Born to a Croatian father and Serb mother, composer-guitarist-bandleader Goran Bregovic brews a jolting stew of Balkan traditions that demonstrate -- often in a hilariously raucous way -- the deep rapport between the mottled musical customs of his home region and places far afield.
Best known for his score for director Emir Kusturica's 1988 film "Time of the Gypsies," the Paris-based Bregovic brought his 20-member Wedding & Funeral Music Orchestra to Royce Hall on Friday and Saturday for two UCLA Live performances that were equal parts celebratory and spellbindingly soulful.
On Friday, the question for the uninitiated might have been where the wedding ends and the funeral begins; the funky, dolorous tone of these tuba-heavy tunes bore striking similarity to that of New Orleans' marching memorial bands.
Bregovic's music, as heard on the orchestra's latest full-length collection, "Alkohol," radically remaps old borders. On Friday, that marching band brass fearlessly interrupted dignified, pensive pieces by the orchestra's string quartet. The collision produced outlandish new harmonies that were complicated further with the introduction of a hammering bass drum and Bregovic's electric guitar.