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Today we have a guest recommendation from Nathaniel Naddaff-Hafrey, the erstwhile publisher of, whom you can follow on Twitter.
Today we’re listening to the legendary Yugoslavian guitarist Branko Mataja. Mataja, who died in 2000 after a life involving forced migration and a stint as a slave laborer in an Axis work camp, was self-taught and largely unknown until posthumous discovery.1 Resettled in Los Angeles, he recorded and self-published two vital albums including Traditional And Folk Songs of Yugoslavia (1974). Equally worthy is the recent issue of Over Fields and Mountains (2022). The music, recorded on a homemade guitar, is virtuosic but accessible: a shimmery, meditative swirl of guitars washed in tank reverb. Think Morricone and Dick Dale soundtracking the wedding scene from a Balkan remake of The Godfather, with acid tabs on their tongues and nostalgia for the homeland in their hearts.
Have a great Thursday.