Category Archives: Trumpet Tradition

Guca Trumpet Festival History

Serbian History Trumpet tradition
Dragacevo, which used to be a rural region, experienced strong economic and general educational and cultural development after 1950, and mostly in the first decade of the 21st century, first of all thanks to the Trumpeters Festival.

The capital of modern trumpeting – Guca, is relatively small, and the trumpet was first played as far ago as 1831. Before nearly two centuries Milos Obrenović ordered the establishment of a “Principle’s Serbian band” in Kragujevac, and that the first brass band be led by Josip Slezinger (1794-1870), a man from Sombor, who in those times was the first musically literate expert in Serbia. “Oberlautar” Mustafa, a man who played the violin and “zurle” (zurna), was until then amusing the Serb ruler and his entourage “and was amusing also even foreigners who did not have much understanding for Turkish music”. Immediately upon his arrival in Kragujevac he started to organize the band. Since he lacked in skilled musicians, he asked the Principle to arrange that young man from among the population be found, who have talent and will to do this job. Milos promptly ordered that each county delegates five young men. And, so it started. Although it did not always run smoothly, they learned to play the new “golden” instruments, by playing the round-dances and songs which they knew and were familiar with them, but learning also everything that maestro J. Slezinger was teaching them in the then Serbian capital Kragujevac.

History of the Serbian Trumpet Tradition

History of the Serbian Trumpet Tradition

Almost two centuries passed by, there were many outstanding military brass bands and band leaders from the regiments and divisions. However, only in the mid 19th century were the foreign musical and cultural influence getting stronger; they can be identified at the beginning of the new era in the folk music of Dragacevo and were particularly strong in regard to trumpet music and homophonic multi-part singing , i.e. in singing “na bas”. How the brass bands were emerging we heard from spontaneous statements of modern Dragacevo musicians. It is known in Dljina that their oldest trumpeter “was a guy named Cebic who was playing before World War I… And he himself inherited it from the past times. “In Goracici the first orchestra was founded by the Davidovic brothers from Dragacica “probably sometimes about the times of World War I, and this band included only four musicians”. Also, the story goes that “in Rti the band leader and first trumpet was Milisav Kostic–Tralja, and his today’s heirs are trumpeters playing in the Srecko Obradovic orchestra”. And so we come also to the trumpeter Desimir Perisic from Goracići and the winning orchestra at the First Festival in Guca in 1961.

The songs are usually based of two-bar motives and melodies, mainly of two part structure consisting of 4 to 5 tones.

All around the globe, at all meridians, on all continents, most probably also on the Antarctica, it is known that Guca and Dragacevo are famous for trumpet music. The trumpet can be heard, loudly and gently, also in the biggest cities of the world and recordings of the trumpeters’ music have reached the outer space, where the cosmonauts were amusing themselves.

Trumpet Museum

Trumpet Museum

With all the other flags, the Dragacevo Trumpeters Festival’s flag has been flying since 2000 also on the highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest, on the Himalayas (8,848 m). It was placed there by the first Serb – a man from Dragacevo, Dragan Jacimovic from Puhovo.

To say it in modern language, Dragacevo Trumpeters festival is one of the most famous Serbian brands. And trumpet music took for the world from the villages of Dragacevo, via Guca. Via Dragacevo Trumpeters Festival at which, for full five decades, the blessed musicians – the golden Serbian trumpeters – gathered in flocks.

Dragacevo, which used to be a rural region, experienced strong economic and general educational and cultural development after 1950, and mostly in the first decade of the 21st century, first of all thanks to the Trumpeters Festival.

The capital of modern trumpeting, Guca, is relatively small, and the trumpet was first played as far ago as 1831. Before nearly two centuries Milos Obrenovic ordered the establishment of a “Principle’s Serbian band” in Kragujevac, and that the first brass band be led by Josip Slezinger (1794-1870), a man from Sombor, who in those times was the first musically literate expert in Serbia. “Oberlautar” Mustafa, a man who played the violin and “zurle” (zurna), was until then amusing the Serb ruler and his entourage “and was amusing also even foreigners who did not have much understanding for Turkish music”. Immediately upon his arrival in Kragujevac he started to organize the band. Since he lacked in skilled musicians, he asked the Principle to arrange that young man from among the population be found, who have talent and will to do this job. Milos promptly ordered that each county delegates five young men. And, so it started. Although it did not always run smoothly, they learned to play the new “golden” instruments, by playing the round-dances and songs which they knew and were familiar with them, but learning also everything that maestro J. Slezinger was teaching them in the then Serbian capital Kragujevac

