Pavlos Sidiropoulos (Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος) & Σπυριδούλα (Spyridoula) – Φλου (Flou) [1979]

capa cópiaComposer, lyricist/singer Pavlos Sidiropoulos (July 27, 1948 – December 6, 1990), only lived until the age of 42, though he left behind a remarkable musical legacy and influence amongst young artists. He was the great-grandson of Zorba, nephew of the poet Elli Alexiou and since his early age showed a musical aptitude. A true legend, despite the few musical releases in life, today’s entry is simply considered as the most important rock album of all time in Greece! Fortunately, there’s plenty of information (in greek) available about Pavlos, your site/tribute, deserves a lookout!

Over time other albums will come and we’ll try to bring more details about the life of this fabulous artist, we count on to help from our Greek friends, rest in peace Pavlos.

Let’s go to our artist:

Mural
Mural

Sidiropoulos began his career in 1970 in Thessaloniki, where he was studying maths at Aristotle University. Together with Pantelis Delleyannidis they set up the folk-duo Damon and Phintias; though he does not graduate he returns to Athens, disappointed with the revolutionary youth, where he worked to his father’s factory. He soon met, at Kittaro’sDionysis Savvopoulos and his group Bourboulia, he joined the band and released the 45 release Damis The Tough (Ντάμης ο σκληρός) in 1972. There, he stayed until 1974, and therefore first experimented with combining folklore and rock.

Afterward, Sidiropoulos collaborated with the Greek composer Yannis Markopoulos, singing his compositions with lyrics by the poet Dimitris Varos. In 1976, together with Spiropoulos brothers, he founded the music group Spiridoula. It took three years for their first release, the cornerstone album Flou, with the homonymous theme song that inspired many musicians, opening a completely different path to Greek audience!

Pavlos Sidiropoulos & Spyridoula
Pavlos Sidiropoulos & Spyridoula

In 1975, he made its two film appearances. He had the leading role in the film (and OST) O Asymvivastos, directed by Andreas Thomopoulos, at the same time, he starred with Dimitris Poulikakos another movie by ThomopoulosAldevaran.

Sidiropoulos joined the band Οι Απροσάρμοστοι (The Misfits), in 1980 where he remained until his death. They released 3 studio albums and numerous live performances. En Lef̱kó̱ was published in 82′, and many of the songs were censored!

Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος
Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος

In 1985, Zorba the Freak came out and in 1989 they released (its lastly) Without Make-up, which was recorded live at Metro club in Athens. In the summer of 1990 and after his mother’s death, his left hand started getting paralyzed, as a result of his long term drug use that he was trying to overcome for many years. He continued his live performances but the deterioration of his health had serious implications. On December 6, 1990, he died from a heart attack, caused by heroin overdose. (RIP)

Let’s go to our album:

Considered by many the most important album in Greek rock music, I was completely surprised the first time I heard him a and it touched me really deep!

Live
Live

Pavlos is simply the best, always with a tight band, he delivers nice guitars, horns, elements from progpsychedelic and jazz, folk and (beautiful) classic rock, wow!

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Oi Sovaroi Klooun (Serious Clown) and I Ora Tou Stuff (The Time of Stuff)Safar Wanaagsan!

Tracks Include (polytonic, romanized and translated):

A1 Ο Μπάμπης Ο “Φλου” – O Babis O Flou (The Father Flou)

A2 Μου ‘πες Θα Φύγω – Mou Pes Tha Fygo (You Told Me I Will Go)

A3 Που Να Γυρίζεις – Pou Na Gyrizeis (Where To Turn?)

A4 Ξέσπασμα – Xespasma (Outbreak)

A5 Οι Σοβαροί Κλόουν – Oi Sovaroi Klooun (Serious Clown)

B1 Το ’69 Με Κάποιο Φίλο – To ’69 Me Kapoio Filo (The ’69 With a Friend)

B2 Στην Κ. – Stin K. (In K.)

