THE PROJECT SO FAR
The idea for this film project came initially from the innovative musician, composer and instrument maker, Linsey Pollak, who invited me to document the tour of a group of Macedonian “Roma” musicians to Australia. As I explored the subject more, I soon discovered that this was no ordinary music tour! It involved three bands, 19 members in all, who were mostly related and came from the small town of Berovo in Macedonia. Very little English was spoken amongst them and some had never been overseas before.
Their music, coming from the “Roma” tradition where music is passed down inter-generationally, is deeply embedded in their culture and life.
The three bands include Uska Kan, widely regarded as one of the top Balkan brass bands in the country and winning nearby Serbia’s most famous Brass Band festival. In that band is virtuoso trumpet soloist and rising star, Demir Kanturovski.
Then there is Etno Malesh, comprising of Romany multi-instrumentalists and bringing a more contemporary sound mixed with the traditional. Led by group leader, Milaim Destanovski, they are masters of world music fusion.
Finally Maleshevski Zurli, a mesmerizing traditional art form played at celebrations and rites of passage.
Linsey Pollak was the drive and inspiration behind bringing this collection of bands to Australia. It had been a 2 year project in the making for him following a 37-year relationship to the town of Berovo and some of these families. His dream was to showcase this rich cultural tradition to local audiences at the infamous Woodford Folk Festival. He also wanted to introduce them to his home and country in return for the hospitality they had consistently shown him over the years.
The result was a massive two week tour over the summer of 2015. During this time, the filming was completed as I followed the bands with a camera and was able to capture their experience both on and off stage.
The film will show both the music as well as the relationships between Linsey, the group and the small town of Maleny who hosted them.
Footage, behind the scenes and on stage, is driven by the infectious and lively “Romany” style music that inspired the tour.
Now the film is at the post production phase. It has stalled from progressing due to lack of funds for completion. The film needs:
- Online Edit
- Colour Grade
- Sound Mix
- Translation and Subtitling
On top of this, we need some funds for marketing and distribution.
The film has already gathered support amongst the large fan base of the bands through the tour. A public Facebook group has been set up to view photos, video and comments by both supporters and band members.
As well as this, some Macedonian music and cultural groups around Australia have shown interest in screening the film.
Academic music institutions in the Northern Rivers have expressed support.