Ognjen i prijatelji (Ognjen and Friends) performs interesting and original music, a combination of traditional music of Balkan roots with the elements of jazz and other popular genres of 20’ century. The sound of their music on the “Benzen jazz” album is a bit different than on previous albums, because Latino American rhythms dominate.
During his studies in Munich, clarinetist Ognjen Popovic began to compose folk music with the elements of the Balkan music. Nostalgia, as a source of inspiration, drove him to a bunch of notes, crossing traditional folklore with elements of classical music. In his city Pancevo he formed a band Ognjen and Friends in 1998. Ognjen Popovic works as a composer, arranger and soloist on three instruments: clarinet, saxophone and kaval. They performed in Pancevo, Belgrade, Nis (Nišvil Jazz Festival), Vrsac, Loznica, Novi Sad (Interzone Festival) and other cities in Serbia, Hungary, Germany…The ensemble has participated in the event Days of Belgrade in Vienna in September 2002. In December 2003 the band performed four concerts in Russia, in the Days of Culture of Serbia and Montenegro in the Russian Federation. They were part of the artistic delegation of Serbia and Montenegro at the Summer Olympic Games in Athens in the 2004th year.
The first CD of the ensemble Ognjen and Friends entitled "Balkan Rumba" (B92, 2001) was met with an extremely well received by audiences and critics. Greater recognition of the group has gained by representation in concert and on CD-ROMs "Serbia Sounds Global 1, 2," produced by B92. CD "Brother Frate," released in 2002 shows a constant growth path of this remarkable ensemble. CD, titled "Tandara mandara" was released in early 2005 year.
Ognjen ensemble members and friends are:
Ognjen Popovic, clarinet, saxophone, compositions and arrangements
Bojan Nikolic, accordion
Ksenija Milosevic, violin, vocals
Aleksandar Grujic, piano
Mihajlo Jovic, the drum
Vladimir Jankovic, guitar
Samu Kish, clarinet
Free Geric, bass
Goran Milosevic, percussion, vocals
Vladimir Ružicic, drum
Government John, percussion, vocals