Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Folk Revija: First Kontakt

Next month's Folk revija concert in Zagreb took another step towards scandal-hood on Tuesday as the subject of Hloverka Novak-Srzić's daily political talk-show Kontakt.

While December's turbofolk edition of Denis Latin's Latinica was concerned with understanding the social background of turbofolk, Kontakt set itself the simpler question of whether the 'turbo folk review in Zagreb' ought to be banned. (Not quite, was her guests' consensus, but it didn't mean they had to be happy about it.)

What may prove to be two decisive arguments against the concert were put forward by Damir Jašarević, a representative of the veterans' group which has declared its opposition to the event: firstly, should a venue (the Zagrebački velesajam) ultimately owned by Zagreb council be hosting turbo folk concerts, and should a broadcaster (BN Televizija from Republika Srpska) which he linked to Ratko Mladić be allowed to be the media sponsor of any event in Croatia?

(The veterans were initially no happier with Nova TV itself last month when Novak-Srzić's channel-mate Mirjana Hrga decided to invite the Serbian nationalist rock singer Bora Djordjević on to her own show to discuss the Serbian elections; however Hrga's demolition of Djordjević's support for the Četnik movement ought to have soothed the most fervent patriot.)

Duško Ljuština appeared 'in the name of the city of Zagreb's office for culture, education and sport, as a theatre man and an old rocker' to defend City Hall's position, but not too vehemently: indeed, the tone of Ljuština's and other guests' remarks was that the talk-show itself might have the unwelcome side-effect of advertising the concert even more effectively than the posters stuck up at various locations around town. (Which seem to be getting torn down much more often than the ones for Zagreb's next big klapa concert or ethno-blues musician Miroslav Evačić.)

Unlike Jašarević, Ljuština, or musicians' lobbyist Paolo Sfeci (taking ample time to warn that folk singers were mainly coming to Croatia without applying for work permits or paying tax), Osijek's folk entrepreneur in the making, Alen Borbaš, hardly got a word in edgeways (also unlike Latinica, where he had a good 6-7 minutes to put his own patriotic credentials as a Croatian veteran and volunteer who deserted from Yugoslav army service into play), although did have space to imply that it's 'turbofolk' if you don't approve of it and 'folk' if you do. (For the sake of objectivity, I should probably be switching between both.)

Borbaš has experience with similar events in his home town, where his annual Folk hit godine concert was refused permission by Osijek mayor and HSP leader Anto Djapić to hire the municipal stadium; undeterred, he's currently Balkanika television's representative in Croatia, and plans to become the Croatian distributor for the leading Serbian folk label Grand Productions.

With 68% of callers to the Kontakt phone poll voting that the concert ought to be banned, the Folk revija looks to be on believe-it-when-you-see-it status.

As of last night, that is, when Blogger wasn't working...

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