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Top Pick: Funky Band International - the FBI in Slovakia

A LOVE of music and collective memories of Berkeley College of Music in Boston are the reasons why the quintet Funky Band International (FBI) exists. FBI are ready begin a countrywide tour, starting in the town of Šahy on January 21, and they promise Slovak audiences that this is just the beginning of a musical adventure.
"This is going to be for the first time that we play as a band. The idea came from Johan Svensson, an excellent drummer from Sweden, I played with in Germany. He invited singer Freedom Bremner and convinced him to come here by promising him a great atmosphere," says Juraj Burián, the Slovak member of the band.


Juraj Burian - guitarist and founder of the FBI band
photo: Courtesy of Juraj Burian

A LOVE of music and collective memories of Berkeley College of Music in Boston are the reasons why the quintet Funky Band International (FBI) exists. FBI are ready begin a countrywide tour, starting in the town of Šahy on January 21, and they promise Slovak audiences that this is just the beginning of a musical adventure.

"This is going to be for the first time that we play as a band. The idea came from Johan Svensson, an excellent drummer from Sweden, I played with in Germany. He invited singer Freedom Bremner and convinced him to come here by promising him a great atmosphere," says Juraj Burián, the Slovak member of the band.

FBI's musicians have played with different bands and have collaborated with world famous stars. Freedom Bremner comes from New York, and has worked with David Bowie, Patty Labelle, and Paul Young. Marc Decore, on bass guitar and keyboards, is a member of Britney Spears' backing band, and Johan Svenson played with Joe Zawinul and Gary Burton.

Before arriving in Berkeley in 1992 and performing in the All Stars Guitar Ensemble, Juraj Burián attended the Music Conservatory in Bratislava. He started to play professionally at the age of 18, and performed with many local bands. But Berkeley was his key for understanding music as global art: "When I saw that the roof was really low and I was not able to get up, I decided to go abroad. Berkeley helped me a lot in understanding music".

They play mostly funk influenced by other genres and especially by the performance itself. "Concerts last for two hours. We also play lyrical songs and there is a lot of space for instrumentals. It is also a little 'rockish' and since this is an international band, there may be some folk improvisations. It depends on the atmosphere," says Burián.

"I'm very glad to be here, and we expect to have a good time and to produce good music. These musicians really have a lot of positive energy to transfer to the public. Johan played with me a couple of times here, so he knows what he can expect."

After the tour, Marc Decore will perform on the David Letterman show. However, Burián is sure that they will visit Slovakia again: "Definitely we will come again. Of course, Britney won't be so busy. Yeah, this is only the beginning."

By Mirna Solić


CONCERTS

KOŠICE, Jan 22 at 19:00, Sk90
Agentúra Ges, Nám. L. Novomeského 13. Tel: 055/7299-211

ŽILINA, Jan 24 at 20:00, Sk100-130
Rondel Klub, Rondel 23. Tel: 041/7641929

BRATISLAVA, Jan 29 at 20:30, Sk100-200
Charlie's Pub, Špitálska 4. Tel: 02/52925319

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