Elektra – Keegi (1981)

One of the greatest things about running the ‘IM’ is having the curiosity to hear sounds from all over the world and that is why today’s post is the inaugural of a country that had not yet entered our route: Estonia. The work that the Frotee label has been doing for the last few years is priceless, thanks to them we can present you this unfamiliar artist, and for the most avid travelers we can forefront a couple of suitable names that came from this fantastic musical scene, groups like Väntorel, Keeris, Tornaado, Velly Joonas, Gunnar Graps and Magnetic Band, Fix, Ruja and many more deserve your close attention.

Along with our journey, other eesti-rock gems will be here, so please come always sõber!

Let’s go to our artist:

Elektra started out in the middle of the 1960s as a female vocal group with a fluctuating line-up which was accompanied by different instrumental groups.

Ansambel Elektra 60s

At the end of the 1970s, pianist Aarne Saluveer became the head of the backing musicians and his friends Agu Tammeorg, Meelis Punder, and Jaan Karp joined the band. During this period, Elektra performed together with the college girl band Kooli-Prii which Kadri Hunt, who was the daughter of Elektra’s conductor Märt Hunt, had formed together with her classmates. By 1981, the Kooli-Prii girls had replaced the former singers of Elektra.

Kadri Hunt loved songs with Afro-American influences, which she heard from radio or the few records she could get her hands on. Kooli-Prii played these songs at their concerts and (legendary) soul singer Marju Kuut taught them voice placing. The girls went to a school which focused on English teaching so they sang in English at their concerts but they had to get the lyrics translated in order to avoid problems with recordings (censorship).

Hiiglane Marju Kuut

In 1981, Elektra recorded only a few disco songs but that was it because the number of music studios in Tallinn was very limited. For example, the Estonian Radio studio where they could record with 8-track tape recorders was vacant only during the nights. (!)

During the next few years, disco music went out of fashion in Estonia and the repertoire of the band became more popular to match the musical taste of Aarne Saluveer (the band’s leader). In addition to that, Kadri Hunt became its only singer. In 1985, Elektra released its only record (a 7” EP) and their music had become way distanced from soul music. By 1986 the group had dissolved with some of its members going solo or engaging new bands.

Let’s go to our album:

Elektra 1981

Keegi with the original title “You Might Need Somebody” was based on Randy Crawford’s interpretation of the song which was released the same year, the original was a yacht-rock song performed by Turley Richards. The original version of Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib called “Jump To The Beat” was made famous by the teenage singer Stacy Lattishaw.

These two cuts from this single are amazing, I wasn’t aware of the originals the first time I’ve listened to, so I still think these covers are a MUST, there’s something with these gals vocals and Estonian phonetics that kept me mesmerized! Kas Sa Tahaksid Tulla?

Tracks Include:

A Keegi
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Nan O’Byrne, Tom Snow

B Meid Kaasa Muusika Viib
Lyrics By: Märt Hunt
Written By: Lisa Walden, Narada Michael Walden

Credits

Bass: Meelis Punder
Drums: Jaan Karp
Flute: Tauno Saviauk
Guitar: Agu Tammeorg
Keyboards: Aarne Saluveer
Vocals: Kadri Hunt, Kersti Raik, Signe Tükk, Tiina Kalle

Mastered By: Lynn Petrin
Photography: Arno Saar
Recorded By: Mati Brauer

Notes

Frotee ‎– FRO004

Mastered At: Ebony Cuts

Recorded at Eesti Raadio Studio, Tallinn, October 1981.

Tallinn Landscape

Šarlo Akrobata – Bistriji Ili Tuplji Čovek Biva Kad… (1981)

folder

Šarlo Akrobata (Charlot the Acrobat, a Serbo-Croatian version of Charlie Chaplin‘s name) was a seminal Yugoslav post-punk band from Belgrade. Short-lived but extremely influential, being one of the most important acts of the Yugoslav new wave movement (Novi Talas). The power-trio left an indelible mark on the entire music scene, playing skeletal, energetic ska-core with a post-punk sound reminding of Gang of Four, XTC, The Stranglers, Public Image Limited, and Frank Zappa!

If you want to know a little more about the rock development in Serbia and former Yugoslavia, pay a visit on our last entries, Katarina II and Discipline Kičme.

