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When Seve Met Bregović: Folklore, Turbofolk and the Boundaries of Croatian Musical Identity

  • Catherine Baker (a1)
Extract

In 2006 the Croatian singer Severina Vučković attempted to represent Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest with a song arranged by Goran Bregović, the ex-Yugoslav musician from Sarajevo. Before the song “Moja štikla” [My Stiletto] had even been released, the Croatian (and Serbian) mass media had questioned its “Croatianness” in an escalating sequence of claims and counter-claims to authenticity. Its use of musical elements based on folk song and dance left it open to allegations that it had compromised folk music's authenticity; those elements’ regional associations (especially ganga and rera singing from Lika and Herzegovina) connoted spaces which had been marginalized as “eastern” or “Balkan” in comparison to privileged inland and coastal traditions; the involvement of Bregović (represented as Serbian throughout the Croatian mass media) enabled suggestions that the song presented “Serbian folklore” or belonged to the Serbian genre of “turbofolk”—and all this in the particularly sensitive context of a competition which was supposed to symbolize Croatia's full European membership.

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