Sunday, November 22, 2009

Joca (Mlinko) Mimika - part IV

Violinist, singer, and band leader Joca (Mlinko) Mimika, from the town of Mol in northern Serbia, was one of the greatest musicians of the early 20th century and we're extremely fortunate that he recorded so prolifically. The works of renowned Serbian composer and tamburitza musician Marko Nešić seem to make up a significant part of Mimika's discography, and this track, Ej gledaj muže (Ej vidiš muže kakvo mi je lice), is a great example. The free, improvisational style of this performance is typical of his soulful, heartfelt interpretations of Nešić's compositions.

Ej gledaj muže

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sofka Nikolić (Part 2)

These two beautiful songs were recorded in Serbia in the late 1920's with Sofka and an unnamed Gypsy (Rom) orchestra (possibly Sofka's husband's group). The first side features a lively version of Čuješ Seko with Sofka playing the tambourine. The second track, Zone mori Zone, from the play Zona Zamfirova (Зона Замфирова), based on Serbian author Stevan Sremac's book, is one of my all time favorite songs, and Sofka's intense, powerful interpretation makes this my favorite version as well.

Čuješ Seko

Zone, mori Zone

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Donations needed

OK, the music files should all be working now. Please let me know if any of the links don't work and I'll fix them.

This is very confusing, but the company that I was using to host my music files, BOXSTR.COM has apparently split into two different companies. One of them told me that my files were gone and that they wouldn't give me a refund - and the other is staying the same and still has all of my mp3s and account information. Since I've already paid I've decided to use them until I can find a better company.

Donations are needed to keep this site going. I
f you are able to make a contribution, please click the "Donate" button below (or on the left side of the page). Names of donors to this project will go on a permanent list. Thanks so much for your help.

Please Help If You Can

Before I start a permanent list of people who have given money to this project I want to say thank you to Ted Shatlan who was so kind to send a donation back in August. And thank you to Dragoljub Pokrajac who just made a generous contribution to help me get this going again. You are the first two donors and I just want to tell you that it means so much to have your support. Thank you!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yugoslavia Tamburaško Društvo (Part 2)

This was one of the greatest tamburitza orchestras to record in the 1920's! Musicians such as Vaso Bukvić, Ćira Kozarov, and Vlado Marjanović were already legends when they came to the Yugoslavia Tamb. Društvo of Indiana Harbor, Indiana. The Bukvić brothers, Vaso and Mirko, were part of the original Banat Tamburitza Orchestra founded by Zdravko Jezdimir in 1912. Also in 1912, the amazing primaš and tenor Vlado Marjanović was making his famous recordings with Drago Ilkić for the Columbia recording studios. In 1917 Ćira Kozarov joined Vaso Bukvich and Zdravko Jezdimir to make a number of recordings for RCA-Victor with the Srpski muški kvintet, a renowned tamburitza orchestra directed by Sandor Huszar. Some of these incredibly talented musicians would go on to form this group, The Yugoslavia Tamburaško Društvo, in the early 1920's.

Jovan Stojković "Babunski"
About the songs: The first track, Komitska Pesma, an early version of the patriotic song Spremte Se Spremte Četnici (or Srpska mi truba zatrubi ) , dates back to 1908 after guerillas fought valliantly under the command of Serbian Vojvoda Jovan Stojković "Babunski" (pictured at right) against Turkish regulars at the battle of Drenovo, in Macedonia. It was composed shortly after the battle by former Serbian Orthodox monk and četnik soldier Jeremija (Jovan) Grković "Gapon", (born in Orahovac, Prizren, in 1879, he was killed in the fighting at Kumanovo in 1912). This song became very popular in the United States after WWI and tamburitza legend Dušan Jovanović recorded his own version in November of 1925 for the Columbia record label in New York. With the onset of WWII Spremte Se Spremte was popularized again by such greats as Edo Ljubić, who recorded it on July 30, 1942 for RCA-Victor, and Raša Radenković and Mirko Marković who recorded a version for the Sonart label. This track was recorded on July 23, 1924 in Richmond, Indiana and features lead vocals by Vaso Bukvić.

