Borat's Real-Life Brother Composes Music for Kazakhstan Orchestra

By: E&P Staff Erran Baron Cohen, brother of the actor Sacha Baron Cohen -- who created the hit film "Borat" -- has composed a 16-minute musical piece, "Zere,'' which is debuting at St. James's Church in London today. Here's the kicker: It will be performed by The West Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra.

Kazakhstan, of course, is the native country of Borat -- a traveling journalist -- and the butt of many jokes (some quite harsh, if funny). In fact, Erran Baron Cohen, a trumpeter, composed the score to his brother's movie.

He said that when he got a call from the conductor of the orchestra, Marat Bisengaliev, he at first "thought it might even be a joke. ... After I'd got over the initial shock of being rung up by someone from Kazakhstan, I thought it was a great accolade if they liked the music in the film so much that they asked me to write for a symphony orchestra,'' he told a London newspaper, the Daily Telegraph.

Sony has said it will release a CD of the music for the Kazkh orchestra. The piece incorporates Kazakh folk tunes and instruments. His music for "Borat" was actually based on gypsy music, but not Kazakh music.

"Zere" will receive its Kazakh premiere on Monday. Zere is the name of the Kazakh corporation that is sponsoring it. Cohen also writes other music for films and is part of a group called Zohar which has recorded two CDs.

The British press is also reporting today that Sacha Baron Cohen has signed to play the late Freddie Mercury in a biopic. He has claimed that he based Borat's look partly on the former Queen frontman.


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