B3 Η Ώρα Του Stuff – I Ora Tou Stuff (The Time of Stuff)

B4 Τω Αγνώστω Θεώ – To Agnosto Theo (Tm Unknown God)

B5 Εν Κατακλείδι – En Katakleidi (In Conclusion)

Credits

  • Alto Saxophone, Clarinet: Γιάννης Φαναριώτης (John Fanariotis)
  • Bass: Τόλης Μαστρόκαλος (Tolis Mastrokalos)
  • Bass, Guitar (Slide): Νίκος Πολίτης (Nikos Politis)
  • Drums: Ανδρέας Μουζακίτης (Andreas Mouzakitis), Τάσος Φωτοδήμος (Tassos Fotodimos)
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar: Βασίλης Σπυρόπουλος (Vassilis Spyropoulos)
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Synthesizer, Flute: Νίκος Σπυρόπουλος (Nikos Spyropoulos)
  • Music, Lyrics: Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος (Pavlos Sidiropoulos)
  • Piano: Δημήτρης Πολύτιμος (Dimitris Valuable)
  • Tenor Saxophone: Μάκης Παπαθεοδώρου (Makis Papatheodorou)
  • Trombone: Ανδρέας Γκαβογιάννης (Andreas Gkavogiannis)
  • Trumpet: Δημήτρης Λεονταρίδης (Dimitris Leontaridis)
  • Violin: Γιώργος Μαγκλάρας (Yorgos Maglaras)
  • Vocals, Percussion: Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος (Pavlos Sidiropoulos)
  • Female Vocals: Dimitra Galani 

Recorded: Γιώργος Κωνσταντόπουλος (George Konstantopoulos)

Engineer (Assistant): Γιώργος Τζάννες (George Tzanes), Εμμανουήλ Ψαρράς (Manolis Psaras)

Cover, Design, Photography: Γιώργος Μανιάτης (George Maniatis), Δημήτρης Αρβανίτης (Dimitris Arvanitis)

Producer: Θόδωρος Σαραντής (Theo Sarantis)

Coordinator: Μάνος Ξυδούς (Manos Xydous)

  • Made, Printed: EMI Greece S.A.
  • Pressed: Columbia, Athens – 7608

Harvest ‎– 14C 062-70913

1984 (Rock On!)
1984 (Rock On!)

Osamu Kitajima (喜多嶋修) – Benzaiten (1974)

capa cópiaThe music of Japan includes a wide array of performers in distinct styles both traditional and modern. The word for music in Japanese is 音楽 (ongaku), combining the kanji  ‘on’ (sound) with the kanji  ‘gaku’ (enjoy). Many instruments, as the koto, were introduced in the 9th and 10th centuries, the accompanied recitative of the Noh drama dates from the 14th century and the popular folk music, with the guitar-like shamisen, from the 16th century. Western classical music, introduced in the late 19th century, now forms an integral part of Japanese culture. The imperial court ensemble Gagaku has influenced the work of many modern Western composers.

Notable classical composers from Japan include Toru Takemitsu and Rentarō Taki.

Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848
Biwa & Koto by Utagawa Kunisada, 1848

Popular music in post-war Japan has been heavily influenced by American and European trends, which has led to the evolution of J-pop (popular music). Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, with a total retail value of over 3 billion dollars in 2013, dominated by Japanese artists. Karaoke is also the most widely practiced cultural activity, ahead of flower arranging (ikebana) or tea ceremonies. Traditional Japanese music is quite different from Western music as it’s based on the intervals of human breathing rather than mathematical timing. (!)

Toru Takemitsu
Toru Takemitsu

Let’s go to our artist:

Osamu Kitajima (February 3, 1949) was born and raised in the beach town of Chigasaki (Kanagawa Prefecture), as a young man he studied classical guitar and piano; his first band the Launchers, was led by pop idol and actor Yuzo Kayama, the group disbanded in the late ’60s, after Kitajima began to work on his own.

After graduating from Keio University, and already a successful composer of TV and advertising jingles, he moved for one year to the UK in 1971, which brought him in to contact with British folk and psychedelia. Inspired by The Beatles, T. Rex, and Syd Barrett, he dubbed himself Justin Heathcliff and issued a lone eponymous album.

Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972
Dr. Osamu Kitajima, 1972

His first solo album in 1974, Benzaiten, was a mix of modern pop and traditional Japanese music, and was well received in Japan and later released abroad (Antilles label in U.S.) where it received some underground radio airplay and sold moderately. Also in 1974 Kitajima relocated to the Los Angeles area and later opened East Quest Studios; the late ’70s and ’80s saw the establishment of its career, with more than a dozen Lp’s, he has become one of Japan’s biggest selling artist internationally!

During the decades, Osamu Kitajima expanded his work to include commercial and soundtrack work, he provided part of the music to the blockbuster mini-series Shogun and contributed to the soundtrack of Sharkey’s Machine. He also arranged the scores for PBS documentaries on Japan, Chinese/Japanese film Mandala and produced a number of artists. Nowadays, inside East Quest Records, he continues to release his own albums (new and re-issues), as well as works by countless artists.

Osamu's Portrait
Osamu’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

This is truly a melting pot of Western rock and Japanese traditional music, very few have pulled it off so well as Kitajima does here. Either they usually fall prey to new age sappiness or move towards amateurish exploitation, fortunately, it does not happen here, a real serious work, the type of rock-influenced world music that still hasn’t been much explored at all. The album also featured Haruomi Hosono and it utilized various electronics: synthesizerrhythm machine, and electronic drums.

A bit different from our previous entry Buddha Meet Rock, this is a more elaborate record, with brilliant musicians and cinematic feelings, being a cornerstone of Japanese folklore, be enlightened by Kitajima’s masterful work and Bono Trinus!

Benzaiten Goddess
Benzaiten Goddess

The ‘IM’ highlights are Taiyo (The Sun) and Benzaiten (Reprise).

Tracks Include:

A1 Benzaiten (The God of Music and Water)

A2 Taiyo (The Sun)

A3 Tengu (A Long-Nosed Goblin)

B1 Benzaiten (Reprise)

B2 Whoma (Immortality)

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar, Synthesizer, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Koto, Biwa, Drums (African, Mexican), Electronic Drums (Rhythm Machine): Osamu Kitajima
  • Bass: Dennis Belfield, John Harris
  • Biwa: Masako Hirayama
  • Drums (African): Kinji Yoshino
  • Drums (Tsuzumi), Percussion (Narimono): Kisaku Katada
  • Electric Bass: Haruomi Hosono
  • Electric Guitar: George Marinelli
  • Flute (Hayashi-bue): Haruyoshi Hosei
  • Keyboards: Brian Whitcomb
  • Shakuhachi: Tatsuya Sano
  • Sho: Yosei Sato
  • Engineer: Kinji Yoshino
  • Engineer (Assistant): Yutaka Matsumoto
  • Producer: Kinji Yoshino, Osamu Kitajima
  • Distributed and Manufactured: Island Records Inc.
  • Antilles U.S. release of the album first released by Island Records (Japan) in 1974.

Recorded through Jan/Aug 1974 at Hit Studio of Jean Jean Theater, Tokyo

Whoma recorded live at Nikkei Hall.

Antilles ‎– AN 7016

Cherry Blossom Festival
Cherry Blossom Festival

Alla Pugacheva (Алла Пугачева) – Mirror of the Soul (Зеркало Души) [1978]

capaThe ’60s and ’70s saw the beginning of modern Russian pop and rock music, it all started with the wave of VIA’s (vocal-instrumental ensemble), a specific sort of music bands performing radio-friendly pop, rock, and folk, composed by members of the Union of Composers, approved by censorship. This wave began with Pojuschie Gitary and Pesnyary, popular VIA bands also included Tcvety and Zemlyane.

That period also saw individual pop stars such as Iosif Kobzon, Sofia Rotaru, Alla Pugacheva, Valery Leontiev, Yuri Antonov, many of them remain popular and active to this day. They were the mainstream of Soviet music media, headliners of festivals such as Song of the Year, Sopot, and Golden Orpheus. The year 1977 saw the establishment of Moskovsky Komsomolets hit parade, Russia’s first music chart.

