Shabam Bairamovic

Gypsy King of Serbia

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For a people without a state, the gypsies certainly have a lot of kings. Some deserve their titles more than others. Saban Bajramovic may not be a king, but he is at least an earl or a duke. Accompanied by accordion, sax, clarinet, sometimes trumpet, drums, and who knows what else, Bajramovic serves a variety of gypsy music, from the frenetic "Maruska" to the almost-Arabic "Kamerav, Kamerav." Interestingly, Bajramovic's voice sounds a great deal like Al Jolson's, although not quite as strongly flavored. At times you could think that one of Bajramovic's songs was one of Jolson's efforts at Jewish music.

The music is always interesting (Bajramovic is a prolific songwriter, according to the liner notes). "Vasilica," at one point with all the wind instruments blaring, sounds like mariachi music -- and yet it works. The recording is not the best, however. On songs like "Irena" with a large dynamic range, there is distortion. Other than that, Gypsy King of Serbia is definitely worth a listen.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 4:12
2 3:53
3 3:09
4 2:53
5 3:10
6 2:43
7 3:23
8 2:42
9 4:29
10 3:08
11 4:01
12 4:24
13 3:27
14 3:20
15 3:53
16 3:23
17 4:08
blue highlight denotes track pick