About Goran Bregović: Yugoslav musician (1950-) | Biography, Facts, Career, Life
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Goran Bregović
Yugoslav musician

Goran Bregović

Goran Bregović
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Yugoslav musician
Is Musician Composer Film score composer
From Bosnia and Herzegovina France Serbia Croatia
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 22 March 1950, Sarajevo
Age 72 years
Star sign Aries
Residence Sarajevo, Paris
The details (from wikipedia)


Goran Bregović (Serbian Cyrillic: Горан Бреговић, pronounced [ɡɔ̌ran brɛ̂ːɡɔʋitɕ], born 22 March 1950) is a Yugoslav musician and one of the most internationally known modern musicians and composers of the Balkans.
Bregović has composed for such varied artists as Iggy Pop and Cesária Évora. He rose to fame playing guitar with his rock band Bijelo Dugme. Among his better known scores are three of Emir Kusturica's films (Time of the Gypsies, Arizona Dream, and Underground).

Early life and career

Goran Bregović in concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on 19 October 2011.

Born in Sarajevo, PR Bosnia-Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia to a Croat father Franjo Bregović and Serb mother Borka Perišić, Goran grew up with an older sister Dajana and a younger brother Predrag. Their father was from Croatian Zagorje, specifically Sveti Petar Čvrstec village near Križevci, while their mother was born in Virovitica to parents that shortly before her birth arrived in the nearby village of Čemernica, settling there from the village of Kazanci near Gacko in eastern Herzegovina. Her father, Goran's maternal grandfather, fought in the Serbian Army at the Macedonian Front during World War I and as a reward received land in Slavonia where he soon moved his family.

Goran's parents met shortly after the end of World War II in Virovitica where his mother Borka lived and his father Franjo (who fought on the Partisan side during the war) attended a Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) military school. Franjo Bregović soon got his first job, teaching ballistics at a Sarajevo military school, so the family (which at the time only had a daughter) moved there. Goran, their second child, was born in 1950.

Goran was 10 years old when his parents divorced. In later interviews he mentioned his father's alcoholism as the reason for the breakdown of his parents' marriage. Soon after the split, his father moved to Livno, taking Goran's younger brother Predrag with him while Goran remained living with his mother in Sarajevo, visiting his father and brother every summer in Livno. Their father soon retired and eventually moved back to his home village in Zagorje while Goran's brother Predrag later moved back to Sarajevo for university studies.

Goran played violin in a music school. However, deemed untalented, he was thrown out during second grade. His musical education was thus reduced to what his friend taught him until Goran's mother bought him his first guitar in his early teens. Bregović wanted to enroll in a fine arts high school, but his aunt told his mother that it was supposedly full of homosexuals, which precipitated his mother's decision to send him to a technical (traffic) school. As a compromise for not getting his way, she allowed him to grow his hair long. Upon entering high school, Goran joined the school band Izohipse where he began on bass guitar. Soon, however, he was kicked out of that school too (this time for misbehavior - he crashed into a school-owned Mercedes-Benz). Bregović then entered grammar school and its school band Beštije (again as a bass guitar player). When he was 16, his mother left him and moved to the coast, meaning that other than having a few relatives to rely on, he mostly had to take care of himself. He did that by playing folk music in a kafana in Konjic, working on construction sites, and selling newspapers.

Spotting him at a Beštije gig in 1969, Željko Bebek invited 18-year-old Bregović to play bass guitar in his band Kodeksi, which Goran gladly accepted.


Eventually, Kodeksi shifted setup so Bregović moved from bass to lead guitar, resulting in Kodeksi having the following line-up during summer 1970: Goran Bregović, Željko Bebek, Zoran Redžić and Milić Vukašinović. All of them would eventually become members of Bijelo Dugme at some point in the future. At the time, they were largely influenced by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. During the fall of 1970, this resulted in departure of Željko Bebek, who (both as rhythm guitar player and singer) got phased out of the band. At the end of the year, Goran's mother and Zoran's brother arrived in Naples and took them back to Sarajevo.


