An excellent soundtrack to one of the greatest movies of all time, Emir Kusturica’s Underground, aka Once Upon a Time There Was a Country.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing this film from the former Yugoslavia, the sound of the Gypsy brass band that is in virtually every other scene will be stuck in your head for months. The raucous sounding Kalasnjikov, which is heard throughout the film, is here, as is the haunting War, complete with a tragic children’s choir.
Here, rather than simply lift the songs from the soundtrack, many have been recreated and in some cases rearranged completely by Bregovic and his band.
Some songs are a beautiful fusion of Balkan folk with electronica, such as The Belly Button Of The World with great sounding Middle Eastern percussion as well as a pulsing electronic beat, which sounds oddly appropriate for a film that covers fifty years of the history of Yugoslavia.
Missing in action is the German hit song Lili Marleen that crops up throughout the film. First heard when the protagonist’s city falls to the Nazis and later when the Allies defeat them, it’s used throughout the movie to underscore the tragi-comic events. I’ve included it inside as a bonus track.
Lovers of traditional Balkan music, Euro-Folk, Klezmer or any exotic music will find this soundtrack enjoyable whether they’ve seen this film or not.