Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Josipa Lisac and Memories of Zagreb

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The rain today was bone chilling. When you are riding a motorcycle in the rain, the velocity at which you travel pounds the wetness into your clothing. Unlike bus and train passengers, however, I always get a seat. The downside is that I have no way to read or listen to music while traveling to work.

This weather with its damp wind reminds me of when I was in Zagreb back in 1973. It was there that I discovered Croatian rock music and Croatian naive art.

One of the most talented singers in what was then Jugoslavia is Josipa Lisac who was born in 1950 in Zagreb, Croatia. She was originally the lead singer for Zlatni Akordi, a group popular in Jugoslavia in the 1960's. I am including three songs of Josipa Lisac in this posting. One of them is called "Jedna Kratka Vjest" , (A Small Report). Another is titled "Srela Sam Se S Njim" The last song, "Sreca" which translates roughly as ""Sweetheart" is one of my favourite songs of all time in any language.

To provide a visual complement to this posting, I am including some samples of Croatian Art, which is very much treasured by European art collectors. There are very many artists in the genre of Croatian Naive Art. I hope the two samples below will spur google searches among my readership for this type of art.

What most troubled me during my visit to Jugoslavia was their official calendar, upon which Christmas was a regular work day and New Years day a double holiday, observed on January first and second. It bothered me that the traditions and wishes of a predominantly Christian populace would be so flagrantly ignored. Fortunately, the old calendar has been restored. It is a pity that the Tito government did not work harder at inculcating ethnic tolerance in the former Jugoslavia instead of its futile promotion of atheism.

Jugoslavia has a reputation not only for its art, literature and music but also its bloody internecine struggles. It never ceases to puzzle me that a culture that produces such beautiful art and literature also gives rise to such inhumanity and bloodlust. This question is not unique to Jugoslavia. Many other countries also produce such a dichotomy. I have no answers. Just questions...
Perhaps a day will come when the family of mankind will transplant the beauty from their art into their actual lives. May such a day come soon.



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