Thursday, November 10, 2005

It's Nothing Personal, Brena

Generally, the Croatian press reduces the rich panoply of Despina Vandi cover-versions and Footballers' Wives-type dress sense that is Serbian pop into two particularly symbolic figures: Ceca Ražnatović and Lepa Brena.

Ceca becomes value-judgment cliché number one for well-trodden, widow-of-the-etc-etc reasons. That makes Brena, perhaps the most emblematic figure of 1980s 'newly-composed' consumer culture, value-judgement cliché number two. Brena's remembered, fondly or not, as a symbol of socialist Yugoslavia. Perhaps not unrelatedly, invoking Brena is the insult of choice to trot out against Croatian singers like Severina or Maja Šuput if they venture into similar musical territory.

Alka Vuica had Brena as a guest on her talk show Jedan na jedan in March this year, the singer's first public appearance in Zagreb since November 1990. Luckily for Alka, Jedan na jedan goes out on Croatia's first private TV channel, Nova TV. Acknowledging Brena's existence on Croatian state television HTV is apparently still another story.

HTV has come a long way from the Antun Vrdoljak 'cathedral of the Croatian spirit' era, or so it would like to think. But according to Novi list, plans for Brena to appear early next year on an HTV talk show Ništa osobno (Nothing personal), presented by Nives Ivanković, were too much for Aleksandar Kostadinov, head of entertainment at HTV and the man who, as head of Croatia's annual delegation to Eurovision, spent most of May 2004 receiving 'evils' from Ivan Mikulić.

Kostadinov told the newspaper: 'As long as I'm the editor of thr Entertainment Programme, Brena will not appear on it, so she won't appear on Ništa osobno either. It's not about her being politically unacceptable, because that's not the case, and I can cite [Serbian actress] Ljubiša Samardžić recently appearing on Večernja škola as an example. Simply, in my opinion there is no place for Brena's music, or in general the music which has characterised her, on HTV.'

So that's all right then, Aleksandar...


At 4:33 am, December 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck that, she is the best singer ever and will always be the best singer. Her songs rock and those primitive people need to get lives and stop teaching their children to hate others. It defeats the purpose of being Catholic.


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