seems to be
maintained particularly by the Gypsys who moved out from Turkey starting
immediately after the Ottoman occupation in the 14th century. There is
also the factor of the Gypsy's own Oriental heritage in their Indian
roots which plays an important role in their musical style.
In Macedonia, all of the Roms are Muslims. They play for the Gadjes -
the non-Gypsy people - as much as they play for themselves. They have
absorbed and incorporated a multitude of styles which they juggle
endlessly. Within their brass bands they have preserved the ancient
Oriental notion of melody and content that evolved from the circular,
continous breathing technique of oboe players.
Slow introductions and improvisations without rhythm are called
taksim in Turkish or trepaza in Macedonian. They are
considered to be evocations of a grand meal, where one savours all of the
The romantic themes also have several different names and associations.
In Turkish they are called gazel, which stems from ghazal
in Arabic, where the notion of a woman's beauty was compared to the
gazelle of the desert. In Macedonian and Serbian the words are
sevdak and sevdalinka, which have their roots in the
Turkish sevda, which means passion or love. The extremely
embellished and Oriental Sevdasin the urban context have conserved the
second rise of Oriental music. The styles are constantly mixing, whether
they be Turska (Turkish), Romska (Rom), Bulgarska (Bulgarian), Romanska
(Romanian), or Srpska (Serbian). Above and beyond regional influences,
the Oriental inspiration of the Roms can be traced back to their otiginal
roots, and often melodies imported from Indian cinema are completely
integrated into the Rom repertory.
Most of the instruments base their rhythm on those of traditional
dances. The name Chochek indicates the oriental gypsy dance for
women, while Horo indicates the collective circular dance of men.
Here again, the rhythmic patterns were gleaned with a taste for ancient
and modern inspiration included the Rumba.
Going even farther in this tradition, the leader of the Kochani Orkestra
has succeeded in integrating original pieces into the traditional
repertory of the band. They have introduced a certain modernity while
avoiding the trap of a "Jazzification" of their Balkan music, which
through its Rom musitians remains resolutely Oriental.
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