En passent med aksent (A migrant with an accent)
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Born in Belgrade and now living in Norway, songwriter and singer Kanic has made truly local music: he has taken his songs of war and peace in the Balkans and presented them to a Norwegian audience, in his adopted language. It's a bold move for an immigrant, but the songs carry a potency and the music accompanying them is superb. The Norwegian press has responded positively and so have audiences. Balkan music fans will find plenty to love in the musical accompaniment, too, with it's great sonic mix from a band of accordions, bass, guitars, cimbalom, violins and more.
Vlada Kanic: A simplified musical biography
Vlada Kanic was born and grew up in Zemuvn, on the outskirts of Belgrade. He was already an established singer and musician in his homeland when he came to Norway in 1968 with his 5-man band and set out on a five-year tour playing Scandinavian restaurants. In his homeland he has won many festival prizes as a recording artist and composer. Some of his songs have become so popular over the years that they are sung as folk songs in what was once Yugoslavia. Since the breaking-up of Yugoslavia, as a Croatian born in Serbia, Vlada Kanic has also experienced that his songs are now only sung in the countries where they are ethnically and linguistically correct. During a politically strained time, due to the controversial lyrics, TV and radio stations in Belgrade boycotted some of the songs.
Vlada Kanic lives in Stavanger. He works as a construction engineer, but music is his life. In Norway he has played on a CD made by Gjertruds Sigøynerorkester (Gertrude's Gypsy Orchestra), where he sang gypsy songs in Russian. As leader of the band "Viirus" where he sings and plays guitar, he renders lively gypsy ballads, Balkan rhythms and self-composed songs with Norwegian lyrics that he writes himself.
This CD includes traditional gypsy songs, self-composed songs and some tracks composed by other artists. All the lyrics are in Norwegian and are written by Vlada Kanic. The bloody dissolution of Yugoslavia has given us a picture of the Balkans as an incomprehensible battlefield. Vlada Kanic's songs remove the dust from the splendours with which the antique peninsula and Europe's cultural cradle have always been embellished.
The ballads on this CD are proof that songs survive war.
It all started after my wife Eva died. I felt like a nobody. I took comfort from the guitar, which was like a forgotten but faithful friend. From this came the song "Nobody". After that my country, Yugoslavia, disappeared in bloody dissolution. I then wrote the lyrics for "My pink cherry tree". From my confusion and impotence caused by the ravages of the generals, and the triumph of power over honour, the song "Dress rehearsal" came into being.
As the years passed, and my will to live gradually returned, the songs I worked with became happier and full of life. The process took five years. It was helped by the fact that I chose to cling to a number of gypsy songs. Gypsies know about the art of survival.
The title "A migrant with an accent" is well-suited to one who observes things as he passes through life. Instead of "Norwegian Norwegian", this CD is "Foreign Norwegian" as, luckily, I can do nothing about my foreign accent. Nowadays with genocide dominating the headlines, the songs on my CD provide a contrast – a product of ethnic immigrant tones.
1. My pink cherry tree 4:46
2. The trial of the general 3:32
3. Kiko 3:33
4. The hat song 4:28
5. The gypsies' wandering song 3:04
6. Fly black swan 4:06
7. Vagabond 3:38
8. Nobody 2:59
9. The cockerel's song 3:30
10. Journey to Karasjok 3:06
About the songs
"My pink cherry tree"
War comes creeping up on us, like a lady in black. When all the bridges, cathedrals with their stone angels, villages with people and animals, rivers and valleys are destroyed, only one picture survives in the memory: a pink cherry tree that no longer exists. A painful time is coming, when we all have someone we don't have anymore…
This song tells the story of the birth of a little general. All little dwarves look bigger when they stand on tiptoe. The song is highly relevant today when a whole world believes that bombs and terror will solve all our problems.
A gypsy love song that teeters on death's threshold…When a gypsy is in love, his love takes him just past this threshold.
"The hat song"
A gypsy song with accelerating feelings that ends in tempo gigante.
"The gypsies' wandering song "
Gypsies stumble into life, with curly hair and honey voices… The journey begins at birth. Life is a bridge. Don't build a house on it.
"Fly black swan"
A gypsy song from Russia. Mysterious and melancholic. A dream of silent black wings. If you are unkind, one night a large black wing will come and take you away…
A gypsy song about a vagabond who has missed his last train. There are no more trains and he asks to be laid to rest in a sarcophagus with a window... Facing a Spanish balcony.
A very personal song. The melody and lyrics were written in a time of despair and fever and anxiety. A man is falling apart and regrets the loss of his full paunch.
"The cockerel's song "
An anti-macho song about the process of growing old. As a man becomes older, his treasured parts also become older. This song tells the story of a cockerel that becomes older and older...
"Journey to Karasjok"
Persona non grata in terra inkognita. When you migrate to Norway, and eventually learn the language, then you may be invited to visit Norwegian friends. As long as you talk about how fantastic the Norwegian mountains and fjords are, and that the cakes and coffee are good, everything is just fine. Then one day, whilst waiting to buy a hotdog, you complain that the queue is long or the sausage too short. Then you hear it - "If you think the sausages are too short, then you can just go right back where you came from". To set the problem in Norway, I've written a refrain that says, "Go back home to Karasjok". The destination can be changed, as suits – to Pakistan, Kingston Town, Legoland…
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