VIA Singing Guitar
VIA Singing Guitar

The term VIA represented a model under which the Soviet government was willing to permit domestic rock and pop music acts to develop. To be able to break through the state-owned Soviet media, a band needed to become an officially-recognized VIA. Each VIA had an artistic director who served as manager, producer, and also state-appointed censor. In some bands the artistic director was the band’s leading member and songwriter, while in others he played the role of an impresario.

Songs varied from pop ballads, dance disco and new wave to mainstream rock (although bands avoided the rock music label until the late ’70s, because rock was considered a bourgeois art and formally banned) (!). The typical VIA consisted of 6 to 10 band members, lead vocalists usually did not play an instrument, virtually every member of a VIA was a professional musician, with formal musical education.

VIA Charivni Guitar
VIA Charivni Guitar

The Soviet government had strict rules governing how members of a VIA were to behave on stage and conduct themselves in public. Performers were only allowed to wear suits, folks costumes, or military uniforms. Movements around the stage were discouraged and anything outside of the conservative norm, such as long hair, tattoos, leather jackets, or metallic accessories were strictly forbidden. Due to state censorship, the lyrics of VIAs were family-friendly, typical topics were universal emotions like love, joy, and nostalgia, or idealized vignettes from usual daily life.

VIA song recordings were done by Melodiya, the State-owned record company, and the concerts/performances were organized by professional associations such as Soyuzkontsert (Union Concerts), Moskontsert (Moscow Concerts), Lenkonsert (Leningrad Concerts), Roskontsert (Russian Concerts), along with regional groups.

Let’s go to our artist:

Alla Pugacheva & Kristina Orbakaitе
Alla Pugacheva & Kristina Orbakaitе

Alla Borisovna Pugacheva (April 15, 1949) started performing when she still was at junior school. In 1965, she composed and recorded The Robot, her first song for the national radio. After high school, Pugacheva continued education in Moscow State Music College, at the department of conducting and choir singing. Later, in 1981 she also got a degree in theatre directing at the (arrant) State Theatre Art College.

Alla Pugacheva started a professional singing career in the early ’70s, as a leading singer of VIA’s Funny Guys, but real recognition only came when she won the Grand Prix of the Golden Orpheus song contest with the song Harlequin in 1975.

Afterward, she went to work in what would be the turning point of its career: the musical film The Woman Who Sings, in 1977. In co-op with the band Rhythm, she played the leading lady, a pop singer who sacrifices her personal life for her career.

60's Alla Pugacheva
60’s Pugacheva

The soundtrack, which was co-written by her, included a myriad of pop songs, the Soviet audience, regarding the film as autobiographical, brought the OST to reach record audience of the year in 1979, as it was bought by 55 million people! (phew)

Though for many she grew to represent the government-pop culture that was forced upon the people, her popularity skyrocketed, and she released many albums throughout the decades. Her contributions to Russian music were recognized when she has bestowed the title of People’s Artist of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. She enjoys an iconic status across the former Soviet Union and has overshadowed a long time rival Sofia Rotaru as the most successful Soviet performer in terms of record sales and popularity. Her last album was released in 2008 and lately, Pugacheva is the main judge on Factor A, Russia’s version of the British X-Factor television series.

Let’s go to our album:

Primadonna
Primadonna

Mirror of the Soul was Alla Pugacheva’s first studio album, published in the Soviet Union in May 1978, as a double album, and later re-released in two parts. The Lp includes songs performed by her, recorded in 1975/1977 primarily composed by (master) Alexander Zatsepin. It became one of the most sold in the USSR in late 70’s early 80’s. By 1983, it had sold 7,753,500 copies, and with a general circulation exceeding 60 reissues, the album approached the terrific mark of 10 million copies!

A collection of singles, which had previously appeared in the film or in separate publications, it firmly stands as a kaleidoscope of genres, ranging from kitschy hits, funk-rock, orchestral ballads, prog synths, art pop, funny marches and much more from a devilishly talented singer and composer, prepare yourself for Alla’s realms.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Приезжай (Come) and Мы Не Любим Друг Друга (We Do Not Like Each Other)хорошая поездка!

