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People are Talking: UMS Presents Goran Bregovic and his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra at Hill Auditorium

Posted: 10/15/11 -- 12:00 am

43

avatar by Michael Kondziolka

Tell us what you thought! This is the place to comment on the performance and talk to other people about what you saw and heard.  Don’t forget to click the option to be notified when new comments are posted.

Michael is the Director of Programming at UMS.

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  • avatar

    Bunch of synthesized noise, Mr. Bregović egoistically and unnecessarily conducting, without depth in any aspect. It worked in La reine Margot; it certainly did not work in Hill Auditorium. I could not even stand the first half hour.

    Reply
    • avatar

      Pretty accurate comments.

      Rhythmically boring, uninteresting melodies, very high volume-not a pleasant experience.

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    • avatar

      After starting 15 minutes late as usual for UMS events — the cacophony became quickly unbearable. Shame on the Hill Auditorium organizers — you have a fine concert hall with wonderful accoustics and the music was so incredibly OVERAMPLIFIED that the decible level was unhealthy and unbearable (the amplification would have been too loud for an outdoor concert let alone an indoor concert in Hill). I liked some of the music but the amplification level made it unbearable and I had to flee after 1 hour. I get around 50 UMS tickets each season, but I will avoid getting any non-classical tickets to any Hill Auditorium events in the future.

      Reply
      • Hi Doug–
        To briefly respond to your complaint about starting the show late–I just wanted to offer a sincere apology! UMS always tries to start on time, and at the very least, no later than 5 minutes after our published start time. However, as you mention, there are times where we are unable to do so, and usually due to issues outside of our control, whether they are artist- or patron-related. There were some last-minute miscommunications going on backstage Saturday evening that pushed us back 15 minutes–I’m sorry for the frustration.
        And in the future, for anyone who experiences discomfort with the volume of a performance, our ushers are always prepared with earplugs at amplified concerts. Please feel free to ask an usher for some when you arrive or during the show.
        Liz Stover, UMS Programming Coordinator

        Reply
      • Further to Liz’ comment, I will offer an additional point of fact: UMS has had two instances this season of concerts starting later than five minutes past their published times — the Goran Bergovic concert discussed in this forum and the Emerson String Quartet concert due to an unfortunate seating difficulty with the new seat numbering system in the Rackham Auditorium. All other UMS performances this season have started no later than five minutes past the hour. This is our stated goal and I am happy to report that we achieve it most of the time.

        Being a loyal audience member traveling all the way from Bowling Green, OH, I am sensitive to your commitment of time in getting her, and we will do our best to keep up our side of the bargain.

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      • avatar

        Oh jeez, you need to stay home and watch tv.
        This was an incredible show.

        Reply
    • avatar

      This comment was deleted due to non-compliance with umsLobby participation guidelines.

      Reply
  • avatar

    I loved it! That is the happiest music has made me in a long, long time.

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  • avatar

    Fabulous fun! Only wish we could attend the after-party… Enjoyed the evening and the music tremendously.

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  • avatar

    Fantastic, though at times a bit loud! Loved the atmosphere & cheerfulness. Thank you UMS.

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  • avatar

    Fun! High tailed over to Sava’s and got the CD and his studio work very nice. They announced the CD give away from stage in two languages for those fussy people who did not think to bring ear plugs. Did you ever think that Europe has computers and electric guitars now…

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    • avatar

      earplugs to a concert??!! never occurs to me. seems like an absurdity.
      however, it was too loud, and boring; volume does not make up for inventiveness, banging does not make up for rhythm. i was not impressed, and thought myself heroic for staying for almost an hour.

      Reply
  • Hi all!
    Here is tonight’s setlist, as given to me by the manager! Hope you enjoyed the show.

    Lullaby
    Balkaneros
    St. Bartholomew Night
    Dreams
    Natura
    So Novo ssi
    Presidente
    Bijav
    Bajuski
    Kvariigro
    Aven Ivenda
    Maki, Maki
    Ausencia
    Back-seat of my car
    Cirbirbela
    Gas-Gas-Gas
    Twist
    Truck-driver’s song
    Death
    Ederlezi
    Mesecina
    In the Death Car
    —-
    Jeremija
    Opa Cupa
    Bulgarian traditional
    Caje Sukarije
    Bella Ciao
    (No Name)
    Kalasnikov
    Belly-Button of the World

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  • avatar

    This was pure joy! Thanks UMS! But where was Ogi?

