Balkan Melody

A whole life is collected together in the study of Marcel Cellier’s opulent villa. The frail musician looks back at his life with a glint in his eye.

His records hang on the wall – records that have sold millions. Slides, film and audio recordings of the trips he and his wife Catherine took through the Balkans fill the bookcases. The couple traveled some 65 times to Romania alone, searching for exceptional local music waiting to be introduced to Western audiences.

The filmmaker follows in the illustrious footsteps of the Celliers. He travels to the places where they have been making musical friends since the 1950s and goes in search of new musical treasures.

The past does not stand still in Balkan Melody; the new cannot exist without the old, and the synthesis between East and West is at least as important. All of this comes together wonderfully in the documentary.

The majestic Swiss Alps and the mysterious, misty Balkan hills, and Cellier’s organ music with Gheorghe Zamfir’s pan flutes. Together, they introduced a completely new sound that conquered the hearts of Western music lovers.

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Directed by Stefan Schwietert

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