Tracks Include:

A1 Бубен Шамана (Tambourine Shaman) / Centerline of The Skies OST

A2 Верю В Тебя (I Believe in You) / Basketball OST

A3 Сонет Шекспира (Shakespeare’s Sonnet)

B1 Приезжай (Come)

B2 Не Отрекаются Любя (Do Not Deny Loving)

B3 Песенка Про Меня (Song About Me)

B4 Женщина, Которая Поет (The Woman Who Sings)

C1 Все Могут Короли (Kings Can Do Everything)

C2 Куда Уходит Детство (Where Does Childhood?) / Fantasy Vesnuhina OST

C3 Волшебник-Недоучка (Wizard-Dropout) / Brave Chirac OST

C4 Полно Вокруг Мудрецов (Fully Sages Around) / Brave Chirac OST

D1 Мы Не Любим Друг Друга (We Do Not Like Each Other) / Cook & Singer OST

D2 Если И Долго Мучиться (If You Long To Suffer) / Cook & Singer OST

D3 До Свиданья, Лето (Goodbye, Summer) / Centerline of The Skies OST

D4 Любовь Одна Виновата (Love One to Blame) / Centerline of The Skies OST

D5 Найди Себе Друга (Find a Friend) / Fantasy Vesnuhina OST

Credits

Conductor: V. Terletsky (B2), A. Avilov (A2, A3, B1, B3, B4), V. Kleynot (A1, C1 to D5)

Ensemble: VIA B. Kleynota (A1, C1 to D5), Rhythm (A2, A3, B1, B3, B4)

Music: Alexander Zatsepin (A1, A2, B3, C2 to D5), Boris Gorbonos (A3, B1, B4), Boris Richkov (C1), Leonid Garin (B4), Mark Minkov (B2)

Lyrics: William Shakespeare (A3), Boris Gorbonos (B1), V. Tushnova (B2), Kaisyn Guliyev (B4), Leonid Derbenyov (A1, B3, C1 to D5), Onegin Gadzhikasimov (A2)

  • Arrangements: Alexander Zatsepin (except B2 and C1)
  • Photographer: Vyacheslav Maneshina
  • Supervised: A. Kachalina

Мелодия ‎– 33 С 60-09799-802

Vasilissa the Beautiful by Ivan Bilibin
Vasilissa the Beautiful by Ivan Bilibin

French-Oriental Female Ep (2014)

ann sorel cópiaThis Ep is an attempt to present some artists who will enter soon in our galaxy, today will address exclusively two countries: France and Japan. Great arrangers, actresses singers, side B, and even famous ones, (feel free to) leave us a comment and enjoy!

France

1968

Brigitte Fontaine – Je Suis Inadaptée / Est… Folle, 1968 (arr. Jean Claude Vannier)

June 24, 1939 / The diva of French underground music.

Brigitte Fontaine made a series of increasingly strange and eclectic art-pop in the ’70s that gathered a lot of acclaim in France, although she remains obscure to an international audience. Initially, she was an eccentric but accessible pop singer, presenting melodic and orchestrated material, working with (living legend) arranger Jean Claude Vannier; on subsequent records, she got jazzier, and then into avant-gardism and art song, her albums were commendably wide-ranging and erratic.

With an active career and 2013 last release, albums like Est…Folle, Barbara’s Madame, and even less known Jean Constantin’s Le Poulpe, are some of the wonderful panoramas that Vannier conducted throughout the ’70s.

A dreamy arrangement, with delicacy, strong pace and multiple colors!

nicoletta 2 cópia

Nicoletta & Zoo – Dieu Est Negre / Visage, 1970 (arr. Zoo)

April 11, 1944 / Nicole Chappuis-Grisoni

She was considered as part of what is known as the French yé-yé generation heavily influenced by American music, particularly R&B, rock and roll and beat music, mostly known for her version of ‘Mamy Blue’ with her very specific, bluesy voice, she certainly gained a special place in French pop music, with many radio and television appearances, where she had a number of hits in the ’60s and the ’70s.

Her material after the ’70s is somewhat dubious, with that sugar chanson feel, returning to top form from mid-’90s and recently launched Ici Et Ailleurs.