Then, in the autumn of 1971, Goran enrolled at the University of Sarajevo's Faculty of Philosophy, studying philosophy and sociology. He soon quit, however. At the same time, Milić Vukašinović left for London, so Bregović formed a band with Nuno Arnautalić called Jutro (Morning), which Redžić soon joined as well. Over the next few years, the band changed lineups frequently, and on 1 January 1974 modified its name to Bijelo Dugme ("White Button").

Bijelo Dugme

From 1974 until 1989, Bregović played lead guitar and was the main creative force behind Bijelo Dugme (White Button). For years they stood as one of the most popular bands in SFR Yugoslavia.

Solo career

At the time Bijelo Dugme was falling apart, Goran entered the world of film music. His first project was Emir Kusturica's Time of the Gypsies (1989). This turned out to be a great success (both the film and the soundtrack). Goran and Emir's collaboration continued, and Goran composed music (which was performed by Iggy Pop) for Emir's next film Arizona Dream (1993). During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Goran lived in Paris, but he also lived in Belgrade. His next major project, music for Patrice Chéreau's Queen Margot was a great success as well, and as a result, the film won two awards on the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The next year's Golden Palm award went to Underground, for which Goran Bregović composed the music.

In 1997, he worked with Turkish singer Sezen Aksu on her album Düğün ve Cenaze (Wedding and Funeral). After that album, he continued making composite albums with other musicians that were based on his music and singers' lyrics.

He made an album with George Dalaras in 1999 named Thessaloniki – Yannena with Two Canvas Shoes. In the same year, Bregović recorded an album called Kayah i Bregović (Kayah and Bregović) with popular Polish singer Kayah which sold over 700,000 copies in Poland (seven times platinum record).

In 2001, he recorded another album with another Polish singer, Krzysztof Krawczyk, titled "Daj mi drugie życie" ("Give Me Second Life").

In 2005, Bregović took part in three large farewell concerts of Bijelo Dugme.

A number of works created by Bregović can be heard on the soundtrack to the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, most notably "Đurđevdan." The film itself actually features more Bregović samples than the soundtrack. Two musical numbers by Bregović, "Ne Siam Kurve Tuke Sijam Prostitutke," and "Gas, Gas" were featured in the soundtrack of the 2012 Brazilian novela, Salve Jorge, on the television network Rede Globo.

Weddings and Funerals Orchestra

For many years Bregović performed with a large ensemble of musicians: a brass band, bagpipes, a string ensemble, a tuxedo-clad all-male choir from Belgrade, women wearing traditional Bulgarian costumes, and Roma singers make up his 40-piece band and orchestra.

Since 1998, and until about 2012, Bregović has been performing his music mainly in the form of concerts all over the world with his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra. This consists of 10 people (in the small version) or 37 (in the large version, although, in some instances, this number varies, depending on participants from the host country).

Since 2012 the orchestra consists of 9 people (in the small version) or 19 (in the large version), as it played in New York at the Lincoln Center on 15 July and 16 July 2016.

The small orchestra consists of Muharem-Muki Redzepi (vocals, drums), Bokan Stanković (first trumpet), Dragić Velićović (second trumpet), Stojan Dimov (sax, clarinet), Aleksandar Rajković (first trombone, glockenspiel), Miloš Mihajlović (second trombone), female vocals Bulgarian singers Daniela Radkova-Aleksandrova, and Ludmila Radkova-Traikova, and Goran himself. The large orchestra includes also string quartet: Ivana Mateijć (first violin), Bojana Jovanović-Jotić (second violin), Saša Mirković (viola), and Tatjana Jovanović-Mirković, as well as sextet of male voices: Dejan Pesić (first tenor), Milan Panić and Ranko Jović (second tenors), Aleksandar Novaković (baritone), Dusan Ljubinković and Siniša Dutina (basses).

