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The unza unza music
There is no place on earth with so many intertwined civilizations, armies and religions as in the Balkans. Over the centuries, scores of peoples crossed this region, leaving in their wake the indelible marks of their own cultures. Yet the music was there all along, even before diplomats, traders and surveyors set foot on this hilly land.
The music clung to the Balkan land, and remained there as an integral part of it even after the last soldier had withdrawn before the advancing army of a new encroaching power. There is no place on earth with a greater combination of differing melodies or lullabies as in the Balkans. Not even a nearly deaf ethnomusicologist happening to cross this land could fail to notice the coexistence of Arabian, Turkish, Russian, Greek, Spanish, German and Italian tunes, not to mention Indian influences on local Serbian, Romanian, Hungarian, Albanian, Bosnian and Macedonian music. And these influences are so inextricably intertwined that the same music that Romanians claim as their own is also claimed as theirs by Serbs, and so on. On the fertile Balkan lands bloomed flowers of all kinds and colours, and their powerful blooming escaped the control of priests, generals, kings, ministers and law-makers, the only gardener being the wild stream of emotions flowing through the centuries.
The Gypsies were those who planted the seed from East to West, from North to South, as if they were the most trusted carriers of all, with their horses, their tents and their genuine ways of life that coexisted peacefully with those of their neighbours. They were the ones who spread the music that had always accompanied them through their life - from childbirth to marriage to burial. The peoples inhabiting those regions where the Gypsies couldn't stop in their endless roaming inherited that music, with its tangle of tunes and rhythms that could be easily added to and moulded from the outside.
Just as a new flower bloomed from any seed that fell on the Balkan soil, so a new musical genre was born from the seed of rock music that was planted in the 20th century, following in the natural tradition of folk music.
The Unza Unza music is the product of sophisticated, state-of-the-art laboratories where attempts were being made at developing the atom bomb that was meant to protect the Balkan peoples' integrity and sovereignty. What came out of those labs instead was a music that claimed to be the most effective way of producing extra proteins - those fundamental substances that control the most basic function of any living being: love. The Unza Unza music is a bunch of different musical flowers from the Balkans, bound up in a single rhythm of two quarter notes that is called Unza Unza after the sound of its beat. But, beware: the word Unza must be repeated at least twice, as in Unza Unza. Only by uttering it twice can the production of extra proteins be possible and effective. The results of scientific tests conducted on blood samples taken from people who had seen Emir Kusturica's film Black Cat, Wild Cat - the first truly Unza Unza movie - have shown that when you listen to this music, the production of extra proteins is increased 7-fold, compared to when you eat, say, a lemon, honey, nuts or garlic, 8.4-fold compared to when you make love, or even 11-fold compared to when you make use of cocaine or other powerful drugs.
In their desire to help make it easier for humankind to produce extra proteins, scientists have declared the No Smoking band as the first band truly representative of Unza Unza music and have agreed to recruit them as the greatest generator of extra proteins. If you want to help yourself or your loved ones, you should play the band's CD every day and repeat to yourself the Unza Unza syntagma, for this is the best way to produce extra proteins. Your perseverance will be rewarded.
Through their research work, scientists have discovered that you need to dance to the rhythm of this music if you want to improve your production of extra proteins and discover the only truth that matters: "The dance is sex".
Dr Nele Karajilic, Institute for extra proteins investigations, Sokolac
The No Smoking band (Zabranjeno Pusenje in their original Serbo-Croatian language) was born in Sarajevo in 1980 and soon became the most significant musical expression of "New Primitivism", a cultural resistance movement created in the transition years of post-Tito Yugoslavia. After two years of live performances in small Sarajevo concert halls, in 1984 the No Smoking (which musical critics have defined as a Gypsy techno-rock band) recorded their first album, "Das ist Walter". One of the songs in the album, "Zenica blues", was soon to hit the top charts in Yugoslavia with more than 100,000 copies sold. In the same period, the band appeared on a TV serial, "Surrealist Top List", a fake newscast that was actually a savage satire of Yugoslav politics. The trouble for the band started when its leader, Dr Nele Karajilic, made ironic remarks on Marshal Tito's death at a lively performance before a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters.
Boycotted and heavily criticized by the country's official propaganda machine, the band was able all the same to record its second album, "Dok cekas sabah sa sejtanom" ("Waiting for the Sabbath with the devil"), whose title contained words that were borrowed from Muslim Bosnian culture, just to emphasize the band's strong cultural bonds to Bosnia's capital city, Sarajevo. Sales of the band's second album dropped precipitously due to the official censorship. The hard times took a heavy blow on the band. Some of the original members left and were replaced by others, including, in 1986, renowned film director Emil Kusturica on bass.
The band's third album, "Pozdrav iz zemlje safari" ("Greetings from safari land"), sold 90,000 copies. In the meantime, dramatic changes in the Yugoslav political scene allowed them to embark on a new tour. In 1989, they recorded their fourth album, "Male price o velikoj ljubavi" ("A little story of a great love") and appeared on the sequel to the TV serial "Surrealist Top List", which prophetically heralded the first impending Balkan crisis. Soon before war broke out in the early '90s, Nele Karajilic moved to Belgrade and in 1994 formed a new band with younger musicians, including Stribor Kusturica, Emir's son, on drums. In 1998 the "No smoking" composed the music for Emir Kusturica's film "Black Cat, White Cat," which won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival of that year.
After the "Side Effects" tour in the summer of 1999, which draw more than 55,000 people to the band's live performances, and after their appearance at the Venice Film Festival and their participation as guests at important TV shows, the No Smoking have recorded a new album "Unza Unza Time", produced by the Universal record company, as well as a video clip for MTV and Video Music, directed by Emir Kusturica himself.
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