Đorđe Balašević

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Đorđe Balašević bigraphy, stories - Ambassadors

Đorđe Balašević : biography

May 11, 1953 –

Đorđe Balašević (Serbian Cyrillic: Ђорђе Балашевић, born May 11, 1953 in Novi Sad) is a prominent Serbian singer-songwriter.

Balašević started his career in the 1977 as a member of the pop rock band Žetva, before leaving to form the pop rock band Rani Mraz. After releasing two albums, Rani Mraz disbanded, and Balašević started a successful solo career, spanning up to the present. While his initial works were mostly pop rock-oriented, in his later career he often used elements of rock, chanson and folk music, while his lyrics often dealt with romantic, humorous or political- and social-related themes.

Controversy

In 1991, when Croatia and Slovenia were on the verge of declaring independence from SFRY, he performed a song named "Bluz za braću Slovence" (trans. "Blues for Slovenian Brothers") where he openly criticised Slovenes for their plans to secede from Yugoslavia, going so far as to even make fun of them. Later he apologised for that song.

Some critics state that in his song "Ne lomite mi bagrenje" ("Don’t Break my Locusts") released on his 1986 album Bezdan he was metaphorically speaking against Albanian terror over Serbs in the conflict on Kosovo. Balašević later explained, "It is not a song about ethnicities, but rather about good and evil, and I don’t regret anything. I called Evil by its full name even when others praised it. [referring to Milošević regime]". Later, in late 1990s, he stated, "I didn’t know Serbs would become Shiptars to Shiptars. That turned around. We are the ones who break locusts now, but I can’t take the blame for that".

In 2006, after Montenegro declared independence from The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, Balašević’s letter to Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović in which Balašević congratulates Đukanović on the independence of Montenegro was published in Blic.

Politics

Since one of his first songs "Računajte na nas", Balašević has been politically involved. Together with another early single "Tri put sam video Tita" ("I Saw Tito Three Times"), these songs summed up his early political position: pan-southslavic, patriotism and Titoism.

During the second half of the 1980s, Balašević began to criticize the authorities, and in the early 1990s his songs and stage speeches showed disillusionment and sadness over the fact that bloodshed was possible in the Yugoslavia he once admired. He openly criticised Serbian, Croatian and Slovene nationalism.

In the ensuing war years, Balašević had serious problems with the government of Slobodan Milošević because he openly stated his opposition to it. At his concerts he often criticised and made fun of Milošević and other Serbian politicians. In 1996, he became the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador for his antiwar statements during the Yugoslav wars and held the first postwar concert in Sarajevo as the first Serbian artist visiting war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 2000, he took part in demonstrations during and following the downfall of Slobodan Milošević.

Legacy

The 1998 book YU 100: najbolji albumi jugoslovenske rok i pop muzike (YU 100: The Best albums of Yugoslav pop and rock music) features two Đorđe Balašević solo albums, Bezdan (ranked No. 25) and Pub (ranked No. 66), and one Rani Mraz album, Mojoj mami umesto maturske slike u izlogu (ranked No. 44).

On the 2006 B92 Top 100 Domestic Songs list the song "Priča o Vasi Ladačkom" was polled No. 13. In 2011, the song "Menuet" was polled, by the listeners of Radio 202, one of 60 greatest songs released by PGP-RTB/PGP-RTS during the sixty years of the label’s activity.

In 2007, twenty-one bands from Balašević’s native Novi Sad, including Zbogom Brus Li, Pero Defformero, Super S Karamelom and others, recorded a tribute album to Balašević entitled Neki noviji klinci i….

Concerts

Balašević’s concerts are known to last for more than four hours at a time. Apart from performing his songs, he has a custom of making long pauses between songs and commenting on current events. Therefore his concerts are more of a cabaret than rock concerts in the common sense of the word.