Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Let's Take It From The Top

The Zagreb summer-break spirit seems to have infected the Gazette, which is slowly rediscovering its work ethic just as Catherine starts to wind down hers and think about spending a few days looking around castles in the Zagorje.

In approximately chronological order, these would probably have been full-length posts, if I'd had my act together.

Severina performed her summer season with her leg in plaster after an accident roller-skating in the dark, and revealed quite in passing to Jutarnji list that the team for her new album, due out at the end of the year, consists of Moja štikla's arranger Goran Bregović alongside Marina Tucaković, one of Serbia's most prolific pop/folk lyricists. Even more in passing, she described her 2000 hit Ajde, ajde, zlato moje as 'on the borders of turbofolk', although somehow that's less of a surprise than the Tucaković link-up.

Severina's pre-Bregović version of Štikla, the less comically folkloric Moj sokole, has had the sort of airplay one would expect from a summer hit by one of the most famous women in Croatia. Štikla, on the other hand, has not. Hari Mata Hari's Lejla, on the... third?... hand, has had more airplay than both songs put together. Which of the three would a visiting Martian think had been Croatia's Eurovision entry?

The fifteenth anniversary of Operation Oluja and the end of the Homeland War was marked by an official ceremony in Knin, and an all-day celebration in Čavoglave culminating in a concert by the village's most famous branitelj, Marko Perković Thompson. Thompson's own album, due late last year, may be delayed again now that he and his wife are expecting their third child - to be called Jelena if a girl (after the queen?), and Ilija for a boy (after the saint?).

The onset of Bosnian elections nautrally meant a race for the Croat parties to sign up famous musical names from the domovina. As of Večernji list's article in late August, Hrvatska koalicija (the Croatian Coalition) was counting on three acts who had all, in their time, been the biggest name in Croatian showbusiness ethnopolitics: Thompson, Miroslav Škoro and Prljavo kazalište. HDZ-BiH scooped up most of the other Herzegovinan pop singers of the moment, among them Mate Bulić, Ivan Mikulić, and girlband Feminnem.

Back in May, the Gazette's eye was caught by the line-up for Croatian singer Zorica Andrijašević's forthcoming album, namely, the Serbian folk songwriting team of Zoran Lesendrić-Kiki and Marina Tucaković (again). Andrijašević has now gone one better, according to this week's Arena magazine, and signed for the Serbian folk label Grand Productions - only the second Croatian singer to do so, says Arena, with the first being Siniša Vuco.

As East Ethnia reported at the time, three of Croatia's best-regarded alternative acts - TBF, Let 3, and Damir Urban - withdrew from Zadar's planned new rock festival Ups! when it turned out that the show would be sponsored by the Foundation for the Truth about the Homeland War, the lobby group founded in January with the aim of promoting... well, what else would it promote. The Foundation, apparently, got involved with Ups! 'to show that the historical truth about the Homeland War is not only supported by people who go to Thompson and Mate Bulić concerts', but may instead have helped to suggest the opposite.

The Gazette's more intrigued by who in the first place could have thought it was a good idea to invite the Letovci - whose current album deals with 'the collective memory, collective romances and irritations of the peoples who live in the states of former Yugoslavia', mainly by rearranging old newly-composed folk songs, adding swear words and wearing false moustaches - to a festival sponsored by an Ante Gotovina defence fund. (At least Gotovina never wore a moustache.)

Allowing me a brief trip into Glory of Carniola territory, the Slovenian singer Saša Lendero - who specialises in translating her Eurovision pre-selection entries into Croatian and re-entering them in Budva Festival or HRF - presented her summer hit Ne grem na kolena, currently available at her official site. It seems it isn't just turbo folk - Slovenian turbo polka - which has made it across from the Serbian and Bosnian markets: the trend for covering Greek pop songs has headed west as well. On the way, it's dropped Despina Vandi's Simera off in Croatia as Lana Jurčević's Odlaziš - but this does seem to be a year when Croatian music realised it had a little to catch up on.

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At 10:38 am, October 13, 2006, Anonymous igor said...

Yes, Jelena after the queen.


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