Friday, October 31, 2008

Mitar Bulatovich

These three records were recorded in Chicago in the 1940's and feature the talented vocalist Mitar Bulatovich. Accompanying him on the first is Marty Kapugi and his Sar Planina Orchestra. The last two were recorded with the Serbian Radio Orchestra under the direction of the famous violinist Danilo Kozarski.

Tesko Mi Je Zaboravit Tebe

Haj Haj Curo Bre


Sto Cu Kuci Tako Rano
Cacansko Kokonjeste


Zenicu Se
Oj Nisavo

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Djura Bogicevich (part 2)

Here are two more records featuring the famous accordian player Djura Bogicevich. The first is with Tamburaski Zbor "Zora", and the second is with the Plavi Dunav Tamburitza Orchestra.

Kisa Pada
Poslala Me Zena


San Zaspala
Oj Devojko Djinjo Moja

Tamburaski Zbor "Sloga"

This group sounds very much like Adamov & Co. and I wouldn't be surprised if it had some of the same members. They performed comedy skits as well. I only know of three records by this particular orchestra. This one features two old folksongs and was recorded in 1928 in New York.

Mila Mati
Jedno Jutro Cim je Zora Svanula

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adamov & Co. Tamburitza Orchestra

Although Adamov & Co. are best remembered for their comedy skits, they were wonderfully talented musicians, who played and sang the old tunes with real passion and guts. This record is one of the few they made that is not a comedy skit.

Haj Dockan Podjo

Opio Se-Ej Pa Sta

Ted "Tosho" Erdel

Ted "Tosho" Erdel enjoyed great success as a vocalist in many different genres. He sang in church choirs, with big band jazz orchestras, tamburitza orchestras, and was a very successful opera singer. This record features the wonderful tamburitza accompaniment of Danny Kukich and his Slav Continentals.

Moja Mala Nema Mane

Imam Jednu Zelju

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marko Nesic (1873-1938)

From the city of Novi Sad, Marko Nesic was one of the greatest Serbian composers and tamburitza musicians. We are extremely fortunate that so many of his works have been passed down to us. The list of folk songs he composed for tambura goes on and on, and includes such famous titles as Žabaljka, Bogata sam imam svega, Đuvegije gde ste da ste, Kukuruzi već se beru, Donesi vina krčmarice, Majka me psuje, Oj meseče, Idem kući, Uzmi mi srce moje, Prolaze noći, Neven Kolo, etc., etc. Not only are we lucky to have so many great compositions, we even have some very old recordings of his tamburitza orchestras.

Click the photos to play or download...

Je si li vec uznale tiEj ljubicica s proleca

Filip Lipa Gruic

Filip Lipa Gruic was another great musician from Novi Sad. Marko Nesic was the conductor of his tamburitza orchestra.

Siroce sam
Majka me psuje


Ej gledaj muze
Sestrin rastanak


U Marice beo vrat
Sto se bore misli moje

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Obrad Djurin

Another long forgotten singer from the early days is Obrad Djurin. He recorded Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian folksongs in the 1910's and 20's on both Victor and Columbia labels. He had a wonderful, operatic, tenor voice, which soared above the sometimes mediocre, nondescript orchestras that accompanied him on many of his records. His passionate rendition of Da Sam Leptir is one of my all time favorites.

Click the titles to download or play...

New York August 1927
New York ca March 1919

New York ca October 1918

Frank Toplak and John Vidak

Two of the great early tamburasi who deserve to be remembered are Frank Toplak and John Vidak. They each arrived in the United States from Yugoslavia at about the same time, John in 1912, and Frank in 1913. Frank Toplak was playing tambura from the age of seven and was teaching and arranging orchestras very early on. John Vidak lived in the same boarding house as Frank and by 1915 they were playing together in one of their first tamburitza orchestras in Cleveland, Ohio. By the 1920's they were both living in New York and performing together in the Royal Tamburitzans, along with Joe Kuharic and Ilija Miskovic. In 1931 the Royal Tamburitzans even toured Europe with such legendary musicians as Mirko Kolesar and Rada Stojic.

Back in New York, Frank Toplak organized the famous Balkan Mountain Men in 1931. It included such greats as Milan Verni, Jim Kovacevich, Matt Vucin, and of course John Vidak. They played for the NBC Radio stations, did Vaudeville shows, and recorded such memorable songs as Kolika Je Javorina Planina, Cujes Mala, Alaj Gigi, and many more.

During WWII John Vidak moved back to Cleveland where he continued to play music with Jim Kovacevich. Together they arranged music for the Cleveland Junior Tammies, and John even began building tamburas for them and other groups as well, including many of the great tamburasi of the day. They eventually went on to form the Cleveland Symphony Tamburitza Orchestra.

Frank Toplak and John Vidak are definitely two musicians who's contributions were enormous.

This was recorded in 1929 in New York.

Click the photos to listen or download...

