Roman Bunka

Artist of the Month | July 2012


Roman uses the Pure Mini in his guitar:

“Since the early 70′s I have tried a lot of pickups but I was never really satisfied with their sound. The K&K Pure Mini pickup sure is another thing, especially with the Pure Preamp. When I tried the system for the first time I was totally surprised how natural my acoustic guitar sounds. I will now even try the K&K Pure Mini with my arabic ouds. I’m extremely picky about their sound.”

Born in 1951, Roman Bunka’s biography may be considered a chapter in contemporary German music history. Working with the pioneering German rock-jazz and world-music group Embryo he broke new ground with his Eastern-influenced guitar playing and composing.

In 1976 he performed in concert for the first time with world-renowned percussionist Trilok Gurtu in India. In the seventies and eighties he performed with Embryo in India, Afghanistan, Turkey and Marocco.

To pursue his musical development in a microtonal and modal direction, Bunka discovered the Arabic lute or Oud, the fretless mother of the guitar.

His first solo album presented a blend of avant-garde rock with Oriental melodies. After concerts with Okay Temiz in Turkey, Bunka chose Cairo as his musical refuge in the Arab world during the eighties. There he met the immensely popular Egyptian singer Mohammed Mounir. They began a collaboration that was to influence the course of Egyptian pop music.

With solo-concerts in Tunis, Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Beirut and Sanaa, Bunka brought his very personal journey to explore the world of Oriental music closer to a growing world-music audience. Bunka composed and produced film music for directors Heiner Stadler, Frieder Schlaich, Fritz Baumann, Maria Knilli, Josef Rödl, Herbert Brödl, Werner Penzel and Doris Dörrie.

His award-winning work also includes the live recording of his project “Color Me Cairo” featuring the Fathy Salama Ensemble from Egypt and Malachi Favors from the legendary “Art Ensemble of Chicago.”

Crossing over to yet another media, Bunka composed the music for several radi -plays. He performed and recorded with the German Ethno-pop group “Dissidenten,” “Ich und Ich,” Flamenco legend Tomatito, argentinian guitarist Luis Borda, saxophonists Charlie Mariano, Edgar Hofmann, John Tchicai, Monty Waters and Roland Schaeffer, clarinet virtuoso Gabrielle Mirabassi, nay-player Abdallah Helmi, the singers Stepanida Borisova, Sainkho Namchilak, Fadia El-Hage, Jeanne Lee, Lidia Borda, Mohamed Badawi and Hamid Baroudi, percussionists Limpe Fuchs, Rhani Krija, Lassad Hosni, Ramesh Shotam, Salah Ragab, Pierre Favre and Bijan Chemirani, bassists Ronan Guilfoyle and Norbert Dömling, pianist Mal Waldron, the Iraki Djose-player Bassem Hawar and the egyptian violon-virtuoso Abdo Dagir.

He also participates in the projects of the contemporary European composers Rupert Huber, Jürgen Grözinger and Klaus Huber.

“… there, between his fingers, the modi and scales of the arabic mystic meet with the electrifying ease of the urban Bluesmen. Roman Bunka is the mediator and the center of a world-music fusion, call it success, joy or utopia if you want to describe it!”

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