A famous Gipsy singer, Šaban Bajramović, died yesterday in his hometown Niš due to a heart attack complications. I don't think that many of you know about him, but in Serbia he was well known.
Wikipedia says that he finished only four years of primary school and then started his music education on the street, as many of his fellows. Spent 5 years in prison Goli otok (an island in Adriatic sea, mostly for political convicts) because of deserting from army. Because of a girl. There, he was a member of football team, and, more important, a member of prison orchestra where they played, among other things, jazz. Once he said that Goli otok prison was a university of a life where he adopted his philosophy. He has said that person who was never in jail is not a person at all.
It is believed that he composed around 650 compositions, among them probably his most important and well known song "Djelem, djelem". This song became official anthem for all Romany nation in the world. He had a band called Black Mamba for about 20 years and played with them in all important festivals, mostly in Europe.
His unique style in singing attracted other music bands to invite him to sing on their concerts and be a guest singer in their albums. One of the examples of that cooperation was with Croatian band Cubismo, they play Cuban music and he sang two songs in their album Amigos – "Geljam dade" and "Djelem, djelem", rearranged to sound as latin jazz songs.
I was never a big fan of him but I liked to be in concerts where he sang, mostly as a guest. Last time I was in Novi Sad in a summer beer festival (2007) where he was a star of the day. His concert was supposed to last for about one and half hour but when, after 3 hours we decided it was time to go home (it was 1 in the morning), he was still singing. That was Šaban Bajramović.
In following video he sings "Djelem, djelem" rearranged as latin rhythm, along with Josipa Lisac:
"Djelem, djelem, lungone dromensa
Maladilem bakhtale Romensa
A Romale katar tumen aven,
E tsarensa bahktale dromensa?
A Romale, A Chavale
Vi man sas ek bari familiya,
Murdadas la e kali legiya
Aven mansa sa lumniake Roma,
Kai putaile e romane droma
Ake vriama, usti Rom akana,
Men khutasa misto kai kerasa
A Romale, A Chavale"