Honestly, these recordings with Zoo are certainly Nicoletta’s best moment, a passionate diva interpretation with an incredible escort by these guys, check it!

ann sorel 2 cópia

Ann Sorel – L’Amour à Plusieurs / Single, 1972 (arr. Jean Claude Vannier)

Ann-Chantal Sorel, 71 years (more info ?). She released a few pairs of singles during the ’60s and ’70s, early on yé-yé and then, precious moments like this magistral one under Vannier’s tutelage. Banned (!) on radio, with a scandalous lyrics from Fréderic Botton, Ann’s sexy voice guides us through an unusual encounter.

Wrapped in a simple deep red cover, this is a fantastic erotica re-discover!

Japan

chinatsu cópia

Chinatsu Nakayama (中山千夏) – 砂漠 (Desert) / Single, 1971

July 13, 1948 / Actress Singer

Former wonder actress, TV personalitysinger and later established writer. She released a few singles during the ’70s and stopped its singer career in early ’00s, to fully devote herself as a writer, human rightscivil and feminist activist.

A B side soul-psych bomb with tons of brass, fuzz and nicely chorus!

rumi koyama 3 cópia

Rumi Koyama (小山ルミ) – 恋人の記念日 / Sasurai No Guitar, 1971

August 11, 1952 / Actress Singer

Another famous actress and Tv star, Rumi released a bit more singles and albums through the ’70s. A swinging one, with western brass, percussion, mellow strings and that Tarantino’s Kill Bill homage. Like Meiko Kaji tunes, expect some more entrances from Rumi Koyama, too, she sings with grace and got a real nice 1971 Lp!

rabi cópia

Rabi Nakayama (中山ラビ) – 夢のドライブ (Drive of a Dream) / Hira Hira, 1974

The one (and only) who helped Yoshiko Sai in his first years, Rabi Nakayama is probably one of the most famous singers from Japan, the female Bob Dylan often called, started its career in early ’70s with a dozen of releases, very active until 2009.

Here she catches a heavier side, with a furious backing band, this is almost a B side in Hira Hira’s album, totally folk-oriented. Even being unknown worldwide, Rabi’s career is pretty solid, with diverse moments and bands, soon she’ll enter here!

Hyvää matkaa!

Blind Woman's Curse, 1970 (Meiko Kaji)
Blind Woman’s Curse, 1970 (Meiko Kaji)

Katarina II – Katarina II (1984)

capaAfter the quintessential Belgrade new wave band of the early ’80s, Šarlo Akrobata, hit the rocks, the trio essentially splintered in two directions. Bass player Dušan Kojić went on to form Disciplina Kičme, where he continued to experiment with various musical influences, while the more lyrical, poetic of the two, vocalist/guitar player Milan Mladenović, opted to form Katarina II. Named as such, the band which later reached starry (in local terms) heights under Ekatarina Velika moniker released only this album, which quickly became a cult favorite in old Yugoslavia.

The New Wave music scene emerged at the end of the ’70s, it was especially advocated by the music magazines Polet from Zagreb and Džuboks from Belgrade, and by the TV show Rokenroler, which was famous for its artistic music videos.

Šarlo Akrobata
Šarlo Akrobata

Important bands of the Yugoslav new wave are Šarlo Akrobata, Idoli, Prljavo Kazalište, Azra, Električni Orgazam, Aerodrom, Atomsko Skoloniste, Laboratorija Zvuka, Lačni Franz, Gu Gu, Hazard, Moulin Rouge, and many others. (!)

Let’s go to our artist:

Ekatarina Velika (Catherine the Great, also called EKV) was a rock group from Belgrade, Serbia. During its existence, EKV built up a devoted following that greatly intensified and expanded after the death of its frontman Milan Mladenović in 1994, which caused the band to dissolve. The group’s core consisted of singer and guitarist Milan Mladenović, keyboardist Margita Stefanović and bassist Bojan Pečar.

Initially named Katarina II, was formed in February 1982 following the breakup of Šarlo Akrobata, Katarina II’s self-titled debut album finally came out in 1984.

Magazine Issue
Magazine Issue

After the release the group fell apart due to artistic differences, guitarist Gagi Mihajlović claimed rights to the Katarina II name, then, the remaining members settled on Ekatarina Velika. In 1985, EKV released their debut album, Ekatarina Velika, the Lp is characterized by an energetic sound and Milan’s hermetic, introspective, and metaphorical lyrics. 1986 follow up album S Vetrom Uz Lice proved to be the breakthrough album that turned them into bona fide stars!

