On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Goran Bregovic – Ederlezi (1988)
“Ederlezi” is a popular traditional folk song of the Romani minority in the Balkans. The song got its name from Ederlezi, which is a Spring festival, celebrating the return of springtime especially by Romani people in the Balkans, and elsewhere around the world. Ederlezi is the Romani name for the Serbian Feast of Saint George.
We’re leaving Australia and making our way back to Europe and to the Balkans region. Goran Bregovic was born in Sarajevo in what was formerly known as Yugoslavia but today is Bosnia and Herzegovina. A renowned musician, songwriter and composer, Bregovic’s career began in the late 1960s and continues to this day. When we join him in 1988 his band, Bijelo Dugme, are close to the end so Bregovic worked on a soundtrack – Time of the Gypsies for Ademir Kenovic’s 1989 film Kuduz. From that record 1001 Songs have gone with the track Ederlezi.
Ederlezi is the Romani name for Feast of Saint George in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia. The song is made up of what sounds like a child singing the main verses with an additional choir coming in to support on the choruses. A full orchestra seems to be in play here with brass audible at times. Lyrically, the song is all about the gathering of families to sing, dance and to celebrate the Ederlezi festival. Bregovic’s role here is as writer and composer and he is well supported by an assortment of talented musicians.
I always tread carefully when making reference to the Balkans as I know it has a very intricate history and neighbouring countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia maintain fragile relationships at times even in the present day. Goran Bregovic keeps things simple and pleasant here with a traditional festival celebration. Now 70 years old, Bregovic doesn’t sound like he is finished quite yet.
Favourite songs so far: