Monday, March 13, 2006

Turbofolklore: Aleksandar Kostadinov

Jutarnji list's detailed Štikla coverage continues with an extensive interview with HTV's head of entertainment, Aleksandar Kostadinov, who is naturally 'not surprised' at the weeks of Severina-related controversy and very satisfied that Dora was watched by 'more than half of Croatia'.

Asked whether Severina's song counts as 'ethno or turbo-folk, Kostadinov unambiguously replies:

'That song has nothing to do at all with turbo-folk. Turbo-folk is Serbian newly-composed music performed by, for instance, Lepa Brena and Jelena Karleuša. I don't like that sort of music, and I don't follow it.

--Still, many people have compared Severina and 'Moja štikla' with Lepa Brena and 'Sitnije, Cile, sitnije'. But, while you didn't let Lepa Brena appear on HTV in the autumn, at the same time you chose Severina to represent us in Eurovision. Can you explain that?

First of all, I have nothing against Lepa Brena. I don't even know her. I presume she's an OK person, her husband is [tennis player] Boba Živojinović... But, I consider there's no place for her songs on our national television station. As long as I'm the editor of entertainment programming, such songs will not be put on air.

Kostadinov is also asked to comment on whether 'Štikla' also contains elements of Montenegrin folklore, as claimed by another jury member Željen Klašterka. (In fact, Klašterka referred to elements from Montenegro and Herzegovina; and it may or may not be wise to advertise a Montenegrin connection right now.)

'Nobody is disputing that. In that song there are indeed traces of folklore from this region present. Derivaties of the ljerica and similar instruments also exist in a part of Montenegro, only they are differently used.'

Kostadinov continues by dropping hints that a 'euro-disco' remix of Štikla would be extremely well received, 'Not at [Zagreb turbofolk club] Ludnica if that's what you're thinking,' but at Euro-disco clubs 'with a slightly gay audience.'

On the first version of 'Moja štikla',

'The lyrics were different. The first version was about a Croatian sokol [falcon] and it was patriotic [domoljubna]. However, the melody itself stayed very similar, apart from the so-called Bregović break-beat. From time to time, he interrupts the basic melody with that beat and throws in 'kvrc-kvrc, štrc-štrc, sss-seks'... That's typical for him.'

In fact, for Kostadinov it seems to be precisely this contribution - itself controversial - which distinguishes 'Štikla from the dreaded turbofolk:

'Štikla is a pop song with a break beat which might remind [one] of Shakira [or] Bijelo dugme. There are people from Lado in the ensemble, and I don't know who associates Lado with turbo-folk. There's also a ljerica there, a specific instrument in the linđo, and rere which is sung in the Drniš, Zagora and Herzegovinan region.

'The boys were wearing costumes from the Neretva region. If someone associates those costumes with Serbia, I really can't help him. I don't understand the statement by [folk musician] Mojmir Novaković from Legen. Because, on 'Štikla' the ljerica plays a melody which, if you were to stamp your feet, is in fact the deaf kolo from Vrlika. And Mojmir, who made his career out of the deaf kolo, claims that 'Štikla' is turbo-folk. Anything!

And for the record? His own favourite was Massimo Savić.

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