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  • avatar

    This was a lot of fun and the audience participation really was off the charts. The band really seemed to be having fun and did not seem to want the evening to end – very unusual for UMS performances where many performers dial it in knowing that AA audiences are grateful for their appearances.

    The sound mixing wasn’t great (too loud and muddy). I would also have preferred a little less computer generated sound.

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  • avatar

    I knew I was in for a interesting and unusual night, but this exceeded my expectations. Goran Bregovic is a genius! The concert was one of the best I have ever attended. I did feel like I was crashing someone else’s party, however. Everyone was up dancing in the aisles or in their seats, except those in the donor seats. The singers were superb, especially the vocalist who also played the drums. Really, I can’t say enough about the evening. It was wonderful. I also want to thank Dennis Carter, the head usher, who seeing that my leg was in a boot and that I could not walk without a knee scooter, to offer to let me sit in one of the boxes. I was so comfortable which added to the experience.

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  • avatar

    Took us a few minutes to get into it, but loved it. Great energy. Probably the most audience participation I have ever seen at Hill. It would have been nice to have the play list (thanks Liz) and the click tracks were a bit unsettling, but overall a great time.

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  • avatar

    You’ll never see Hill Auditorium as alive as it was last night! The concert was both high energy and extremely poignant at times. It was an experience that you could only get from seeing Goran Bregovic live. A fantastic concert.

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  • avatar

    Thank you UMS! Thank you Michael! Thank you Liz! The concert was out of this world. It meant so much to so many people that I saw yesterday. Bella Ciao was brilliant.

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    • Natasa….thank YOU for everything you did to make this such a special night in Hill Auditorium for so many people. I am only sorry to say that I missed the entire concert due to an event at Cranbrook that I needed to be at. It is fun to know that that many — but not all ! — had such a great experience.

      Reply
  • avatar

    we were smiling throughout the entire thing, what fun! I loved it! Noticed that I was hearing instruments that weren’t on stage but thought, well, I’m still having fun! I loved the mixture of styles, the women singers were outstanding! loved the male chorus although their director “over” directed in an odd way. The melodies, a mixture of Balkan (including that Turkish influence!), and modern was interesting and different. Loved the Serbian flag flying in the audience, the enthusiastic young people dancing in the aisles. I’d love a repeat performance next year. I’m Romanian American so I knew exactly what a wedding and funeral orchestra was all about. My husband had to idea, but came away loving it!

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  • avatar

    As always a very energetic and exciting performance by Mr. Bregovic and his orchestra. I am from Bulgaria so hearing my native folk music being performed at stage (the two Bulgarian singers sang one song) almost brought me to tears.

    I understand that for some people the music was too loud, but this is how you play Balkan music, it is not supposed to be enjoyed quietly…

    Thank you, UMS!

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  • avatar

    I so agree with the one commentor ie this is probaby the most energy and audience participation seen at any Hill Auditorium concert ever. For those that objected to any “musical anomalies”, know that this was meant to be pure fun……..and believe me, it was fun! AND a lot better than sleeping through a “perfectly played” classical piece. :) Thanks to all for providing this entertainment to our area and a special thanks to Mr. Bregovic and his amazing group for an evening that still makes me smile.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Earpugs: They are an evil of the modern world. I agree with our classical brethren that the thought of having to block sound coming into our ears is crazy…But I carry earplugs. I think a nice audiologist from U of M should chime in next and tell us why we will all be wearing hearing aids pretty soon if we don’t cool it with the volume. In the case of the Weddings and Funeral Orchestra…well, I said in an earlier post that I got the CD free at SAVA’s and it is marvelous and subtle and sounds great at a civil volume in the living room. The messiness of the live performance was ideal for Saturday night. I hate to sound like the judges on Dancing with the Stars but the audience was fantastic!

    Reply
  • avatar

    I think it was a fabulous night! I did not have such a good time in a while. I think that the people who criticized the concert did not do their homework before. This is what you should expect from a Goran Bregovic concert. If you don’t like him, don’t waste your money! It is so Easter European and to say that this music was boring is an ofense to our folk music. For people like me, who are so far from home, this was such a nice reminder that no matter how many years I have spent overseas, I am still an Easter European at heart.
    Love it, love it, love it!!!