Almost two centuries passed by, there were many outstanding military brass bands and band leaders from the regiments and divisions. However, only in the mid 19th century were the foreign musical and cultural influence getting stronger; they can be identified at the beginning of the new era in the folk music of Dragacevo and were particularly strong in regard to trumpet music and homophonic multi-part singing , i.e. in singing “na bas”. How the brass bands were emerging we heard from spontaneous statements of modern Dragacevo musicians. It is known in Dljina that their oldest trumpeter “was a guy named Cebic who was playing before World War I… And he himself inherited it from the past times. “In Goracići the first orchestra was founded by the Davidovic brothers from Dragacica “probably sometimes about the times of World War I, and this band included only four musicians”. Also, the story goes that “in Rti the band leader and first trumpet was Milisav Kostić–Tralja, and his today’s heirs are trumpeters playing in the Srecko Obradovic orchestra”. And so we come also to the trumpeter Desimir Perisic from Goracići and the winning orchestra at the First Festival in Guca in 1961.

The songs are usually based of two-bar motives and melodies, mainly of two part structure consisting of 4 to 5 tones.
The vigorous folk round-dances from the western regions are characterized by occasional pauses of the leading trumpets, with the basses taking over the leading tune of the leading trumpets, highlighting the basic harmonies. Also, we will notice that southern folk dances are usually characterized by oriental music, in the so-called “aksak” rhythm. This is especially emphasized with the “performance” of the drummer, who expertly combines larger “cukan” (right hand) strokes with those of the thinner stick (left hand, on the edge of the drum, skillfully stressing the changes of double and triple meter in the specific rhythmical formulas and combinations (8/8; 7/8; 9/8 etc.), especially in the characteristic dances – songs called “chochek”. Then, spontaneously and ravishingly, genuinely enjoying in the music, dance only those who truly know how to do it. In the eastern region a big number of folk dances of the “Batrna” (ancient dance) type and “Stara Vlajna”, i.e. “Timocka Rumenka” or “Svrljiski laskavac”, are preserving the genetic features of the Vallah or Serb Hora dancing, when the dancers are crossing their hands and holding each other by the belt. And all Serbian songs and dances have up to five tones, while Vallah melodies are more diversified and with an occasional alternation of the slow parts with the usually faster refrain. Singing with trumpet accompaniment is gaining in popularity nowadays here with us. Like the first folk trumpeters from the times of Milos, contemporary ones are also mainly autodidacts having keen hearing, and are playing a huge repertoire of songs and dances by heart, and by the ear, improvising their interpretation spontaneously and from their soles and hearts. With the first orchestras, their members evolved as musicians and their number was invreasing. At the beginning the orchestras had five musicians, and the contemporary orchestras usually have up to ten musicians (three to four ”B” trumpets, three bass flugelhorns, one bass trumpet – helicon or euphonium, and, finally, snare drum and large drum with cymbals. Three regions clearly identified themselves by the style of their music, and are today three famous centers with the best trumpeters in Serbia today. Although the trumpet is not as deeply rooted in our people like the vocal music tradition, the fact is that those active in the field of culture have four decades ago broke the ground for trumpet music in tiny Guca. Since then, like awakening from a dream, trumpet music grew very quickly in those areas of western, eastern and southern Serbia in which the trumpet seed probably had already been thrown and did exist, and it also woke up during so many decades in the center of sumadija, where its seed was for the first time thrown in the far away year 1831.

Guca Festivals Posters trough History

Guca Festival Posters trough History

Gucha Plakat 52. Sabor Trubaca Guca Festivals Posters Guca Festivals Posters 31.Guca Festivals Posters Guca Festivals Posters28.Guca Festivals Posters 27.Guca Festivals Posters 26.Guca Festivals Posters 21.Guca Festivals Posters phoca_thumb_l_plakati 019 17.Guca Festivals Posters 15.Guca Festivals Posters phoca_thumb_l_plakati 015 Guca Festivals Posters 1968 Guca Festivals Posters 1967 Guca Festivals Posters

Serbian History Trumpet Tradition

Serbian History Trumpet tradition
Dragacevo, which used to be a rural region, experienced strong economic and general educational and cultural development after 1950, and mostly in the first decade of the 21st century, first of all thanks to the Trumpeters Festival.

