Friday, October 13, 2006

For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Ederlezi

The Gazette is dragging itself into the blogged-to-death topic of UK comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat character, the spoof Kazakh news reporter whose US-travelogue TV sketches have been expanded into the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Baron Cohen's seemingly random choice of Kazakhstan provoked a detailed rebuttal earlier this month from the country's ambassador to London. The recent Kazakh historical epic The Nomad, which retells the national myth of 18th-century proto-Kazakh tribes uniting against the Mongols, has also been interpreted as a reaction to Borat - although makes it clear that The Nomad was well in the can before Borat the film appeared.

Today's Večernji list helpfully presents a full tracklist for the Borat film's soundtrack CD, officially titled - deep breath - 'Borat: Stereophonic musical listenings that have been origin in moving film 'Borat: Cultural learinings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan'. Kazakh music is conspicuous by its absence: instead, the soundtrack emphasises Balkan and Roma music, with featured artists including Macedonian Roma singer Esma Redžepova, Macedonian Roma brass band Kočani orkestar, Romanian manele star Stefan de la Barbulesti, Romanian Roma-fusion group Mahala Rai Banda and - a byword for cinematic musical essentialisation - Goran Bregović's Ederlezi.

With a soundscape like this, Baron Cohen's Kazakhstan seems to be an extension of the abstract, orientalised British 'Balkans'
- including various Ruritanias, Herzoslovakias and (I'm afraid) Illyrias.

From which perspective, something like this or that presumably just wasn't sufficiently Kazakh...

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At 10:44 pm, October 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are more relevant links for 2 of the featured bands: and . More details on

At 11:15 pm, October 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how 'Gdjorgiev Dan' ends up being called 'Ederlezi' oh well, it's a LOVELY tune.
Central Asian music is beautiful and IS NOW AVAILABLE out there, not that I object to employment for all the Balkans musicians employed in this film! They do need the money and the exposure is a good thing too!

At 4:17 pm, October 17, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

Fair point, although I'm not sure MRB are best pleased about it?

Thanks for the new links, Anonymous!

At 6:10 pm, November 07, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ederlezi and Djurdjev dan are the same tune. Djurdjev dan being Goran Bregovice's adaption for the rock band Bjelo Dugme.

I have to say that I'm very dissapointed, though, in Bregovic for selling rights for Ederlezi to the Borat movie. For a start, its not his to sell, he took it from Roma of the Balkans, which was fine when used in serious movies such as "dom za vesanje", but its a pity for such a beatiful Roma song to be associated with ridicule and to be sold by the person who stole it in the first place.

At 4:10 am, December 02, 2006, Anonymous Katja said...

I love that tune, and I agree it was wrong for Bregovic to sell the rights, for what wasn't his in the first place. Thanks for the clarification on the title too! :)


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