Crna Zemlja I Zelena Travir

Ne Gledajte Mene

Dave Zupkovich

Dave Zupkovich was a true legend and we're extremely fortunate that he made so many wonderful recordings. His main instrument was the bugarija, but he played others, and his orchestras always included the best talents tamburitza had to offer. Some of my favorite's were recorded with the legendary violinist, Tony Markulin, on the Balkan Records label. Marty Kapugi, Steve Vucinic, Edo Ljubic, Lex Ellesin, John Krilcic, Joe Matacic, Steve Pavlekovich, George Skrbina, and many others all played and recorded with him. The unique sound they created can never be duplicated.

I'm only posting a few from my collection because Dave Zupkovich's best records (on the Balkan Records label) have been professionally restored and re-issued by Esoteric Sound. They've done an absolutely unbelievable job, not only with the Balkan Singles, but they've also issued collections of Edo Ljubic, Dusan Jovanovic, Milan Verni, The Popovich Bros. (including two live cd's), The Skertich Bros., Dunav, Marty Kapugi, and many, many more...and they are constantly adding new ones.

Click the photos to listen or download...

Alaj Salaj


Zaplet Kolo
Na Rastanku


Gjurgjevka Kolo
Oj Djevojko Sil-Dil-Daj

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Milan Timotić

Before World War II, Milan Timotić was one of the most popular singers in Serbia. He recorded a huge number of songs, both popular and folk, on labels like Odeon and Edison Bell - Penkala. Soon after the war broke out he was taken prisoner and held in a factory near Valjevo. His marriage eventually fell apart, and although it's not certain whether he left during or after the war, he eventually decided to make a clean start abroad, never returning to Serbia. He first went to Vienna, then to New York, and in 1959 he moved to Chicago where he met his second wife, Joan Cornell. They were married in 1961 and lived happily together until 1988. Milan passed away just six days before their 27th anniversary. During his time in Chicago he was a member of the Serbian Singing Federation and made even more 78 rpm records, but this time with Marty Kapugi's Sar Planina Ochestra.

Thank you to my good friend Milan Milovanović for the historical information about Milan Timotić.

I've included records he made in Serbia as well as one he recorded here for the Balkan Music Co.

Click the photo's to listen to or download the music...

Sama Sedi I Dusmane Kune

Ravno Polje Zao Mi Je Na Te

Oj Ti Mico Pevacico

Magla Padnala

Sluzim Cara

Kad Je Bilo Nocu U Loznici

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Milan Verni (part II)

Here are just a few more Milan Verni records. There are still quite a few more to come.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

George Skrbina

One of my favorite Prim players, George Skrbina was a rare talent and true innovator. His playing was lively and gutsy! The kind of lead every tamburitza orchestra wishes for. He was constantly pushing the envelope, and this passion can be felt to the fullest in these wonderful recordings he made for the Stanchel record company. These were taken from the original 78 rpms. There's a great biography of George Skrbina here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Edo Ljubic

Edo Ljubic wasn't just a great singer, he was an extremely versatile musician who had an immense influence on tamburitza music in America. His arrangements are some of my favorites and I'll never get tired of listening to his wonderful voice. There's a great biography of him Here.

These are just a couple records he recorded with the Braca Kapugi Tamburitza Orchestra and Continental Orchestra on the Continental record label.

Click the titles below to listen or download...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mirko Kolesar

Mirko Kolesar was another of the great early recording artists. He played with most of the big name musicians at one time or another and his musical career lasted decades. It's interesting that he was Russian by heritage.

His version of Placem Vec Tri Dana is my favorite...

These first two records feature Ivan Konjik on vocals.

This Record features the Blue Danube Orchestra

The last one is on the Columbia record label

Recorded in New York, July 1926

Sofka Nikolic

Sofka was a gypsy singer who performed in the Belgrade kafanas of the 20's and 30's. Her popularity can be seen in the large number of recordings she made. She was accompanied on many of them by her husband Paja Nikolic's amazing orchestra. In America we have Vinka, but in Serbia Sofka was queen. She has the distinction of being possibly the first woman to have recorded Sevdalinke. She had a powerful voice and her renditions of popular folk songs and sevdalinke were full of passion. On many of Sofka's recordings you can hear her setting the tempo with her tambourine. She also made a set of recordings in the 1960's and her voice was just as strong and beautiful then as it had been in the 20's!

Click the photos to listen or download....

Sagradit Cu Sajku

Ja Nabacih Udicu

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marty Kapugi

The first two records are on the old Zora label from Detroit, Michigan and feature Marty Kapugi and his "Sar Planina" Recording Artists with Mel Dokich on Violin. The last one on RCA Victor is with the Balkan Tamburitza Orchestra with Marty Kapugi and Dave Zupkovich.

***Mel Dokich is the lead vocalist on Kazi Mi Kazi Diko

Click the photos for the music...

Kajo Moja Kajo

Kazi Mi Kazi Diko


Mjesecina Kao Dan

Cele Noci


Oj Jovane

Marice Maro