The capital of modern trumpeting – Guca, is relatively small, and the trumpet was first played as far ago as 1831. Before nearly two centuries Milos Obrenović ordered the establishment of a “Principle’s Serbian band” in Kragujevac, and that the first brass band be led by Josip Slezinger (1794-1870), a man from Sombor, who in those times was the first musically literate expert in Serbia. “Oberlautar” Mustafa, a man who played the violin and “zurle” (zurna), was until then amusing the Serb ruler and his entourage “and was amusing also even foreigners who did not have much understanding for Turkish music”. Immediately upon his arrival in Kragujevac he started to organize the band. Since he lacked in skilled musicians, he asked the Principle to arrange that young man from among the population be found, who have talent and will to do this job. Milos promptly ordered that each county delegates five young men. And, so it started. Although it did not always run smoothly, they learned to play the new “golden” instruments, by playing the round-dances and songs which they knew and were familiar with them, but learning also everything that maestro J. Slezinger was teaching them in the then Serbian capital Kragujevac.

History of the Serbian Trumpet Tradition

History of the Serbian Trumpet Tradition

Almost two centuries passed by, there were many outstanding military brass bands and band leaders from the regiments and divisions. However, only in the mid 19th century were the foreign musical and cultural influence getting stronger; they can be identified at the beginning of the new era in the folk music of Dragacevo and were particularly strong in regard to trumpet music and homophonic multi-part singing , i.e. in singing “na bas”. How the brass bands were emerging we heard from spontaneous statements of modern Dragacevo musicians. It is known in Dljina that their oldest trumpeter “was a guy named Cebic who was playing before World War I… And he himself inherited it from the past times. “In Goracici the first orchestra was founded by the Davidovic brothers from Dragacica “probably sometimes about the times of World War I, and this band included only four musicians”. Also, the story goes that “in Rti the band leader and first trumpet was Milisav Kostic–Tralja, and his today’s heirs are trumpeters playing in the Srecko Obradovic orchestra”. And so we come also to the trumpeter Desimir Perisic from Goracići and the winning orchestra at the First Festival in Guca in 1961.

The songs are usually based of two-bar motives and melodies, mainly of two part structure consisting of 4 to 5 tones.

All around the globe, at all meridians, on all continents, most probably also on the Antarctica, it is known that Guca and Dragacevo are famous for trumpet music. The trumpet can be heard, loudly and gently, also in the biggest cities of the world and recordings of the trumpeters’ music have reached the outer space, where the cosmonauts were amusing themselves.

With all the other flags, the Dragacevo Trumpeters Festival’s flag has been flying since 2000 also on the highest mountain peak of the world, Mount Everest, on the Himalayas (8,848 m). It was placed there by the first Serb – a man from Dragacevo, Dragan Jacimovic from Puhovo.

To say it in modern language, Dragacevo Trumpeters festival is one of the most famous Serbian brands. And… trumpet music took for the world from the villages of Dragacevo, via Guca. Via Dragacevo Trumpeters Festival at which, for full five decades, the blessed musicians – the golden Serbian trumpeters – gathered in flocks.

Dragacevo, which used to be a rural region, experienced strong economic and general educational and cultural development after 1950, and mostly in the first decade of the 21st century, first of all thanks to the Trumpeters Festival.

