|6:30PM||Four live brass bands! Zlatne Uste, Slavic Soul Party!, Inspector Gadje and Raya Brass Band--create the experience of being enveloped in the frenetic energy of competing bands.|
ground level, along the water between West Street and the Hudson River
220 Vesey Street, New York City, NY, 10080
A, C to Chambers Street; E to World Trade Center, 2, 3 to Park Place
A testament to the glorious power of music to bring people together, Rooftop takes you straight to the heart of Balkan music with this kinetic documentary and our own brass music festival accompanying the film.
Presented by Rooftop Films and Arts Brookfield
Brasslands (Meerkat Media Collective | Brooklyn, NY | 86 min.)
They say that when the festival begins, time stands still, as once a year half a million brass fanatics descend upon the sleepy valley town of Guča, Serbia for the world’s largest trumpet festival. Brasslands follows a group of musicians from New York who’ve been playing together for over thirty years, as they make the pilgrimage to Guča to compete in the spiritual home of Balkan music.
Brought together by a mutual passion for traditional Balkan music, Zlatne Uste—an intentionally questionable rendering of Golden Lips— were the first non-Serbian band to play in Guča, in 1987. A lot has changed since then, both in the lives of the musicians, as well as in terms of the relationship between the USA and Serbia, but the frantic, gutsy spirit of the music has always provided a common bond. While the band has always taken the folkloric traditions of the music seriously, the film approaches the issue of cultural appropriation with a rare sense of clarity, delicately intimating the role of music in fostering cross cultural understanding.
As the festival commences, Brasslands bears witness to the deeper resonance of the music, as the town of Guča begins to swell with frenetic energy. The festival seems to offer a fleeting moment of togetherness— a utopian space in which differences are suspended and all that matters is the sounds of the trumpets. But just under the surface of beer-fueled revelry, the enduring political and cultural divisions that have plagued the Balkan countries since the dissolution of Yugoslavia continue to simmer. Without judgment or criticism, Brasslands explores the underlying tensions in a country still bearing the scars of a turbulent past. The film scrapes the surface, revealing a fiercely proud nation grappling with its identity and position in today’s world.
To accompany the screening, Rooftop will be hosting our very own brass festival. Even if you’ve never even heard of Balkan music before, get ready to book your trip to Guča, because once the joyous timbre of the trumpets gets inside you, it’s pretty hard to resist!
- Cressida Greening
Zlatne Uste (Golden Lips) is an internationally known group of American-born musicians playing traditional music of the Balkans, primarily representing Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian and Romany (Gypsy) traditions. Four-time invited guest at the Dragachevo Brass Festival in Guča, Serbia, the 12-piece band is among the foremost presenters of traditional Balkan dance music in the United States.
Slavic Soul Party!
Throbbing funk grooves, fiery Balkan brass, Gypsy accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops make Slavic Soul Party! NYC’s official #1 brass band for BalkanSoul GypsyFunk. SSP! has created an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds with North American music, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz, and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods seamlessly into a Balkan brass setting. SSP!’s music has won the ear of fans and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic, and their tunes have been learned by Serbian brass stars Boban Markovic Orkestar and New Orleans funk sensation Galactic, among others. In addition to touring throughout the US and Europe, SSP! holds down a residency every Tuesday in Brooklyn which has become a destination for music fans from around the world. One of the hardest working bands in New York, SSP! plays nearly 100 times a year in North America, Europe, Africa and beyond. They have performed at Babylon (Istanbul) with the Karandila Orkestar, at Irving Plaza (New York City) with Gogol Bordello, on the Warped Tour (US), in Carnegie Hall, in Sing Sing prison, and in virtually every major New York club. The band's fifth cd "Taketron" is on the Barbes Records label, available to the world September 22, 2009 through Allegro Music distributors..
With up to 15 musicians (12 horns and 3 percussionists), San Francisco-based Inspector Gadje brings a big sound to the beautiful and bumpin’ brass band music of the Balkans of south-eastern Europe. Hearing Inspector Gadje is love at first listen. The driving, tight groove of low brass and drums with soaring melodies from trumpets, saxophones, and clarinet incite joy and dance from the very first downbeat. Inspector Gadje ignites the dance floor and makes the party wherever they play, be it clubs (including notable venues such as the Independent, Fox Theater, Ashkenaz, Café du Nord, New Parish, Rickshaw Stop, and Yoshi’s) weddings, parties, and street festivals.
Raya Brass Band
Raya Brass Band does it on the dance floor, mashing up the music of Eastern Europe with American dance grooves. Featuring odd meters, unusual scales and a fine helping of gorgeous Balkan and Romany (Gypsy) melodies played on reeds, trumpet, accordion, tuba and drums, Brooklyn favorites Raya Brass Band brings you the best in Eastern European wedding music.