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Ferus Mustafov



Mustafov is the leading exponent of gypsy wedding music in Macedonia, a style of music which is propelled by electric bass and guitar, drums, keyboards and accordion, all competing to reach ever more dizzying speeds.

A saxophonist and clarinettist, Mustafov, based in Sutka, the gypsy suburb of Macedonian capital Skopje (population approximately 50,000) comes from a traditional gypsy music family. Indeed his father, the celebrated Ilimi Jasarov, was the first to introduce saxophone to the wedding music format. Since the early 70s he has released a substantial body of work documented by a vast (generally cassette only) discography.

Ora i Coceci is one of the best examples, pairing the artist with simple accordion and bass guitar backing as he embarks on a series of taksmis, or improvisations.

Each of these releases regularly sells over 100,000 copies, but Mustafov is distinct from much of the rest of the gypsy community by dint of his advocacy of unstinting application (he is practically unique in abstaining from alcohol) and divergence from established approaches.

In the late 80s he built his own six-track studio in his bedroom, using it to record a compilation of gypsy artists from the area titled Ferus Mustafov & His Guests: 1 + 4 - a best-selling album featuring Kurtis Jasarov, Medo Cun and Demir Agusev in addition to himself and his father. Though still only available on cassette, it achieved domestic sales equivalent to a platinum award. He started his own label, FM Records, in 1992, purchasing improved studio equipment and relocating his studio. This allowed him to record the excellent Najgolemi Hitovi (The Biggest Hits) in 1993, where his recent experiments in delay, sustain and echo were married to contemplative clarinet passages influenced by Turkish/Muslim clarinettist Mustafa Kanirali.

Mustafov also works as the musical editor for the gypsy programming at TV Macedonia, though his selection of artists has earned scorn from the more puritanical members of the Macedonian gypsy community, who consider Bulgarian and Turkish influences in his music and personal tastes to be dilution of his heritage.

Despite this, and the fact that many critics reserve judgement on his output since the mid-80s, he is undoubtedly the music's most famed and important protagonist.
Ora i Coceci (Horas And Belly Dance Music) (RTB 1984)
Ferus Mustafov & His Guests: 1 + 4 (Diskos 1989)
Najgolemi Hitovi (The Biggest Hits) (FM 1993)
King Ferus (Globestyle 1995)