    Reply
  • avatar

    I thought it was absolutely wonderful! We knew we were going to be in for something different — but wow! What a difference! The blend of styles and musical textures was very interesting. And seeing the crowd dancing in the aisles and singing along was delightful. And I doubt that I will ever see another concert at Hill where a woman will rush the stage! We loved it. Yes, it was loud; yes, there were click tracks; but overall, it was a blast. Saturday night’s performance was our third UMS concert within a week. (Yuja Wang, State Symphony Capella, and Bregovic) We thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated all three of them on their own unique terms. Thank you, UMS, for bringing us such a rich variety of events!

    Reply
  • avatar

    The best concert in the Hill Auditorium that I attended. We are there four to five times a year and I have never seen the audience responding to the music in such a fantastic way. It was great to have Bregovic bringing the unique sounds and rhythms from the rich Balkan folk music for a night to our Ann Arbor.

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  • avatar

    It was a very emotional experience! I was born in Slovakia and have Serbian roots so Balkan rhythms are flowing in my blood and made me miss home tremendously. I loved every second of the performance, the energy of the crowd, Croatian flag and even though a part of the orchestra was falling asleep at the beginning, they seemed to be enjoying the crowd in the end as well (unlike the security). Bregovic’s music is fenomenal – temperamental, emotional and not for everyone. An older American couple sat next to me and i was curious to see their reaction. To my surprise, the gentleman stood up pretty early into the show and danced throughout the whole concert. I am just sorry to say that some people came without knowing what Bregovic was about and expected a perfectly synchronized classical concert. that’s just pure insanity.

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  • avatar

    My first exposure to the music of Goran Bregovic was 12 years ago, through Polish and Ukrainian friends. I never imagined I would be lucky enough to see him and his orchestra live in Ann Arbor. I want to thank Natasa, UMS, and everyone who worked so hard to bring him to Hill Auditorium. I had an excellent time dancing with all of the other concert-goers who were enjoying themselves. This is joyous music (for weddings and funerals! and other parties) intended for singing and dancing and participation. I couldn’t imagine sitting though the entire performance.

    It must be extremely difficult, and expensive, to bring such a large band and its brass instruments over from Europe and manage their transport, lodging, and everything else. It’s a necessary sacrifice to have some of the music programmed into the computer. I was disappointed at first as well, but it didn’t take much thought to understand why much of the rhythm and bass tuba were pre-programmed.

    This was my first time at Hill so I’ll take everyone else’s word for it that this was the most alive we’ll ever see it. I hope my next experience at Hill Auditorium comes close; I almost always prefer dancing to music over sitting passively.

    Reply
  • avatar

    I loved it! A complete pleasure. I will look for more UMS events like this to attend in the future. Thank you.

    Reply
  • I loved it. Especially the energy that came through live concert. Very popular Balkan interpreters like Shantel, Goran brings this lively street music to unfamiliar audience with skill. This music is the part of so many people’s daily lives who don’t really care about playbacks and pretend conducting. They just live it.

    I particularly liked the Georgian like vocals coming through the male vocals. I felt finally like I was at a Georgian table music gathering. His Serbian roots shined. The Bulgarian vocals through the women singing is also used by Balkan BeatBox, Shantel, even Tuvans. It was so delicious. And the brass and the clarinet was the touch of the Turkish influence coming through the Bosnian, Albanian filter. And Goran in the middle with his OK guitar playing and playbacks back put it together.

    On top of that please join me admiring the wonderful gypsy voice, that showed the burden/joy which gypsies themselves went through pleasing all these different cultures, gluing them through centuries. His voice had hints of Rajasthan vocals, Punjabi modern sounds from London’s underground, sad twist like the river of the Nile and beaten up sorrow of flamenco dance floors. Which makes me want to see Cigala cconcert coming up so badly.

    I adore Goran a whole lot more now than two days ago. For giving us all a gimps of what brings joy to a little girl dancing in her mom’s kitchen a late afternoon hearing the off-beat rhythm coming through the radio. In fact there was a ten year old blond girl of Ann Arbor dancing in the aisles, channeling her.

    Thank you so much for making such a joyful event a reality.

    Reply
  • avatar

    Thank you UMS! The evening with Bregovic was full of sound and good fun. As someone with ties to the region, it was especially interesting to watch the crowd of locals and folks from the region (I’d say at least a fifth was made up of various Eastern European nationalities) becoming so moved by the music. While I can understand some of the more negative comments posted above from a technical perspective, I would like to call attention to inherent complexity of what Bregovic has created. His ability to weave so many regional and international musical influences into one show, song, or even melody, is astounding. The work was joyous and positive while touching upon very heavy political threads of church, statehood, tradition, and even war. What a fantastic and soulful performance.

