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World Music CD Reviews Europe


By Michael Stone
Published June 27, 2006

Goran Ivanovic Group
Balkan Song

Combining party and wedding songs from Serbia, Bulgaria and Macedonia, assorted Latin, Gypsy, flamenco and klezmer strains, European classical influences and North American blues and jazz, the music of Goran Ivanovic reflects the life trajectory of the group’s leader and namesake. Born in Croatia to a Bosnian Croat mother and Serbian rock-musician father, Goran Ivanovic trained in classical guitar at Salzburg’s Mozarteum conservatory with Elliot Fisk and Joaquim Clerch. Now based in the United States, where his parents found asylum after their expulsion from Croatia, Ivanovic rounds out his quartet with saxophone, flute, bass and drums, and guests on violin and cello. The promise manifest in Ivanovic’s prior two guitar duet albums with Fareed Haque (Macedonian Blues and Seven Boats, the latter voted Album of the Year by Acoustic Guitar Magazine) is borne out in his self-produced debut as a leader. Ivanovic’s “White Walls” (a reflection upon NATO’s 1991 bombing of Belgrade) is a spare but restless fusion of the many threads running through his work, while “Seven Boats” and “Ederlezi” conjure up the sonic essence of the Levant.