kocani orkestar 1The Kocani Orkestar come from the Turkish-speaking Roma community of Kocani, a city in the eastern part of Macedonia. The group refer to their musical style as being “Romska Orientalna Musika”. In it, the band combine influences from traditional and contemporary Roma music with elements of Latin, pop and even Indian film music.
The Kocani Orkestar were originally a wedding and party band and for a long time played only at weddings, funerals, birthdays and other festivities in Kocani and the surroundings. The group became known internationally through their work with Bosnian director Emir Kusturica in 1988 on the soundtrack of his movies “Time of the Gypsies”. In 1994, the band finally brought out their debut album “A Gypsy Brass Band”. This was followed in 1997 with their first album on the Belgian music label Crammed Disc entitled “L’Orient est Rouge”. The band have been associated with this label ever since.
In 1999, the members of the band split into two groups. One was called “Kocani Orkestar” with a large part of the former musicians, and the other was known as the “Original Kocani Orkestar” with the actual founder Naat Veliov and an almost complete new line-up.
After the split with Veliov, Kocani Orkestar released two studio albums: “Alone at my Wedding” in 2006 and “The Ravished Bride” in 2008. Singer Ajnur Azizov was featured on both albums and in the meantime has beome a permanent member of the band. He sings in Romani, Mazedonian and Turkish. The group was also represented on the “Band of Gypsies” project of the Romanian gypsy ensemble “Taraf de Hajdouks” with several other Roma artists. The second edition of “Band of Gypsys” was released in 2011, this time as an exclusive cooperation between the Kocani Orkestar and Taraf de Hajdouks. All Kocani Orkestar releases have enjoyed remarkable success internationally.
The band regularly tour throughout Europe and are known for their exquisite live shows.
Discography (excerpt):
1994 A Gypsy Brass Band (Long Distance)
1998 L’Orient est Rouge (Crammed Discs)
2001 Band Of Gypsies (together with Taraf de Haiduks / Crammed Discs)
2002 Alone At My Wedding (Crammed Discs)
2008 The Ravished Bride (Crammed Discs)
2011 Band of Gypsies 2 (together with Taraf de Haiduks / Crammed Discs)


Text: Robert Lippuner
Translation: Jamie Davies


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