Special Concert: Faith i Branko @ Le QuecumBar, London, United Kingdom
Special Concert: Faith i Branko
When the Balkan Media heard of their story in 2012, Faith i Branko quickly became well known across the Balkans and the International Balkan and Roma Diasporas and thus began their - to date - 5 year career in Balkan Television and Media: these include documentaries and guest appearances on stations such as RTS/ Pink/ Explosiv/ Exclusiv/ Prva Canal and MTV.
Faith and Branko Ristic form the core of their high-energy live performance, combining the accordion, violin, effects pedal and tabor pipe to take the audience on a journey from melancholy Roma violin laments to storming ‘Kolos’ and explorations into jazz improvisation, swing and Gypsy Rumba. These styles form the heart of the set, which - for the majority - is joyous, passionate, boisterous, fiery and spirited. Branko’s violin – described as ‘something that Paganini would be proud of’ [Lach Walter] soars at break-neck paces whilst Faith’s ‘nimble accordion accompaniment provides a beautiful bedrock’ [The Guardian]. Branko – a self-taught virtuosic Roma violinist with a painful personal history opens his heart in their slower compositions, revealing at times the sadness beneath the frantic virtuosic revelry.
Branko is a self-taught Serbian Roma violinist and was given his first violin by his grandfather - a great Romani singer. He had a very difficult childhood and his violin was a way out of the extreme problems through which he lived; he created his own music, combining sounds of jazz, Indian, Turkish and classical music with his Roma traditions. He has now become one of the highest ranking Roma violinists in Europe, and his original music would later combine with the work of Faith, trained at the School of African and Oriental studies, and a circus and theatre performer from the UK. Having been separated for two years, these two musicians - from hugely different cultures - were inexplicably drawn together in 2011 and doing everything within their power to stay together, write, record and perform their music. Branko would later say: ‘I prayed to God to send me a girl who would love Roma music like me, who would understand me, and with whom I could play and travel the world. In 2009 – after four months of praying – Faith first drove from Oxford to Serbia and arrived in my life’. Faith i Branko are now the composers and producers of their debut album ‘Gypsy Lover’, recorded at Serbian film Director Emir Kusturica’s Studio, mentored by Nicholas Hooper (Composer/Harry Potter) and released with Riverboat Records/World Music Network.