There’s got to be something bright in your soul when you play, it’s a technique just to blow out a melody. A talent must be born. Let’s say, my son cannot blow it that way … I do not give in to these young people at all. The way my son plays and my grandson, no chances! They play a little bit and then they have to take a break, I can play continuously. I can play the trumpet for twelve hours. It’s from the depth of my heart and the soul. Thus used to speak now aged and ill Fejat, who for fifteen years has not played the instrument that used to be his life. He bears everything with peace, he does not show any anger or indignation by any of his gestures. Fejat was born in 1941 in Bojnik, a small place in the south of Serbia in a poor Romany family. He had two older brothers. His father was a trumpet player, he had only one trumpet, the foster trumpet, as he used to call it. When his father was not at home, Fejat used to go secretly with his father’s trumpet to the mouth of Brze in the Kamenica River and he used to practice there thus risking a lot, because if by any chance he had damaged the trumpet the whole family would have been left without any source of income. That did not prevent Fejat from practicing persistently. When he grew old enough his father entrusted him and not his elder brothers the leadership of the orchestra. But the reason my dad set me up for the leader has nothing to do with music. Being at the head of the orchestra meant first of all to find a job: negotiate, make deals and bargain, Fejat explains and adds: That first orchestra was useless, only later did I manage to create a real orchestra. Later, Fejat found out that his father had also used to steal the trumpet from his father and ran to the mouth of the river to play it where no one would hear him, and that his son Zoran also used to do. Fejat surpassed his father in every way. He achieved the worldwide glory, he played in many countries and became the synonym for the trumpet – the trumpet virtuoso, “the gentleman in a white suit” – as his colleagues called him. The Gentleman was under the wedding tents and on the big concert podiums as well. The success came vigorously, and with it the fame and money. From the swarthy gipsy boy from Bojnik, he reached the top not only of the public performances, but also of the prestigious world of ceremonies and festivals.
He delighted the cold Englishmen and the temperamental French, but also the Germans, Slovenians and many others. And he was always the same, whether he was playing at weddings or in front of the world elite. And he played to Tito, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Barton, Orson Wales, Queen Elizabeth II … he made music for Emir Kusturica’s film (Time of the Gypsies) and Žika Pavlovic’s film (Body Scent). He played with great music stars, domestic and foreign. Somebody asked him once for the rehearsals, when and how much they practiced … and I do not know what to answer. Should I lie or should I pretend to be naïve. Later I said to myself why to beat about the bush and I lied: we usually gather together at my place on the terrace. We all sit around and play for our soul. There’s also some brandy around. Sometimes we drink so much on those rehearsals of ours that some of us cannot find their own house… I went to Bulgaria at our neighbour’s so many times I cannot even tell. I liked England most. We played there at that main square. The English went crazy when they heard us playing.
And just in England, something unusual happened to him, the mayor of London, fascinated by Fejat’s gig and performance, offered Fejat a flat in London, but Fejat thanked him and without any hesitation refused the offer. He travelled around the whole world but has always remained bond to his birthplace, he needed nothing else except Bojnik, it was the starting point of life, music and tours. Then came perhaps the most important moment for their international career – the tour with the Gipsy Kings group. Chico from the Gypsies amazingly welcomed us and we immediately played Bamboleo. The situation developed as we could only wish for. In 2001 they crossed the ocean and went on a tour throughout Australia. After two weeks of constant travelling and performance Fejat suffered and survived a stroke. It was the end of the career for the king of the trumpet. The recovery lasted for a long time and he never recovered completely. His right hand remained paralyzed. It was over with the trumpet. Zoran took over the leadership of the orchestra, but that did not work out well and after one year the orchestra broke down. The grandson was still too young, and the son was not capable enough. The family was left without the income, so Fejat closed the circle.
He started as a poor boy and he would end up in poverty. Many wrote him off at those moments. He was no longer important to anyone, and those who did care could do so little. Despite all this, Fejat did not become disheartened, he did not lose his dignity and he asked nobody for help. After several years, his grandson Nebojša grew up and re-formed the orchestra. The trumpet could be heard again in the house of the Sejdics. Nebojša still has not reached his grandfather’s height and success, but he is on the right way to do so. He knows how to negotiate, to bargain, and this is as important as playing the trumpet well. Of course, there is also the name of Fejat Sejdic, which still means a lot in the world of music and it certainly makes it easier to work. And just there, at the end of Fejat’s life story we begin our film, and whether this is a swan song of Sejdic’s trumpets or a new beginning, time will show.
In the unique way, the film connects Fejat’s time when we lived in another,different and at first glance strong and great country, when people appreciated some other values to this present time in which his grandson lives and creates, the time when we lived life and the present time when we only talk about life, and all this through the career of several generations of Romany trumpet players. That trumpet may have been the only thing in common for these times, and it has remained to this day. The Mouth of the trumpet is a documentary that will try in a specific way to make a parallel between two generations, time and context. These are the two worlds, that Fejat’s one seems great and free, and this one today – Nebojša’s one, small and cramped, at first sight worse and harder for life. We will try to comprehend where dignity, honor and honesty have been lost at the transition between these two generations. In one word, where the Man disappeared, and again on the micro-plan within the Sejdić family, this Man still exists. Dignity, honesty, love and dedication have been carried over from generation to generation by education, genes or something else. The aim is that the viewer as well as we do search for the answer…