Robert Rigney: Robert Soko is in Croatia at the moment and unable to make it to the interview. So it’just me for now. Do you know Robert Soko? Rodehihi: Yeah, yeah. He played with Pyramidos one night. Robert Rigney: I’ve been looking at videos of Pyramidos on Youtube. I particularly like your rendition of “Niška Banje”. Why did you decide to cover ...

It was 2004, and I decided to approach the Balkans from another end, this time through Bosnia. As I set forth from Berlin, I had a wavering vision of minarets and the old Turkish Baščaršija dreaming of Istanbul. I was impressed by the Bosnian notebooks of weird eastern motifs and secret Muslim villages  of Austrian artist and novelist,  Alfred Kubin. Prior to ...

                                      Snow dusts the ground on Ada Ciganli, Gypsy Island, a popular get-away on the banks of the Sava river, a short taxi ride from the center of Belgrade, where, after  a brief walk through darkened woods we reach a creaky wooden gangway leading to a rickety wooden houseboat with a sign in Cyrillic. Lighted windows blaze into the winter night and ...

Yesterday I biked around the Wannsee, to Potsdam and back to Berlin. Then I went to Isigym, boxed a little and rode my bike to Centrala just as the bar was beginning to get crowded. I pulled up on my bike in lederhosen shorts, blue Serbia  jersey and black wraparound shades - my usual summer attire. Szilvia stood behind the bar. ...

We had just passed the border and were still twenty kilometers from our destination, but as the Orient Express neared Edirne, the Selemiyi mosque with its floodlit dome and 70 meter high minarets, shone like a beacon into the night sky. This was as it was meant to be. The mosque – biggest in the Ottoman Empire; greater even than ...

I had come to northeastern Montenegro from Novi Pazar because I wanted to take the 1849 meter high Čakor mountain pass from Montenegro into Kosovo, winding through the Rugova gorge and ending up in Peć, Peja in Albanian, or Ipek as it was called in Turkish times. In 1915 a retreating and exhausted Serb army had passed over it in ...

A Serbian pundit of the nineties once said if you want to get to know the Oriental mindset, you needn’t travel to Turkey and make the acquaintance of any exotic Mehmet or Ahmed. Rather you need look no further afield  than the Serbs themselves.  This may come as a surprise to some Westerners, for whom the Serbs are supposed to be the guardians ...

Robert Soko: We are about to compose a book in the next year or two. Something similar to “Please Kill Me”. Robert Rigney: The Balkan version. Robert Soko: Yes, the Balkan version. Let’s say thirty years of Balkan mayhem.  Billy Gould: Cool. Robert Soko: And we are trying to get in touch with everyone who has something to say, on a bigger scale and ...

One Friday not long ago I met with Ero Behrić and Alen Hebilović – two erstwhile figures in Berlin’s Balkan party scene –  in a Turkish café on Oranien Straße, half an hour before cuma – Friday prayers – at the Bosnian mosque on Adalbert Straße near Kotti. They always had cuma at two o’clock at the Bosnian mosque, which was a convenient thing for ...

One day during one of my trips to the Balkans I found myself in the historical town of Ohrid on Lake Ohrid in western Macedonia. My idea was to go to Sveti Naum on the border to Albania, an ancient monastery where once a year thousands of Orthodox Christians gather, coming from all over the Balkans in their tour busses.Mungo Park “You have ...