Monday, May 22, 2006

High Heels And Falcons

Might the Štikla momentum die down after Severina's undignified Eurovision experience? Perhaps; or perhaps not. Severina's forthcoming album will continue the collaboration with Goran Bregović which arose from Štikla, suggesting a change of tone from her 2004 comeback CD, the R&B-influenced Severgreen.

More immediately, Štikla is finding an afterlife or two - in a club remix that was completed too late to be sent to Eurovision, and in its first version with patriotically-themed lyrics which were rejected when the song was rearranged in February. (And given the potential for politicised readings of an entry like that, it might have been just as well.)

News of the first version, then called Hrvatski sokole (Croatian falcon), first broke around the time of Dora, but the song was only played today on Zlatko Turkalj's Turki party radio show - with Turkalj considering that Moj sokole (My falcon) would have the potential to be a hit in its own right.

In the meantime, Jurica Pavičić in Jutarnji list reflects on the significance of Štikla itself, reaching the conclusion that 'tonight in Athens one epoch for Croatian culture is coming to an end, and another is beginning.'

Not only was Severina's song 'the most commented-on and disputed song in the whole history of Croatian pop music' (and the Gazette doesn't need much convincing of that), but it would be hard to overstate its importance in a redefinition of Croatian culture:

'A song which in its first line contains a motif of trade (a high-heeled shoe), and then immediately a rustic-peasant motif of grass and a lawn, served as a collective catalyst which enabled the vast majority of Croats to let out their own cultural traumas. To all those who have suppressed the Balkans into themselves for 15 years, who took care not to be heard listening to narodnjaci, for their neighbours not to see them coming back from the village, to all those who suppressed their štokavski accent and tried to speak the city way, Štikla brought them all collective therapy. Thanks to Štikla, Croats could finally - to use gay vocabulary - "out" themselves: for the first time, they could admit to themselves and others that they were from the Balkans.'

How Štikla might be (re)assessed after its result in Athens remains to be seen. As Pavičić pointed out in his article published on Saturday itself: 'If it does badly, conservative Croatia will say "We told you so". If it does well, the same "common sense" will say "Look what Europe wants from us, folklore and folk singers [cajke].'

And if it finishes slap in the middle of the scoreboad? Wait and see.

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At 3:42 am, May 24, 2006, Blogger Chig said...

I was rather taken aback - and very pleased - to discover today that my Dad (66), who watched Eurovision having not heard or seen any of the songs, rated Croatia as his number one favourite on one viewing. It remains my favourite of the whole 37 this year too, despite me being shown one of Severina's less artistic works on someone's laptop on Saturday. (I didn't ask - he just showed me, and it was definitely her, even from that angle.) There's either something in our family's genes, or Moje Stikla DOES have a wideranging appeal, even in the West. I think Croatia suffered for being moved directly into the final. The extra exposure in the qualifier on Thursday helped all ten of those songs finish above Croatia. Damn those Serbs for pulling out!

At 1:07 pm, May 24, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

To be fair, everyone who rated Stikla that highly before Eurovision had probably heard it a hundred times beforehand... she couldn't match the Finns in terms of spectacle of course, and Andre obviously gave the audience a more immediate sort of ethno-kitsch.

She could have sold the 'Afrika, paprika' line rather better, though... did we really need to see Severina taking her clothes off again?

At 9:07 pm, May 25, 2006, Anonymous SeveFanClub said...

Dear Catherine, we could't find any e-mail of yours, or some contact (MSN, ICQ...) so we contact you by this comment. We would be very pleased if you contact us at our mail (same for MSN)! Thank you!


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