Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Slovenia Is The New Croatia

Welcome to anyone who came here via The Glory of Carniola with the promise of some 'occasional hot Slovenia action'. Topically, that's exactly what the Gazette had had planned for today in any case.

The buxom career of Slovenian turbo-polka singer Natalija Verboten has turned into sovereign Carniolan territory. However, no such diplomatic niceties apply to Natalija's fellow Slovenian schlager-starlet Rebeka Dremelj, whose new album Pojdi z menoj hit Slovenian record stores late this month.

Rebeka's a former Miss Slovenia (2001, if anyone's counting), who eased herself into music by way of Slovenia's annual Eurovision pre-selection contest, EMA, debuting in 2004 with Ne boš se igral, and following up this year with the camp-as-Christmas Pojdi z menoj. In preparation for her CD release, she's been a busy ex-beauty-queen all summer, and appeared at the Sunčane Skale festival in Herceg Novi, Montenegro, with a three-minute Latino-schlager number called Daj mi, daj.

The Gazette would have loved to hear an opinion on this from none other than the great Severina, who showed up in the Croatian version of EMA five years ago (Dora, since you ask) with a three-minute Latino-schlager number also called Daj mi, daj.

The case for the prosecution would like to add here that Daj mi, daj Sr is chiefly memorable for Seve's green dress and her vaguely Mexican male dancers in black satin. How did Rebeka stage Ne boš se igral? Not, by any chance, in a green dress and circled by vaguely Mexican dancers in black satin? Wow. Wasn't that a lucky guess?

Six months' Dremelj-watching has proved that just when you think she couldn't go any further over the top, she turns up the kitsch crescendo even higher: and so to her latest single, Slovenski superboy (to be found via her website, should anyone care to indulge). Its blend of synthesised strings, accelerating folk-style rhythms, and words which are primarily there to rhyme with each other ('Ti si moj moj moj / slovenski superboy / ti si moj heroj...') is driving Slovenians to distraction as the Gazette writes. It's also been driving Croatians to distraction for at least the last ten years.

Whether in the early 90s, as music critics in Croatia like to claim, or before that too (qv. tracks like Magazin's mid-80s Istambul), Croatian pop started to pick up elements of Bosnian and Serbian newly-composed folk music, and when Croatian pop picks something up, it finds it hard to let go. Songs like Slovenski superboy were two-a-kuna from '95 to '98 or so, not least in the Tonči Huljić-launched repertoire of Minea, whose first two CDs sound as if they're Slovenski superboy's older, blonder cousin who gets to stay out late. Track down her songs Good boy or Mornaru moj for further illustration: it's sheer luck that Huljić and Minea never felt like a Hrvatski superboy, especially since it would have rhymed with most of her songs back then.

Severina commonly gets said to be a Croatian variant of Lepa Brena, while there's endless Ceca-comparison potential in the siliconetastic Ivana Banfić. In fact, Serbian pop seems to consist entirely of Brena and Ceca as far as most Croatian papers are concerned, with the corollary that some seem to think Croatian showbiz is composed entirely of Brena-and-Ceca-wannabes.

Even if that were the case, Croatia isn't doing too badly at exporting them back. Dremeljica's assault on the Croatian market, on the same principle, can be only a matter of time...


At 6:35 pm, October 28, 2005, Blogger Yakima_Gulag said...

Hi I actually visited because of Gordy! But I'm a Carniola regular too!


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