The hits included ‘Budi Sam Na Ulici’ and ‘Ti Si Sav Moj Bol’, in addition to wider mainstream acceptance, S Vetrom Uz Lice also got some lukewarm reviews from critics complaining it sounded too much like Simple Minds and The Mission (sic).

80's Promo
80’s Promo

In 1987 the band recorded and released Ljubav, it displayed a more guitar-oriented, polished sound, partly because of new producer Theodore Yanni. It also showed the first signs of Milan’s depressive lyrics, as exemplified by song ‘Tonemo’; the band confirmed their newfound star status with two consecutive sold-out shows at Belgrade’s Hala Pionir sports arena. The 1989 album Samo Par Godina Za Nas wasn’t received well by the critics, though it does feature the song Par Godina Za Nas which was voted the best (ex) Yugoslavian rock song in 2006 by Serbian Radios!

In the ’90s the band released albums irregularly due to band changes and the political situation in Yugoslavia. Dum Dum (1991) and Neko Nas Posmatra (1993) were released but the band slowly fell apart. Milan Mladenović was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August and died on November 5, 1994, at the age of 36.

Margita Stefanović (RIP)
Margita Stefanović

Bassist Bojan Pečar died in London on October 13, 1998, aged 37, as a result of a heart attack. Early drummers Ivan ‘Vd’ Vdović passed away in 1992 and Dušan Dejanović died from AIDS on November 16, 2000. Keyboard player and vocalist Margita Stefanović died on September 18, 2002, drug abuse was rumored (never confirmed) to be the cause, she was 43 and the last of the original line up left. (RIP all of them)

Let’s go to our album:

The band had started the recording of the album in Beograd but due to various problems, it was finally recorded for the Slovenian label ZKP RTLJ (RTV Ljubljana). The album producer was Đorđe Petrović, and guest stars were Mario Čelik (congas) and Jurij Novoselić (saxophone) from the (famous) Croatian new wave band Film.

Initially pressed in mere 3,000 copies, Katarina II is a spirited debut effort, torn somewhere between the new wave aesthetic and polished rock sound which became the hallmark of Ekatarina Velika. Essentially, there are two main vibes to discern on this album, Milan Mladenović’s songs are more progressive in its approach, like ‘Jesen’, ‘Geto’ and ‘Aut’, contrasting with the songs written by Dragan Mihajlović, ‘Vrt’, ‘Platforme’ and ‘Treba Da Se Čisti’, which retain the structure and faux-mysticism of the previous movement (Idoli and Šarlo Akrobata).

Back Cover
Back Cover

Slotted in between is a beautiful little ballad ‘Kad Krenem Ka’, written and sang by Margita, as well as a cheery pop number ‘Radostan Dan’. Overall, it all makes for a well-rounded package, with a couple of classics (Geto and Jesen) and eclipsed influences such as Talking Heads. An absolutely essential listen, Sretan Put!

The ‘IM’ highlights are Radostan Dan and Ja Znam.

Tracks Include:

A1 Aut

A2 Vrt

A3 Platforme

A4 Radostan Dan

A5 Geto

B1 Treba da Se Čisti 1

B2 Ja Znam

B3 Kad Krenem Ka

B4 Treba da Se Čisti 2

B5 Jesen

Credits

  • Bass: Bojan Pečar
  • Drums, Percussion: Ivan Vdović
  • Guitar: Dragomir Mihailović
  • Guitar, Vocals: Milan Mladenović
  • Keyboards, Vocals: Margita Stefanović
  • Congas (Featuring): Mario Čelik
  • Music, Arranged: Katarina II
  • Photography: Aleksandar Knežević, Ivan Pešić, Srđan Vejvoda
  • Design: Margita
  • Producer, Recorded: Đorđe Petrović

Recorded at studio Akvarius, Beograd, end of December, 1983.

ZKP RTVL ‎– LD 0954

Uvac Canyon
Uvac Canyon