A musical education: Q&A with Inspector Gadje

Not only did Inspector Gadje Balkan Brass bring big sound and soaring melodies to TEDMED 2014, they used their music to educate and inform. As Balkan music grows in popularity, the band pays homage to the often subjugated communities and cultures where it originated. We reached out to the band to learn more about their musical mission and philosophy.

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What motivated Inspector Gadje to perform at TEDMED?

Inspector Gadje Balkan Brass was born from a collaboration with the nonprofit Voice of Roma. Both the organization and the band use culture as a tool in the struggle against racism, spreading the cause of the Roma people far and wide by introducing the music and dance from the Balkans to the modern West and beyond. Performing at TEDMED introduced Inspector Gadje’s music and mission to a new and innovative audience – one that shares our vision for a healthier planet, be it through medicine, music, and/or social activism.   

What impact do you hope your performance will have?

We hope to spark an interest and curiosity about Balkan brass band music and the vibrant culture from which it originates. We respectfully present music from the Balkans while maintaining our own voice in the songs. We hope to impact our audience from head to toe – to tug the ear and the intellect, to reach the heart, and to move the body and spirit. For some, the music will resonate aesthetically, for others it will open broader cultural avenues. We hope our performances illuminate the joy, as well as the cultural struggle of the Balkans – expressed in recent wars and ongoing discrimination against Romani people.

What is the legacy Inspector Gadje wants to leave?

Inspector Gadje Balkan Brass hopes our audience stays engaged with the cultural issues introduced by our performance. We consider ourselves part of an ongoing exchange between the Roma and their allies abroad, and we hope to do justice to the beautiful music of the Balkans, while spreading the message of friendship and respect for the Roma people.