    Reply
  • avatar

    This was one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen, totally over-the-top great. Goran is the mix-master genius putting it all together: the gypsy lead vocals and percussion, Bulgarian women singers, gypsy brass band, Orthodox men’s choir, string quartet, each in their own standard performance costume to highlight the meeting of cultures. He took the audience on a multi-cultural journey, and their joy in going on the ride was obvious.

    I was not bothered by the volume, sitting near the stage, nor by the computer tracks. After all, there were 19 amazing musicians on stage. Did it really matter that the one or two more, adding to the rhythm section, were on a track and didn’t require more flights and hotel rooms?

    Goran and the musicians were obviously having a great time and were thrilled by the enthusiasm of the audience. I even noticed the sax player taking photos of US! I don’t live in Ann Arbor, and don’t know about the Serbian/Croat/Roma community in Michigan, or if people came from across a multi-state region to be there, but it was obviously a joyous “gathering of the clan” that I felt honored to witness.

    Reply
  • Thank you Natasa, Ken, Liz, Svjetlana, and all involved in this project to bring Goran Bregovic and the Wedding and Funeral Orchestra to Ann Arbor. This was the most extraordinary event in memory. As someone who, during my youth in the 1980s, played the music of the Balkans at festivals throughout Europe and the Middle East, I have again experienced the power of music to transcend cultural and political boundaries. As I said last week,
    http://www.umslobby.org/index.php/2011/10/my-next-door-neighbor-goran-bregovic-7087
    Goran and his band indeed opened a window and guided us into the everyday reality of a different world. And we were all there last Saturday, as neighbors. And that is a magical world to be a part of!

    Reply
  • avatar

    This was one of the finest evenings of music I have ever seen at Hill.
    I am astonished that any of the apparently very inflexible complainers above would not have connected with this amazing cultural journey.
    True music lover open their minds to other forms of musical expression.
    Please disregard those who are looking for something to complain about and book more shows like this. This is the joy of music at its best!

    Reply
  • avatar

    It must be difficult for a long time patron of the classical arts at Hill and UMS to attend a show expecting some eastern European national classical orchestra.

    But for the rest of us –WOW!

    I expect that Frank in the late 40’s, Elvis in the mid 50’s, and Bruce in the 70’s may’ve elicited the same reaction from classical buffs of the time. But for everyone else, this night was a blast, perhaps the most fun I have had since a Sting concert in 1986. The 6 man chorus created some unusual background sound and my wife and I loved the two Bulgarian female singers. There was such a mix of chorus, Bulgarian singing, very inventive creations for the movies and out of this world “wedding” music. The drummer had a wonderful voice for this music and Goran was obviously really enjoying performing for this reactive audience. Two hundred ticket holders along the side and in the aisles dancing with joy. It was clear that this was a guy who is loved by his countrymen (and women).

    It was a little loud. Ever been to a wedding party before? Not with musicians this good, you haven’t.

    I felt like I was attending a celebration of music and spirit as a special guest of the performers and the audience… and I loved it.
    Thanks UMS for all you do to bring such a wide selection of the performing arts of our country and from around the world to our town.

    Reply
  • avatar

    With all g-r-e-a-t things in life – there are those who applaud and those who are nay-sayers. The most valuable history feels like a transgression, and thus, brings progress. Thank you UMS!

    Reply
  • avatar

    This was one of the best UMS concerts I’ve been to. Truly refreshing to see a different genre brought to UM.

    Reply
  • What a terrific show, and an unbelievable chance of a lifetime! I would have never dreamed that I would have been able to see Goran live, in the US, or 20 minutes from home for that matter. The quality and volume of the music surpassed expectations! The set list was terrific as well. This is not music ment to be played at elevator levels.
    The show did start a little late, which can occur for a variety of reasons. My frustration was generally with patrons though, who failed to get to their seats promptly. At the supposed start of the show, a quarter of the seats were still empty. For the few detractors out there, try listening to the artist’s work before coming to the show. That may give you a little feel for whether or not its something you may enjoy ahead of time. I know the 80 year old couple in front of me had the time of their lives. I hope I’m still dancing in the isles in my golden years. If you left early, you really missed an opportunity for moments of sheer bliss.

    Reply
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