Thursday, September 28, 2006

Showbusiness Ethnopolitics: Bosnian Election Time

The three so-called 'godfathers' of Croatian showbusiness politics - the patriotic trio of Marko Perković Thompson, Miroslav Škoro and Mate Bulić - are on slightly different sides for once thanks to the finale of election campaigning in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Namely: three Croat coalitions, three possible sets of election rallies to perform at.

Things are largely in the state they're in because of the split in the Bosnian Croat version of HDZ, which was formalised this April when HDZ 1990 (named after the date of HDZ's first election victory in Croatia) broke off from the existing HDZ BiH over the leadership of Dragan Čović.

According to Jutarnji list, Škoro will be performing for the HDZ 1990-coalition Hrvatsko zajedništvo (Croatian Unity) alongside Vanna and rock band Prljavo kazalište (both long-term HDZ allies in Croatia, although the Prljavci wavered in their support somewhat during the early Sanader era), but rumour is that Croatian HDZ warned them not to hire Thompson too in case his associations with the extremist right brought bad publicity.

No such qualms, however, for HDZ BiH, which promptly added Thompson to a portfolio already including 'pure-blooded Herzegovinan' Mate Bulić. It's quite a step up from the situation at the end of August, when it seemed that HDZ BiH's rallies would only be graced by Mija Martina Barbarić. (Last seen coming second in the 2005 Bosnian pre-selection for Eurovision, with a Wild dances-type Herzegovinan ethno-pop song called Ružice rumena which did most of what Moja štikla did, only with less Afrika, paprika, sijeno, slama, sir or salama.)

The far-right (further-right?) party HSP, meanwhile, has hired Thompson's ex-bassist Tiho Orlić, another local boy who Thompson began to launch on a solo career in 2004.

This is all par for the course in an ex-Yugoslav election year: as far as Croatia's concerned, HDZ's 1990 campaign wonks came up with the audience-grabbing tactic of hiring as many singers as possible to entertain the crowd between political speeches, leaving its competitors scrambling to catch up and cram some hastily arranged raly/concerts into the last few days of campaigning.

Herzegovinan showbusiness, however, has more ambitious aims: Mostar's Dnevni list reported a couple of weeks ago that Marko Zelić from the Široki Brijeg record label Song Zelex and record producer Ivo Lesić are planning an annual Herzegovinan Radio Festival (a la the successful Croatian and Serbian models) which would debut in August next year. Potential contestants apparently include 'Marko Perković Thompson, Miroslav Škoro, Dražen Zečić, Mate Bulić and others' - that'll be the usual suspects, then - and, for a longer shot, Macedonia's Toše Proeski and Ukraine's Ruslana.

If she's not available, though, the Gazette is sure they'd settle for Barbarić instead. What else was Ružice rumena meant to be doing?

UPDATE: According to 24 sata in Croatia, it now seems that Thompson isn't having anything to do with the HDZ BiH election rally at all, despite it being clearly advertised on the front page of the party's website yesterday; HDZ BiH supporters will have to be 'satisfied with Feminnem, Giuliano and Ivan Mikulić.'

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At 4:17 pm, September 28, 2006, Blogger estavisti said...

What a bunch of govnari. Anyway, why hire singers to support you when you can sing yourself?


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