Boban, you're commonly known as being one of the best if not the best trumpet player of the Balkans, but do you still remember the very first time you touched your instrument?
Boban Markovic: "I started playing the trumpet from a very young age, I think I must have been five or six years old, and to me my trumpet was like my favorite toy. That being said, I must admit that back then I didn't have a clue I would be playing with that same "toy" for the rest of my life. (laughs)"
If things had turned out slightly different, Boban Markovic would have become a professional football player.
Boban Markovic: "It turned out I wasn't as good a football player as I was a trumpeter. These days I content myself being a fan of Red Star Belgrade."
A lot of your titles prizes - "Golden Trumpet", "First Trumpet" and "The Best Orchestra" - were awarded to you at the Dragačevski Sabor festival in the town of Guča in Serbia.
Boban Markovic: "The first time I was awarded the "Golden Trumpet" was in 1988 and at that time the festival was still a very traditional and regional affair. The last time I took the prize home was back in 2001 and when I visited the festival then, I noticed how much it had grown. These days it's an internationally known event attracting people from all over the world and because of that it has become a lot more commercial, but it's in part because of that festival that I'm now known as an ambassador of the Balkan trumpet throughout the world."
You worked with the renowned Serbian film director Emir Kustorica on several occasions. How did that relationship start?
Boban Markovic: "I first met Emir Kusturica in the early nineties when he wanted me to do the score for his "Arizona Dream" film. It was actually Goran Bregovic who introduced us to one another and I guess after all these years you can say we've become both business partners and friends."
In the West, a lot of the music coming from Eastern Europe is catalogued simply as being gipsy music or Balkan beats.
Boban Markovic: "I don't like that kind of generalization. Of course I realize it's much easier to sell these different kinds of music when the record companies make it look as if they're all one and the same, but the music I play is typical for the region I come from. As the years passed we started adding different influences from other genres and I guess that doesn't make it easier for people to make the distinction what's what anymore."
For the Brotherhood Of Brass project you collaborated with Jewish klezmer musicians.
Boban Markovic: "When you're at a certain level as a musician and you're working with colleagues who've also attained that level, it's easy to make a connection. When you approach a certain style from a completely different angle, the end result is often surprising and that's also what happened with Brotherhood Of Brass."
The German Pirhana label just released a Best Of compilation of your earlier work. A compilation like that often marks the end of a period in the career of a musician or the beginning of something new.
Boban Markovic: "Releasing that compilation album wasn't really my idea (the album was compiled by Balkan Beats deejay Robert Soko, red.). It would have been better if this album would have been released a few years early, because the music we play these days has evolved quite a bit from the tracks you will find on 'Golden Horns'. I always look ahead to new things and new experiences and we're already working on the material for a new album!"