The second track, Prošetaj Lelo (better known as Čini ne čini, or Ne luduj lelo), doesn't need much introduction. Written by Serbian poet and songwriter Milorad Petrović Seljančica, and composed by Stanislav Binički, this song was extremely popular and was performed and recorded by countless orchestras and choirs in Europe and the U.S.A. This track was recorded on July 23, 1924 and features vocals by Ćira Kozarov.

I'm so grateful to my friend Milan Opacich for giving me this rare treasure! Thanks Milan!

Komitska Pesma

Prošetaj Lelo

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jorgovan Tamburica Orchestra - (Part 4)

Here is another great old record by the Jorgovan Tamburitza Orchestra featuring Ilija Mišković, Djoko Dokić, Nikola Plavsić, Todor Petrović, and Mirko Kolesar. These two tracks were recorded in New York on June 24, 1926.

Kolo Branka Radičevića Sa pesmom

Sa tog polja Bojnog


-Updated Record-

I've updated the Jorgovan (Part 2) post with a better copy of Columbia 23035-F. I've posted it here as well...

Niko Nema Što Srbin Imade

Stari Guslar

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Budučnost Tamburitza Orchestra

Here are three great records featuring Tamburitza Orchestra "Budučnost" of Detroit, Michigan, recorded in the 1940's for the Zora Record Co.

Ja Sam Svome Loli
Mara Djevojka


Mene Majka Daje
Svu Noč Mi Soko Propjeva


Volim Soju


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cig. Kap. Sava Milković (1)/ Members of National Theater in Belgrade (2)

The two sides of this record are by different performers. First is a very interesting and beautiful song with a heavy Romanian slant performed by Sava Milković and his gypsy orchestra from the Braničevo District of Serbia. The energy in this performance is incredible.

Side two features actors from the National Theater of Belgrade performing a scene from the play "Đido, slika iz seoskog života u pet činova s pevanjem" (Djido, pictures from village life in five parts with singing) by Janko Veselinović. Performing here are Žanka Stokić, Teodora Arsenović, Aleksander Zlatković, and Milorad Dušanović

Srbi Vole Jer Su Lole

Djido I. čin - Maksim

Friday, August 14, 2009

Srpsko Pevačko Društvo iz Lebanona, PA

This truly amazing choir came from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and was directed by Dr. Johann M. Blose. The first recording is a beautiful rendition of Čini Ne Čini by legendary composer Stanislav Binički. Side two features the upbeat composition Srpkinja by another famous Serbian composer, Isidor Bajić. This choir traveled to New York to make these recordings in February of 1931.

Čini Ne Čini

Srpkinja, Narodna Igra sa Pevanjem

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Muzika Kraljeve Garde (1927)

This record features Serbia's premier military band, the King's Guard Orchestra, performing a beautiful instrumental medley of popular folk songs. The arrangement is by F.Sedlaček.

Potpuri što svaki peva - I.deo
Potpuri što svaki peva - II.deo

Friday, August 7, 2009

Banat Tamburitza Orchestra (1920's) part II

Here are two beautiful old patriotic songs recorded in the 1920's by the Tamburaški Zbor "BANAT" and Vlado Konstantinović. The first song, Onam' Onamo, was written in 1867 by Montenegrin King Nikola I and became the unofficial national anthem of Montenegro.

Onam' Onamo

Rado Ide Srbin U Vojnike

Pajo B. Šantić

These two great oldies were recorded in March of 1925, in New York.

Srem, Banat i Bačka
Kraj Vardara

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Neven Tamburitza Orchestra (Dir. Nick Kosanovich)

These six beautiful tracks were recorded by Neven Tamburitza Orchestra of S.S. Pittsburgh, PA, under the direction of Nick Kosanovich, and feature vocalist Desa Beatovich Sarapa.

Petli Poje - Aj Jedva Cekam
Golubice Bela


Aj Kolika Je U Prijedoru Carsija
Oj Jovane - Kolo


Gledaj Me Draga
Tesko Je Ljubit Tajno

Brata Latkovich Tamburitza Orchestra (1930)

This is another of my favorites! These two tracks were recorded in New York by the Brata Latkovich Tamburitza Orchestra in 1930.

I Moja Mi Kaže Nana
Žašto Si Se Udala

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vlado Konstantinović (1912)

Here's a very early recording of baritone singer Vlado Konstantinović featuring the beautiful solo tambura accompaniment of Andras Tavić . This is the other side of the first record in the previous post with the song "Pesmu ti pevam" by Vlado Marjanović and Drago Ilkić. It's interesting that Drago Ilkić recorded a version of "Pesmu ti pevam" with Andras Tavić on June 18, 1912, the day before he recorded the same song with Vlado Marjanović. This song, Pitaš mene, was also recorded on June 18, 1912.

