This year's program of Don Branko's Music Days, if observed from the point of view of music genres, is more diverse than ever. In addition to concerts of classical music, the genre frame has not only been extended to jazz, with five concerts, but also rock music of the Bitola Chamber Orchestra, pop and jazz music by Radojka Šverko, Gabi Novak and Tereza Kesovija, and finally – to the worldmusic. In the widest sense, by the last mentioned term can be described the music of Emir Kusturica and the memebers of his No Smoking Orchestra, which was first heard in Kotor as part of the KotorArt program, on Friday night on the Summer Stage.

Emir Kusturica is known worldwide primarily as director and winner of the most important film awards, such as: the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, two Palme d'Ors in Cannes, and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. He began his musical career as a bass guitarist in the famous Yugoslav Zabranjeno Pušenje band, and then in his own ensemble. As well as in Kotor, the impressions of the audience on their concerts from Paris, through Moscow, to Beuenos Aires, New York and Sydney are always positive, and with music and ardor, the band, already at the beginning of the show, raises the audience to their feet.

The musicians performed famous tracks from Kusturica’s film achievements, such as Promise Me This, Life Is a Miracle, Underground, Black Cat, White Cat, as well as the songs from their new compact disc. Namely, the CD has been released in April this year, almost a decade after the previous one. From this album, which is called Corpse Diplomatique, there were performed tracks Comandante, Mila Gora, Scared of Dental Drills, and Cerveza. At the very beginning, the musicians interacted with the audience who participated in the Fuck You MTV song by responding to the part of the chorus lyrics, contained in the song’s title itself. Symbolically, this song explains the attitude of artists who, as the biography of the band says, are anti-globalistically oriented. 

When it comes to the musical style of this ensemble, the worldmusic should be understood as a hybrid genre, which in its basis has Serbian folklore traditions, and not only distant, but very close ones, for the citation corpus that the musicians handle goes from the traditional kolo to tavern-unza unza sound developed over the last decades. In this mix, however, the music of distant cultures finds its place, as well as jazz harmony, improvisation, and also heavier sounds of techno-culture.
The overriding goal of the music event was obviously entertainment, as indicated by the visual impression on the scene – costumes and choreography, and the atmosphere in the audience – singing and dancing on the crowded Summer Stage.

Boris Marković