The capital of modern trumpeting, Guca, is relatively small, and the trumpet was first played as far ago as 1831. Before nearly two centuries Milos Obrenovic ordered the establishment of a “Principle’s Serbian band” in Kragujevac, and that the first brass band be led by Josip Slezinger (1794-1870), a man from Sombor, who in those times was the first musically literate expert in Serbia. “Oberlautar” Mustafa, a man who played the violin and “zurle” (zurna), was until then amusing the Serb ruler and his entourage “and was amusing also even foreigners who did not have much understanding for Turkish music”. Immediately upon his arrival in Kragujevac he started to organize the band. Since he lacked in skilled musicians, he asked the Principle to arrange that young man from among the population be found, who have talent and will to do this job. Milos promptly ordered that each county delegates five young men. And, so it started. Although it did not always run smoothly, they learned to play the new “golden” instruments, by playing the round-dances and songs which they knew and were familiar with them, but learning also everything that maestro J. Slezinger was teaching them in the then Serbian capital Kragujevac

Almost two centuries passed by, there were many outstanding military brass bands and band leaders from the regiments and divisions. However, only in the mid 19th century were the foreign musical and cultural influence getting stronger; they can be identified at the beginning of the new era in the folk music of Dragacevo and were particularly strong in regard to trumpet music and homophonic multi-part singing , i.e. in singing “na bas”. How the brass bands were emerging we heard from spontaneous statements of modern Dragacevo musicians. It is known in Dljina that their oldest trumpeter “was a guy named Cebic who was playing before World War I… And he himself inherited it from the past times. “In Goracići the first orchestra was founded by the Davidovic brothers from Dragacica “probably sometimes about the times of World War I, and this band included only four musicians”. Also, the story goes that “in Rti the band leader and first trumpet was Milisav Kostić–Tralja, and his today’s heirs are trumpeters playing in the Srecko Obradovic orchestra”. And so we come also to the trumpeter Desimir Perisic from Goracići and the winning orchestra at the First Festival in Guca in 1961.

The songs are usually based of two-bar motives and melodies, mainly of two part structure consisting of 4 to 5 tones.
The vigorous folk round-dances from the western regions are characterized by occasional pauses of the leading trumpets, with the basses taking over the leading tune of the leading trumpets, highlighting the basic harmonies. Also, we will notice that southern folk dances are usually characterized by oriental music, in the so-called “aksak” rhythm. This is especially emphasized with the “performance” of the drummer, who expertly combines larger “cukan” (right hand) strokes with those of the thinner stick (left hand, on the edge of the drum, skillfully stressing the changes of double and triple meter in the specific rhythmical formulas and combinations (8/8; 7/8; 9/8 etc.), especially in the characteristic dances – songs called “chochek”. Then, spontaneously and ravishingly, genuinely enjoying in the music, dance only those who truly know how to do it. In the eastern region a big number of folk dances of the “Batrna” (ancient dance) type and “Stara Vlajna”, i.e. “Timocka Rumenka” or “Svrljiski laskavac”, are preserving the genetic features of the Vallah or Serb Hora dancing, when the dancers are crossing their hands and holding each other by the belt. And all Serbian songs and dances have up to five tones, while Vallah melodies are more diversified and with an occasional alternation of the slow parts with the usually faster refrain. Singing with trumpet accompaniment is gaining in popularity nowadays here with us. Like the first folk trumpeters from the times of Milos, contemporary ones are also mainly autodidacts having keen hearing, and are playing a huge repertoire of songs and dances by heart, and by the ear, improvising their interpretation spontaneously and from their soles and hearts. With the first orchestras, their members evolved as musicians and their number was invreasing. At the beginning the orchestras had five musicians, and the contemporary orchestras usually have up to ten musicians (three to four ”B” trumpets, three bass flugelhorns, one bass trumpet – helicon or euphonium, and, finally, snare drum and large drum with cymbals. Three regions clearly identified themselves by the style of their music, and are today three famous centers with the best trumpeters in Serbia today. Although the trumpet is not as deeply rooted in our people like the vocal music tradition, the fact is that those active in the field of culture have four decades ago broke the ground for trumpet music in tiny Guca. Since then, like awakening from a dream, trumpet music grew very quickly in those areas of western, eastern and southern Serbia in which the trumpet seed probably had already been thrown and did exist, and it also woke up during so many decades in the center of sumadija, where its seed was for the first time thrown in the far away year 1831.

Shake it Guca – Matija Beckovic

Mr. Matija BeckovicShake it Guca – Matija Beckovic

It is not habitual for the host to speak, except if hosting the Trumpeters Festival in Guca, where every guest becomes the host from the moment when he enters the world capital of trumpet. As the host among hosts, I asked how long should I speak. They answered like true hosts do – tell us how long you would like to speak. Well, then, with permission – listen and hear!