Let’s go to our artist:

The origin of the new wave scene in Serbia can be found in Belgrade late-70’s bands Zvuk Ulice, Limunovo Drvo, and Hipnotisano Pile. These three featured the future members of milestone groups Idoli, Šarlo Akrobata, and Električni Orgazam.

Električni Orgazam
Električni Orgazam

Guitarists Milan Mladenović and Dragomir Mihajlović performed hard rock for two years in Limunovo Drvo, before adopting the punk rock on the arrival of the bassist Dušan Kojić ‘Koja’ and drummer Ivan Vdović ‘VD’. After the departure of Mihajlović (who would play on Katarina II), they finally renamed to Šarlo Akrobata!

Over 1980-81, its first recordings were released on the compilation Paket Aranžman, today considered one of the most prominent Serbian/Yugoslav rock releases. After a second prize on Subotica Youth Fest and performance on Zagreb Bienalle, they recorded their only album, Bistriji Ili Tuplji Covek Biva Kad… (Brighter or Dumber a Man Gets When…) in April 1981, combining punkish energy with dissonant, avant-garde, and a daring approach both to the playingrecording, and performance.

Milan, Koja & Ivan = Šarlo Akrobata
Milan, Koja & Ivan = Šarlo Akrobata

The band disbanded in the winter of 1981 after a tour in Poland; Milan Mladenovic started a successful and prolific group Ekatarina Velika, and Dusan Kojic formed the progressive punk act Discipline Kičme. The alleged reason was different views on how to continue their musical expression; around 1982, the New Wave scene started to decline, as a large number of acts moved towards a more commercial sound.

During the ’80sĐorđe Balašević, for instance, dominated the mainstream pop scene, but various other rock genres also emerged, such as Jakarta, Oktobar 1864, Beograd, La Strada, Zana, and Rambo Amadeus, starting to develop and gain mainstream popularity, not only in Yugoslavia but all around Eastern Europe!

Pekinška Patkathe, the first Orthodox punk rock band, 1978!
Pekinška Patkathe, the first Orthodox punk rock band, 1978!

Let’s go to our album:

A unique punk record, full of furious guitar riffs, raw bass sound, and wild shouting! Lyrics are either nonsensical, randomly recited, either rebellious, a true example of punk angst, either minimalistic representing an auditive graffiti painting. (!)

This is a record full of studio tricks that are deconstructing a classical approach to the songwriting, gradually (or abruptly) adding/subtracting instrumental layers in the songs, repeating simple one-two-three-four chorus ad nauseam, making at mantra at first, and then deconstructing it by simply adding polyrhythmical pattern on bass, while drums get heavily processed with an echo effect and other modulations.

1981
1981

Lastly, this record is a lot different from everything that we used to hear so far, Avant punk is the perfect title to add to these crazy geniuses, forget about Ekatarina Velika (my personal favorite) and other Serbian entries, this is where it all began, observe closely and plunge forward into it, the one and only Šarlo Akrobata!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rano Izjutra and O, O, O

Trip Da!

Tracks Include:

A1 Šarlo Je Nežan

A2 Pazite Na Decu (I)

A3 Fenomen

A4 Sad Se Jasno Vidi

A5 Rano Izjutra

A6 Ljubavna Priča

A7 Samo Ponekad

B1 Čovek

B2 Bes

B3 O, O, O …

B4 Problem

B5 Ja Želim Jako

B6 Pazite Na Decu (II)

Credits

  • Bass, Vocals: Koja
  • Drums, Vocals: Ivan Vdović
  • Guitar, Vocals: Milan Mladenović
  • Design, Photography: Goran Vejvoda
  • Photography: Danko Đurić
  • Artwork (Design): Šarlo
  • Producer, Music, Arranged, Lyrics: Šarlo Akrobata
  • Producer: Toni Jurij, Mile Miletić
  • Producer, Recorded: Đorđe Petrović

Notes

Recorded in Studio 5, Beograd, April-May 1981.

  • Recorded: Studio V PGP RTB
  • Printed: GIP Beograd

Jugoton ‎– LSY 66145

Nikola Tesla and its Magnifying Transmitter
Nikola Tesla and its Magnifying Transmitter

Bebi Dol – Mustafa Single (1981)

capa cópiaSerbian culture refers to the culture of Serbia and ethnic Serbs. For centuries straddling the boundaries between East and West, Serbia had been divided among the Eastern and Western halves of the Roman Empire; then between the Kingdom of Hungary, the Frankish Kingdom and Byzantium; and then between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire, as well the Republic of Venice in the south. (!)

