In my native tongue

Facebook really gives you a window to the world in a sense. Only this morning I saw that two of my childhood “semi-idols” from Croatia and ex-Yugoslavia, were still active and on tour. One of them made it all the way to the States, the other one is coming to Sweden next year. I’m so going, never had much chance to see those artists live and I always appreciated their music. The times ARE truly changing! Those artists were STUCK in Croatia/Yugoslavia back in the day, the world is opening, music is spreading and it’s a fantastic thing. :)

My parents were from Austria (mom) and Croatia (or, it was called Yugoslavia back then. That’s where my father was from). So, I grew up listening to music from those countries when I was little. Both my parents loved music and both had good voices. My mother wasn’t even aware that she was humming everywhere, no matter what she was doing.

And I’ve always thought that that music was special and had a passion that was difficult to translate to those who didn’t understand the language. The lyrics in Croatian music are like beautiful poetry, if it has to do with the language having more nouns or just a richer way of expressing emotions and things, I don’t know. But I remember even at an early age, that I thought it was unfair that the rest of the world would never get to enjoy some of those artists and bands. No musicians ever got famous outside of Yugoslavia back in the communist days.

I had my favorites, and some songs I wanted to translate to English and perform with m band when I was a teenager, but I gave up because it just didn’t sound as good in English, the essence of the lyrics got lost in translation somehow.

What strikes me NOW, when I listen to some of those artists that I remember dad used to buy on cassette or vinyl from the only label there WAS back then, “Jugoton”, are still active, and they still have AMAZING powerful voices, that haven’t aged at ALL.

I don’t know HOW the hell they DO it, but there’s some true talent there that will never leave the country, just remain a national treasure. :)

I thought I’d share some of those. It’s not necessarily just rock/hard rock. Some of it is pop or some other genre that I’m not sure of, but good music is good music, and good musicians and vocalists should get credit, regardless the style.

Let’s go WAY back in time.

I’m just going to take the liberty of stealing some facts straight from Wikipedia:


“Bijelo Dugme (trans. White Button) was a Yugoslav rock band, based in Sarajevo. Bijelo Dugme is widely considered to have been the most popular band ever to exist in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and one of the most important acts of the Yugoslav rock scene.”

This was the song that my dad used to play at home, and probably one of their greatest hits, Tako ti je, mala moja, kad ljubi Bosanac” (“That’s How It Is, Baby, When You Kiss a Bosnian“)

And then – live years later:

I still think this is a cool song. :)


These guys have probably never done a bad song in their entire career…! A very distinct voice that sounds like no other, full of emotion, he’s fantastic!

I used to buy their records whenever I was on vacation in Croatia, I still enjoy listening to them. Very competent band. More info, taken from Wikipedia, right here:

“Parni valjak (pronounced [pâːrniː ʋǎːʎak]; Croatian: ‘steamroller’) is a Croatian and former Yugoslav rock band. They were one of the top acts of the former Yugoslav rock scene, and currently one of the top rock-and-roll bands in Croatia.”

Okay, back in time again…. :)
This guy had one of the coolest rock voices ever. I still think the dude rocks, what a “grater” voice, just the way I like it. :)

Info taken from Wikipedia:
“Seid Memić, known by his stage name Vajta, (born 8 March 1950) is a Bosnian singer and the vocalist for the Yugoslav rock band Teška industrija [“Heavy Industy”].

From 1975 to 1976 Vajta was a vocalist for Teška industrija, who enjoyed great commercial success throughout the Balkan countries but later dissolved.”

This is old, but check out that voice. :)

I’ll just add one more, because THIS song, that follows, was the one I spent months trying to translate into English, because I really loved it. But I gave up, it just wouldn’t have done it justice, it was better to keep it as it was:

THIS guy… My dad used to be away for months to take care of his parents in Croatia, and when he came home, he always brought presents. Among those presents, there would ALWAYS be records! :D This guy, Zdravko Colic, was super popular and his popularity hasn’t decreased through the years, quite the contrary. He’ll be visiting Sweden next year, and from what I’ve heard on Youtube, eventhough he’s 64 years old now, he’s still got one HELL of a voice!

Back in 1970, he started his career playing covers of Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Creedence Clearwater Revival, but as years went by, targeting a more mainstream audience:

And the LAST dude…. Well, he was cute as a doll back in the day, my young self had a little crush on him I think. :) But an incredibly talented musician, probably one of the best in the country. He’s from Split, my dad’s home town, and my aunt knew his mom or whatever – in that city, all the older folks know eachother!

Anyhoo, when I was in Florida a while ago, the guy who made the arrangements for the TSO-interviews, Wolfgang from Germany, mentioned some guy named Gibonni, who was doing a tour of USA and Canada. Could it be the same guy?! It was. It’s 2015 and he finally made it across the pond. :D

Here he is – Gibonni, a rocker guy who turned mainstream, but can write songs like nobody else. :)


“Born in a family with a strong musical tradition (his father, Ljubo Stipišić, was a well-known composer), Zlatan Stipišić, who later embraced the nickname Gibonni, began his career in the 1980s with the heavy metal band Osmi putnik. After the group disbanded, Stipišić joined Divlje jagode, recording few demo tapes before disbanding.

Gibonni started his solo career in the 1990’s with songs that combined elements of rock, modern pop and Dalmatian folk songs. He soon created a huge following, especially among Croatian youth. Gibonni’s popularity continued to grow beyond Croatia and he is currently one of the most popular and influential musicians in the territories of former Yugoslavia.”

A young Gibonni, early 90’s:

And just last month, performing in Los Angeles:


Lastly…. this band was recommended to me by a musician the last time I was in Split, Croatia – a very cool video and very original style. Check it out:

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