The trumpet has been in use by people and angels since ever, and never and nowhere without good reason. Here, in Guca, the trumpeters are among the first ones to take into their hands the trumpets, and they do so with one reason more.  They say that the first trumpet descended to Guca looking for a place from where it could be heard the farthest. All her sisters followed her in flocks and jointly thundered into the chest of Serbia.

The call of the trumpet made all that sounds and tunes in, all the quivers and joining quivers on that loud side with which all the sides are linked, all the languages, the skies and the earth, to start roaring, storming and weeping.

The people and those musicians without scores and those with musical notations in their soles swarm to follow the sound. And the sound which makes you tremble, is the sound of the mother whose son you are – so says the poet. So it happened that since the Festival in Zica we perhaps did not have a more joyful festival than the Festival in Guca! Life seeks an exit, and the sound seeks its rights.

The walls destroyed by the trumpets of Jericho, are destroyed also by the trumpets of Dragacevo, and this has been going on for forty two years now. In some places they call it Woodstock, in others Mariachi, or Band-aid, or Exit, but everybody knows that Guca is the exit and that the original sounds better.

What many intellectuals do not know, Serbian peasants did not forget. It is better to blow a trumpet, than to sniff glue! Therefore, we hardly do have something more urban and more superior than the Trumpeters Festival in Guca. Obviously, the world Festival in Guca is Serbian contribution to globalization. Namely, if we would join the European Community without our tunes and colors, without our name and memories, how would they know who came to them and what they brought with them?

From the old to the new era, from the goose-feather pen to the computers, from calls across across the hills to the mobile phone and e-mail – everything that was ever created has still been in the process of transformation and creation. And this is not a Festival, but rather a volcano of health and beauty, which was activated from the heart of Serbia. And new, young volcanoes always become active where the old ones were active, too.

There is nothing we did not use to make music with: the leaf, the comb, the glass, the hair, the nails, the fingers, the horns, the belt, the stones, the eye-lashes, the mustache. There is no tree from which we did not try to make a trumpet. And there are no two leaves that did not differ, nor two stones which did not make echoes in a different way. And everything that we see on the Earth, are instruments of the big and glorious people’s philharmonic orchestra. And to those trumpets which are today in Guca responding to the sun, this is what we must say: I know you, trumpet, when you used to be a willow tree!

The self-willed voices, the stubbornness of accents, the individuality of tunes – they will never cease to live and move human hearts. The biggest achievements of mind and hand which belong to the general spiritual property of mankind, all the immortal things which Earth gave to the skies, it related to the people and multiplied with the people!

Poets compared our embroideries with the wistfulness of Bach’s and Schuman’s solo violins. We know that embroidery, national costumes, folk dance, rituals, habit are also symbols with many meanings. But hundreds of thousands of participants in the Festival in Guca come to enjoy, dance and sing, and do not listen to interpretations!

Modern man has reached far, but it seems as if he noticed before reaching the aim that he did not take his heart and his soul with him.

And now, without these two, he does not care about the entire world. And this is where the deeper substance of the Festival in Guča is hidden. Not only by returning to oneself, but returning to joy and to the sense of living.

The State is what its music is – said Confucius 500 years B.C. If we only could say this for Serbia – how well off we would be! It is unbelievable that the State can be second-hand, and music original and authentic. Throwing garbage to the wells is one of the biggest disasters of our spiritual ecology. Famous is the case of the shepherdess which happened right here, sixty years ago. She allegedly started suddenly to call somebody from the Ovcar and Kablar mountains whose name nobody has ever heard before and to ask him nothing else but when he will be coming to Uzice, without asking why he should be in Uzice and whom he has there. This is how one of the most irrational creations emerged, which was sung for decades with most disastrous consequences. And nobody was wondering about those who forged this song, they were rather persecuting those who memorized the original.

Thanks God, everything ended well and at the 42nd Trumpeters Festival in Guca we heard the original version as if such wonder had never existed! Hence: Serbian Principle, accept us among the Serb people! Welcome and come with luck – and leave with even more luck!

Shake it, maple!
Matija BECKOVIC, poet and novelist Letter of the host at the opening of 42nd FESTIVAL 2002nd