These overlapping influences have resulted in cultural varieties throughout Serbia: its north leans to the profile of Central Europe, while the south is characteristic of the wider Balkans and even the Mediterranean. Serbs were initially governing the Byzantine frontiers and were later through their sworn alliance gave independence, baptized by Greek missionaries and adopted the Cyrillic script.

Migration of the Serbs, 1896 (Paja Jovanovic)
Migration of the Serbs, 1896 (Paja Jovanovic)

The Byzantine influence on Serbia was profound, firstly through the introduction of Eastern Christianity (Orthodoxy) in the Early Middle Ages. The Serbian Orthodox Church has had an enduring status with the many Serbian monasteries constituting the most valuable cultural monuments left from Serbia in the Middle Ages.

Following Serbia‘s autonomy after the Serbian revolution and eventual independence, the culture of Serbia was restrengthened within its people!

Studenica Monastery
Studenica Monastery

Let’s go to our artist:

Born as Dragana Šarić on 2nd October 1962, Belgrade. Singer and composer Šarić had contact with music since her early years, as her father, Milenko Šarić, was a jazz musician. She started in the late ’70s in the band Tarkus, in 1979 her first studio recordings: as a guest (backing) vocalist on the Igra Staklenih Perli album Vrt VetlostiYU Grupa album Samo Napred..! and also KIM Band’s 1981 release.

In 1981, with the guitarist Goran Vejvoda and the bass guitarist Ivan Vdović, she formed the short-lasting band Annoda Rouge. Soon after, Šarić under the (worldwide known) name Bebi Dol, released her (brilliant) solo debut, Oriental music-inspired single ‘Mustafa’, which she composed together with Saša Habić.

1981
1981

The song featured the recording of Slobodan Konjović‘s voice, he was at the time, Studio B musical editor, and participated the whole production. Mustafa was voted the best pop song in Yugoslavia in 1981 and was re-released, two years later, on her debut album, Ruže I Krv, to great critical acclaim and popular success!

Her next album, Ritam Srca, was released more than a decade later, in 1995, even though she regularly performed as a pop and jazz singer (for three years she lived in Cairo, singing in Sheraton hotels), recording and appearing as a guest artist on the albums of other artists. The second pause in her work came in the late ’90s and her album, Ljuta Sam, was released only in 2002 (with electronic tinges).

Early Promo
Early Promo

Her last releases, Čovek Rado Izvan Sebe Živi, in 2006 and Veče U Pozorištu in 2007, were mainly based on American covers, the last a live album. She also made a famous presentation on Eurovision 1991, with one of its mega-hits, Brazil.

Let’s go to our album:

An excellent vocalist gifted with a soaring voice, ultra-eccentric musical talent and altogether this young lady comes in some adorable, nutty package that we had not seen before or since. Here she was catapulted into the national scene, if not exactly to the stars because this single was way too underground for the mainstream audience.

Mustafa sounds one of those rare songs that simply stand the test of time and it has an original message to the protagonist: forget all those European ladies with flower pots on their heads, who make love shamelessly (!). Na Planeti Uzdaha is her own take on famous Edvard Grieg piece where the chorus of vailing and out-of-this-world voices (multi-recorded Bebi Dol herself) sing her atmospheric siren song!

Bebi Dol, Lately
Bebi Dol, Lately

Thanks to our friends from Jugo Rock Fever and many others through the net, we’re able to discover and admire this fabulous music scene developed since communist times. Here are some fine acts, from the 70’sSmak, YU Grupa, Galija and Korni Grupa (hard and prog). And incredible acts from the ’80sIdoli, Šarlo Akrobata, Električni Orgazam and Disciplina Kičme (new wave and synth-pop).

I cannot stop listening to this obscure little gem, Bebi Doll’s performance is quite something, all abroad the Trans-European rail network and Бон Воиаге!

Tracks Include:

A Mustafa

B Na Planeti Uzdaha

Credits

Arranged: A. Habić

Music, Lyrics: D. Šarić

Companies

Printed: GIP ‘Beograd’

PGP RTB ‎– 1120999

Danube, Belgrade
Danube, Belgrade