In previous years, in the orchestra the following musicians have performed: Ogi Radivojević and Alen Ademović (vocals, drums), Dalibor Lukić (second trumpet), Dejan Manigodić (tuba), Vaska Jankovska (vocals).

In 2013, as part of his Asia-Pacific tour (including Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong), Bregović performed with a string quartet, a male choir, Bulgarian singers and half of a brass band. The other part of the brass band - including bass and percussions - were being played from his computer.


During the Eurovision 2008 final in Belgrade Arena, Serbia, he had a small concert.

He also composed the Serbian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2010; 'Ovo Je Balkan' sung by Milan Stanković.

Musical style

Bregović's compositions, extending Balkan musical inspirations to innovative extremes, draw upon European classicism and Balkan rhythms.

Bregović's music carries Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Romani, Romanian, Serbian, Albanian and Turkish themes and is a fusion of popular music with traditional polyphonic music from the Balkans, tango, and brass bands.

Personal life

In 1993, Bregović married his long-time girlfriend Dženana Sudžuka. The wedding ceremony held in Paris featured film director Emir Kusturica as the groom's best man and longtime Bijelo Dugme backing vocal, Amila Sulejmanović as the bride's maid of honour.

The couple has three daughters: Ema (born in March 1995), Una (February 2002), and Lulu (May 2004).

Bregović owns real-estate properties all over the world, but spends most of his time between Belgrade, where most of his musical collaborators reside, and Paris, where his spouse lives with their three daughters.

He also has a daughter named Željka (born out of wedlock from a previous relationship) who gave birth to Goran's grand daughter, Bianca. He has a brother named Predrag who lives in New York City, and a sister, Dajana who lives in Split.

On 12 June 2008, Bregović injured his spine, falling from a tree. He fell four meters from a cherry tree in the garden of his home in Senjak, a Belgrade district, breaking vertebrae. However, according to the doctors, his condition was "stable without neurological complications." After surgery, he made a quick recovery and on 8 July and 9 July, he held two big concerts in New York City, where for more than two hours each night, he proved his performance skills had not suffered from the accident.


Bregović prefers to avoid delving into politics. In 2009, he said, "Yugoslavia is the intersection of so many worlds: Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim. With music, I don't have to represent anyone, except myself -- because I speak the first language of the world, the one everyone understands: music." In March 2015, Bregović performed in a concert in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia the previous year. The following month, the Life Festival in Oświęcim, Poland cancelled an appearance by Bregović, saying that his statements were "contrary to the values cherished by the Life Festival founders."

