Tonči Huljić: Folk is Embedded into the Region`s DNA
I was never afraid, I sang songs no one would sing, said Severina Kojić at one of the most visited panels at the Weekend Media Festival “Who`s singin` over there: A New Wave of Regional Music Trends” discussing a new music genre, a combination folk and hip-hop, which has conquered the entire region.
Severina recalled collaborating with Bregović on the album “Zdravo Marijo” and competing at the Eurosong contest with the song “Moja štikla”, which caused many to call her out, which hasn`t changed even when she recently started collaborating with Jala Brat.
“I had all genres on my albums and I never fit into molds,” Severina said of setting new trends.
Relja Milanković of the Bassivity Group and Stefan Đuric Rasta of Balkaton agreed that the emergence of this new genre came naturally and as a result of social circumstances.
“I think this new wave is the result of the internet, YouTube and the availability of all channels. Young people can check out all genres, maybe even ones they wouldn’t normally listen to. Listeners are no longer only rockers, punkers or rappers. That’s why musicians started experimenting. In my opinion, this has hip-hop in its core, but the thing we can’t and shouldn’t run away from is our musical identity, which is in our blood, “Milanković said, and Rasta added that the most important component of new songs is honesty, because the audience can’t be cheated.
“There is only one general rule, that in the beginning and at the end it all ends with something we call folk. We can make fun with that, but there is something written in the DNA of this region. Everything else is just a matter of expression, and how will it be presented. Will it be reggaeton or something else. The core of it all is to come to a happy blend with folk music, “said Huljić, adding that in Croatia we have klapas and tambourines, but the arrangers are not interested enough to follow trends and move forward.
“People in Serbia live for music, while in Croatia they want to live off music,” concluded Huljić, adding that he started playing at a young age to make it easier to charm girls and not for money, but Severina disagreed with his statement.
Everybody thinks that television has become almost irrelevant alongside YouTube and its trending, which is the only relevant music chart in this region.
“It`s the traditional media that never support our music, underground hip-hop, and that forced us to learn how to create a guerilla business model that doesn`t rely on the publishers, television and the old way of doing business. Today, young performers write, compose and promote their own music…” Milanković said.
The duration of this new trend, the panel participants concluded, is difficult to assess, but what remains are quality performers who adapt to trends, change genres and collaborate with others while maintaining their identities.