Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Prima Donna: Zorica Andrijašević

The final of the 10th Hrvatski radijski festival - Croatia's largest pop competition - will be taking place in Trogir this weekend.

Among the 24 finalists (who include the Macedonian singer Toše Proeski, a widely-tipped duet between Lana Jurčević and Luka Nižetić, and Marko Perković Thompson with another song from his delayed Bilo jednom u Hrvatskoj project) is a familiar name from the 1990s Croatian dance scene, Zorica Andrijašević Donna.

Andrijašević's songwriting team, responsible for most of the songs on her comeback album Snovi (Dreams), are - to say the least - unusual for Croatian showbusiness: Serbian folk composer Zoran Lesendrić-Kiki and the best-known lyricist in Serbian showbusiness-folk, Marina Tucaković.

Closer co-operation with Croatian musicians would be nothing new for Tucaković, who wrote lyrics for a number of Croatian performers during the 1980s, including many songs for Tonči Huljić's group Magazin.

Interviewed about the album in Slobodna Dalmacija in April, Andrijašević was predictably told that 'the majority of people will connect it with turbofolk because it is characterised by the sounds of the Balkan and eastern melos', and asked whether she was 'afraid to record such an album in Croatia.'

For the record, she wasn't; and with Serbian folk music so fashionable in Croatia that tickets for a small-scale Seka Aleksić concert in the village of Sedramić were - reportedly - changing hands for as much as 700 kn last week, it'll be intriguing to see whether many more Croatian performers develop closer links with what are often said to be the Serbian 'originals'.

HRF is broadcast by Nova TV this year, the station which is currently the subject of interest from the Serbian channel (and proverbial home of turbofolk) TV Pink. The channel's owner, Željko Mitrović, has himself been interviewed in Večernji list on his transnational ambitions for the channel:

'It's no longer possible at all to establish a regional character for programming and tele-bridges without information from Zagreb. It seems to us that the entertainment content which would be produced there would be very significant, even if we do not establish a media system in Croatia in the near future.'

Mitrović is nonetheless optimistic about a Nova TV takeover, pointing out the disappointing financial performance of its owner Central European Media Enterprises (which continues to deny any interest in selling the station).

Asked, again, about TV Pink's association with turbofolk, Mitrović stresses that the station's programming has 'evolved so much in its 12-year life that it can be compared with the best-quality American and European programming', that only 5 hours of a possible 168 are devoted to folk music on the Serbian channel today, but that the target audience for 'that sort of programming' ranges from 30% to 70% in various states.

The Croatian media and blogosphere (not least the turbofolk and antiturbofolk blogs) will likely make their own assessment of where the domestic audience falls on a spectrum like that.

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At 5:20 am, June 15, 2006, Anonymous steve said...

Wow. I just listened to Zorica's album and it is a breath of fresh air compared to most other Croatian pop albums. Finally an album that doesn't sound like washed out American pop music. Are there other Croatian albums similar to this one or is this something new to the scene following the success of Moja Stikla? Either way I hope this trend continues, and maybe Croatian audiences won't have to listen to Serbian music to get their fill of pop folk..

At 2:50 pm, June 15, 2006, Blogger Catherine said...

Well, Alka Vuica, who's also Croatian, has been making pop-folk music for years anyway - not quite the same thing as Zorica's, but a lot closer to music from the Serbian/Greek/Turkish markets than a lot of Croatian pop has been.

There's also Vesna Pezo, who describes herself as 'the only female singer of narodnjaci [i.e. pop-folk] in Croatia' - but her music is (coincidentally or not) quite hard to find.

At 5:01 am, June 16, 2006, Anonymous steve said...

Alka's music is great except for that... voice. It scares me. I'd never heard of Vesna, but a quick goggle later and I can see it will be hard to find her music online, let alone here in Canada.

Oh well I guess in the meantime we can keep entertained by watching Severina straddle that 'fine line'..


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