Q&A with Croatian blues duo of Bok Blues (Zoran Haramincic & Davor Buncic), original blues music inspired by love

"Some music genres are joyful when young and get heavier and harder during the time. I think that Blues is fresh as it was at the beginning. Every generation transfers a part of older music styles to the next generation. No fear for the Blues!"

Bok Blues: Original Blues Experience

Bok Blues presents original blues music inspired by love and many more additional feelings people experience when in love. Bok Blues, comprises Zoran Haramincic – Hara, composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and Davor Buncic – Buna, vocalist, lyricist, harmonica player. Both are veteran members of the Croatian blues scene, and currently are the songwriting members of BE HA VE, a blues band which plays original songs in Americana and blues styles. Bok blues enthused the jury and organizers at the 12th Croatian Blues Challenge (12th CBC) in Zagreb in 2019 and as the winning performer, gained the right to represent Croatia and the Croatian Blues Forces (HBS), an association licensed for the Blues Challenge, at the international blues competition in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

(Photo: Croatian blues duo of Bok Blues, comprises Zoran Haramincic – Hara, composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and Davor Buncic – Buna, vocalist, lyricist, harmonica player.)

Bok Blues ranked semifinalists at the 37th International Blues Challenge in May 2022, for the 37th time in the cradle of blues and the city where Rock ‘n’ Roll originated – Memphis. Hara & Buna as Bok Blues will be the Croatian participation at the European Blues Challenge, Chorzów/Poland (June 1-3, 2023).

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Buna: It is always fun to play our original music and try to transfer our feelings to the audience. Every audience and every venue is different. Good thing about performing Blues music is that the audience knows what to expect. And every time in a different way. And those small differences are the key in presenting original Blues music.

Hara: Since I was child, I try to listen and play blues. Last year we had opportunity to play in Memphis, and this year we will play in Chorzow.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

Buna: Bok Blues don't use many sound effects, so our sound is a bit raw. A guitar and a voice is quite enough to convey a message we would like to. Inspiration is all around us. And it is quite difficult to recognize when inspiration will hit us. Usually, we are not making songs together. We are making notes about new songs, send to each other. And when we manage to rehearse, make arrangements and final agreement about song structure. And then we make recordings.

Hara: Blues is a form of music you (I) can't make by request, so every song has it's own way of living...

Why do you think that the Blues music continues to generate such a devoted following in Europe?

Buna: Specificity of the Blues music is that Blues hits directly into the heart. Everybody can feel it. And when felled once, try to repeat that feeling over and over again.

Hara: Apart that blues origins from South of USA, people in Europe are generally more open to other styles of music and blues as well.

"Bok Blues don't use many sound effects, so our sound is a bit raw. A guitar and a voice is quite enough to convey a message we would like to. Inspiration is all around us. And it is quite difficult to recognize when inspiration will hit us. Usually, we are not making songs together. We are making notes about new songs, send to each other. And when we manage to rehearse, make arrangements and final agreement about song structure. And then we make recordings." (Photo: Zoran Haramincic – Hara & Davor Buncic – Buna)

What would you say characterizes Croatian blues scene in comparison to other European scenes?

Buna: Every region has their own stories and cultural heritage. I think it could be recognized, not only in our way of composing and performing, but in all areas.

Hara: Croatia is relatively small country, but we have, lat's say, 10 regions, which are different..

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Buna: We booked a recording in the Sun studio in Memphis, but unfortunately, the staff got sick, and we didn't manage to realize it. I Hope we will someday.

Hara: when we played in Memphis (3 gigs) on IBC, it was in bars... Every time we played people came from street and ask other people "who are these guys", because we played a little different as they used to...

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Buna: Some music genres are joyful when young and get heavier and harder during the time. I think that Blues is fresh as it was at the beginning. Every generation transfers a part of older music styles to the next generation. No fear for the Blues!

Hara: I missed jamming...there are not supposed to be in these days.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Buna: Enjoy every moment of creating, recording and performing your original music. Relax. Inspiration will come. But immediately whistle, hum, sing the melody to your dictaphone, immediately write down the lyrics you have in your mind. Inspiration comes and goes. In a few minutes it disappears from the memory. And always keep your first and original idea.

Hara: I play music for over of 55 years (and record more than 35... ), but every time I go on gig (or in studio), I have a little dose of "Stage freight"...

Bok Blues - Home

(Photo: Croatian blues duo of Bok Blues, comprises Zoran Haramincic – Hara, composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist and Davor Buncic – Buna, vocalist, lyricist, harmonica player.)

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