Category Archives: All that Music

Dejan Petrovic Trumpet Master

Dejan Petrovic, the son and successor of the most famous Serbian trumpet player Mica Petrovic, was born in 1985 in the village of Duboko, near Uzice.

Dejan and his brother Darko belong to the fourth generation of trumpet players in their family of music manufacturers.The first one to start playing the trumpet was Dejan’s great grandfather Tanasije and since then the skill has been passed down from father to son. Tanasije’s successor was Danilo and then his son Mica, who deserves credit for the world fame of this instrument.

It is certain that he was a man ahead of his time – a visionary or an artist who knew how to use the God’s gift and who could touch the soul of any man just by a simple sound of the trumpet. He gave good guidance to his sons Dejan and Darko, who showed interest for music from an early age.

At the age of six, Dejan played for the first time in front of an audience and, instead of spending his childhood playing with his friends; he spent time with his father and his orchestra, learning the secrets and the beauty of music until he recognized them within his very soul.

By the age of twelve he had already had his own, junior orchestra. Unfortunately, four years later he lost his father and, a great burden which was not easy to carry, fell upon him. Nevertheless, he did not surrender. Strong-minded, he followed his father’s footsteps to the point when he had to go further and choose his own path. With a lot of hard work and efforts put in, with the help and support of his brother Darko and other members of the band, Dejan, a young trumpet player, won prestigious awards as well as hearts of the audience wherever he performed. Success followed success until finally he surpassed the achievements of his father at the competition in Guca in 2006, winning the “Master’s Letter”, the most prominent award at the competition. And so the twenty-year-old from the village of Duboko went down in history as the youngest Master of the Trumpet and as an artist with a potential to win the world in the same manner.

He always loved to “play” with music: to put together the disparate, to perform the unseen, to achieve the impossible; always following modern trends, but never losing touch with his origin, tradition and music that made him.

The name Dejan Petrovic became a synonym for traditional Serbian music everywhere in the world, often combined with modern elements and adjusted for everybody’s ear.

He is not called The Ambassador of the Serbian Trumpet for no reason!

For fifteen years now, one could hear the name Dejan Petrovic Orchestra in the finals of every trumpet orchestra competition in the country, but also abroad. This is the best proof of the quality and a driving force to go further, to wish, to work and to achieve even more.

Dejan Petrovic Orchestra exists since 1996 and its founder and mentor Mica Petrovic, was a master trumpet player and a legend of the Serbian trumpet playing. A group of beardless boys, led by Dejan Petrovic, since their very first competition participation, have been winning one award after another and hasn’t stopped yet on their way to the top. Always leaving their audience open-mouthed in amazement and exhilaration, they let everyone know that, behind this image of cute little boys, lies tremendous work and dedication to their call. The hearts of the audience were captured.

It took them five years to reach their maturity, to stop with the junior orchestra competitions and get to grips with much older and more experienced rivals. As it happens, quality prevailed. Unique and matchless, of a distinguished sound and image, Dejan Petrovic Orchestra stands firmly on the top of the Serbian trumpet scene. Having won everything there was to win, in 2010 Dejan and his orchestra decided to stop competing at the Guca festival, to give space to new, young orchestras and to move on.

It is no surprise that many influential people in the music and film industry have chosen this orchestra as their co-workers, Emir Kusturica being one of the most important one, who they have been working with for seven years now. They have made music for a number of his films and not a single Kustendorf festival took place without Dejan and his orchestra.

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.

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