List of film scores

Goran Bregović Wedding and Funeral Orchestra in Donetsk: 15 March 2006.
  • 1977 - Butterfly cloud (Leptirov oblak) - Directed by: Zdravko Randić
  • 1979 - Personal Affairs (Lične stvari) - Directed by: Aleksandar Mandić
  • 1988 - Time of the Gypsies (Dom za vešanje) - Directed by: Emir Kusturica
  • 1989 - Kuduz - Directed by: Ademir Kenović
  • 1990 - Silent Gunpowder (Gluvi barut) - Directed by: Bahrudin Čengić
  • 1991 - The Serbian Girl (Das Serbische Mädchen) - Directed by: Peter Sehr
  • 1991 - The Little One (Mala) - Directed by: Predrag Antonijević
  • 1991 - Čaruga - Directed by: Rajko Grlić
  • 1993 - Arizona Dream - Directed by: Emir Kusturica
  • 1993 - Toxic Affair - Directed by: Philoméne Esposito
  • 1993 - La Nuit sacrée - Directed by: Nicolas Klotz
  • 1993 - Le Nombril du monde - Directed by: Ariel Zeitoun
  • 1993 - KIKA - Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar
  • 1994 - soundtrack for La Reine Margot - Directed by: Patrice Chéreau
  • 1995 - Underground - Directed by: Emir Kusturica
  • 1997 - Music for Weddings and Funerals (Musik för bröllop och begravningar) - Directed by: Unni Straume
  • 1997 - A Chef in Love (Shekvarebuli kulinaris ataserti retsepti) - Directed by: Nana Djordjadze
  • 1997 - The Serpent's Kiss - Directed by: Philippe Rousselot
  • 1997 - XXL - Directed by: Ariel Zeitoun
  • 1998 - Train de Vie - Directed by: Radu Mihaileanu
  • 1999 - The Lost Son - Directed by: Chris Menges
  • 1999 - Tuvalu - Directed by: Veit Helmer
  • 1999 - Operation Simoom (Operacja Samum) - Directed by Władysław Pasikowski
  • 2000 - 27 Missing Kisses - Directed by: Nana Djordjadze
  • 2000 - Je li jasno prijatelju? - Directed by: Dejan Ačimović
  • 2005 - The Turkish Gambit (Турецкий гамбит) - Directed by: Dzhanik Faiziyev
  • 2005 - I giorni dell'abbandono - Directed by: Roberto Faenza
  • 2006 - Karaula - Directed by: Rajko Grlić (This is not true)
  • 2006 - Le Lièvre de Vatanen - Directed by: Marc Rivière
  • 2006 - Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (non-original music; "Ederlezi" from Dom za vešanje)
  • 2007 - Fly by Rossinant - Directed by: Jacky Stoév
  • 2008 - Mustafa - Directed by: Can Dündar
  • 2011 - Baikonur - Directed by Veit Helmer


With Bijelo dugme

Original movies soundtracks

Not all his soundtracks compositions are commercially available.
  • 1989: Kuduz (Diskoton)
  • 1989: Time of the Gypsies (Kamarad, Diskoton, PolyGram, Komuna)
  • 1993: Toxic affair (Polygram / Universal)
  • 1993: Arizona Dream (Kamarad, PolyGram, Komuna)
  • 1994: La reine Margot (Kamarad, PolyGram, Komuna)
  • 1995: Underground (Kamarad, PolyGram, Komuna)
  • 1995: A Chef in Love (Kamarad)
  • 2000: Tuvalu avec Jürgen Knieper (United One Records)
  • 2005: I giorni dell'abbandono with Carmen Consoli
  • 2006: Le Lièvre de Vatanen (PolyGram)
  • 2008: Mustafa (Sony Music Entertainment)


His compilations include soundtracks from different works.
  • 1996: P.S. (Komuna)
  • 1998: Ederlezi (PolyGram)
  • 1999: Magic book (Bravo Records)
  • 2000: Songbook (Mercury Records, Universal)
  • 2000: Music for films (PolyGram)
  • 2009: Welcome to Bregović (Wrasse Records)

Other albums

  • 1976: Goran Bregović (PGP RTB)
  • 1991: Paradehtika with Alkistis Protopsalti (Polydor)
  • 1997: Düğün ve Cenaze with Sezen Aksu (Raks Müzik)
  • 1997: Thessaloniki – Yannena with Two Canvas Shoes with George Dalaras (Minos-EMI)
  • 1998: Silence of the Balkans, live in Thessaloniki (Mercury Records)
  • 1999: Kayah i Bregović with Kayah (ZIC-ZAC)
  • 2000: Balkanica with Athens Symphony Orchestra (FM Records)
  • 2001: Kris & Goran (or Daj mi drugie życie) with Krzysztof Krawczyk (BMG Poland, Rada)
  • 2002: Tales and Songs from Weddings and Funerals (Mercury)
  • 2007: Karmen with a happy end (Mercury)
  • 2009: Alkohol: Šljivovica & Champagne (Kamarad, Mercury)
  • 2012: Ederlezi x Four (FM Records)
  • 2012: Champagne for Gypsies (Kamarad, Mercury)

Honours and awards

  •  Albania: On 31 June 2006 he received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana by Edi Rama on the occasion of his visit to Albania.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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