Emir Kusturica No Smoking Orchestra

Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra bring their boisterous sound on their first North American tour.

Highly praised as a filmmaker, Kusturica created the acclaimed The Time of Gypsies and holds two Golden Palms from the Cannes Film Festival. In the late 1990s Kusturica joined forces with The No Smoking Orchestra as the guitarist and the band went on to increasing international fame. The spontaneous theatricality that defines Kusturica's films also permeates his musicianship, resulting in high-energy, eclectic performances with unadulterated, unpredictable showmanship.

The band emerged in 1980s Sarajevo in the former Yugoslavia as part of a cultural resistance movement called "new primitivism," heavily inspired by rebellious icons such as The Clash and The Sex Pistols. The group makes a colossal party out of bawdy humor, political satire, and widespread absurdity, fusing a gypsy brass band with folk-punk rock.

After two years of live performances in small Sarajevo concert halls, in 1984 the No Smoking (which musical critics have defined as a Gypsy techno-rock band) recorded their first album, "Das ist Walter". One of the songs in the album, "Zenica blues", was soon to hit the top charts in Yugoslavia with more than 100,000 copies sold. In the same period, the band appeared on a TV serial, "Surrealist Top List", a fake newscast that was actually a savage satire of Yugoslav politics. The trouble for the band started when its leader, Dr Nele Karajilic, made ironic remarks on Marshal Tito's death at a lively performance before a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters.

Looking for more information including sound and video clips? Check out The Artistic Director's Guide to the Festival.

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