Many years later, Joe Marmilich and his Tamburitzans recorded an absolutely beautiful version of Pitaš mene for the Marjon record company.

Pitaš mene

Friday, July 31, 2009

Vlado Marjanović and Drago Ilkić (1912)

Decades before Rasha & Mirko, there was another unique tamburitza duo performing and recording here in the USA known as Marjanović & Ilkić. Vlado Marjanović was a brilliant primaš and tenor, who's fast, intricate style of playing contrasted beautifully with Drago Ilkić's steady rhythm and baritone vocals. Marjanović went on to play with many of the great early tamburaši, including Vaso Bukvich and the "Yugoslavia" Tamb. Društvo, and was a major influence on later musicians. In songs like "Otvori mi Mile pile vrata" and "Kad bi ove ružu male", or even the opening notes of "Pesmu ti pevam", you can hear the profound impact that Vlado Marjanović had on another legendary primaš and tenor, Marko Popovich. It's sad that great musicians like these can just disappear into obscurity. Vlado Marjanović & Drago Ilkić are two musicians who deserve to be remembered.


One of my favorite things about this first track "Pesmu ti pevam" is the second half when they sing a duet of "Čergo moja čergice". I've only included one side of the first record because the second side is by another musician, Vlado Konstantinović, and I'll post that next.

The second track here, "Otvori mi Mile pile vrata", ends with one of the greatest versions of a Kokonjeste that I've ever heard! You can really get a sense of Vlado Marjanović's intense and unique style from this recording.


All of these songs were recorded in New York between June 14 and June 28, 1912.

Pesmu ti pevam


Otvori mi Mile pile vrata
Kad bi ove ruže male


Misli moje
Ančice dušice

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Popovich Brothers Tamburitza Orchestra

There's something absolutely magical about the sound of an orchestra made up of family members. Whether you're talking about groups comprised of brothers, sisters, parents and their children, or even whole extended families like many of the old orchestras from Europe, there's a certain level of togetherness that only blood relations can achieve. There are a very special few of these tamburitza orchestras who have the ability to evoke indescribable feelings and emotions with the simple mention of their name. Whenever I hear the word "tamburitza", I think of the Popovich brothers. Starting young in the 1920's, they continued performing together clear into the new millennium, defining tamburitza for generations of Americans in the process.

With any traditional art form it's extremely important to know where you come from, and the Popovich brothers were living libraries of knowledge about their art form, tamburitza. They knew everything about the history of the Serbian music and culture, the songs and dances, the musicians who came before them, and the old recordings. Along with this deep knowledge and appreciation came the raw, creative talent to transform it all into something completely unique and their own, traditional yet timeless. When you listen to the Popovich brothers play you can hear the love they had for the music in every single note.

This record is possibly their oldest, and except for the youthful voices, their style of playing is just the same as in later years. Timeless!

Check out This great page about The Popovich Brothers by "Baba Mim" Bizic for lots of great history, photos, and links.

And visit Balkan Records if you want to purchase digitally remastered Cd's and live recordings of The Popovich Brothers and many more tamburitza orchestras.

Zlatna Grivna
Razbila Se Casa

Friday, July 24, 2009

Šule Radosavljević-Šapčanin

Šule Radosavljević-Šapčanin's orchestra is one of those great gypsy groups that make you want to get up and start dancing...even if you don't know how. One of the great things about these tracks is the intense, lively kolo dances that follow each and every song. The combination of flawless and beautiful musicianship, with unique and passionate group vocals, make these recordings something truly special. These four were recorded in Serbia in 1927.

Sokolska pesma i kolo

Jeleno Momo Jeleno


Click the song titles to hear the tracks below...

Šule Radosavljević - Šapčanin

- sa svojom kapelom


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tamburasko Drustvo "Balkan"

A Kolo and a Kokonjeste by the Balkan Tamburitza Orchestra.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Vaso & Mirko Bukvich

Here's another nice record from Vaso & Mirko Bukvich recorded in NY, June 1916.


Milkina kuca na kraju