This paper is dedicated to Yugoslav alternative rock band EKV active in the period between 1982 and 1994, evaluated as one of the best Yugoslav bands according to the published articles in music magazines and biographical books. The analysis is based on historical overview about Yugoslav alternative rock, biographical presentation, analytical discussion on music, reviews and essays about EKV, with purpose to define the reasons and facts about the creation of ‘EKV myth’ after the death of the crucial members: Milan Mladenović, Margita Stefanović, Bojan Pečar and Ivan Vdović-VD.
Alternative rock in Yugoslavia in the 1980’s – Introduction
From the beginning of the 1980s in Yugoslavia, the Džuboks magazine began publishing articles concerning the new movement called ‘novi val’, ‘novi talas’ (‘new-wave’) or ‘alternative muzika’ (alternative music). Branko Vukojević in the review published in Džuboks about the record Paket Aranžman, (Package Arrangement) recorded with three bands from Belgrade: Idoli (Idols), Šarlo Akrobata (Šarlo Accrobate) and Električni Orgazam (Electric orgasm), specifies these three bands as being part of the new Belgrade alternative scene (BAS). Vukojević concludes that the styles of these three bands are different, but in any case they work in the same period of the new wave and have room for fresh and original development. (Vukojević, 2005: 392, 393). In another review on the record Artistička radna akcija, (Artistic Working Action) recorded with 10 new bands, Vukojević uses the term ‘alternative-new wave direction’. The previous reviews on these bands were written in a positive context since there was no other way of writing. Nevertheless, there is a small critical aspect that this product lacked deeper creative author realization (Vukojević, 2005: 443, 444).
The creation of the image about the Yugoslav alternative rock would continue with published interviews with some musicians who were active on the alternative scene during the 1980s. Milan Mladenović (member of Šarlo Akrobata, EKV) has stated that in their work everything was spontaneous; they were just taking the instruments in their hands; they played the fastest they can without taking into account anything and just producing pure energy. They were not interested in commercial success and the opinion of critics. Concerning the lyrics, they had reduced approach. For the other new wave bands and their treatment of the lyrics, Mladenović said that each band dealt with a specific subject. Some spoke against television, some about young people with small chances of development, others about pressure from third parties, and some were paranoid (Vukojević, 2005: 421, 424). Srdjan Šaper, member of the band Idoli, described the music situation in Yugoslavia in the 1980s as a biological cycle of rock music very similar to the rock in the west. (Vukojević, 2005: 397).
The musicians which were part of the alternative scene gave more expressed individual energy in the creation of their music. According to the music journalist Žikić, in Belgrade at the beginning of the 1980s, the alternative movement does not mean absence from the billboards or their rejection but rather going to the top (or to a commercial success) without losing the integrity and the initial motives as well. Unfortunately, the temptation is large and only few of the bands or musicians have managed to reach the target only through their internal creative or artistic creations. This is the road Milan Mladenović took with the bands Limunovo drvo (Lemon tree), Šarlo Akrobata, Katarina II, and EKV. His career is a proof that if a person wants and has enough power and patience, he/she can succeed and will never surrender or sell, and will get to the top (Žikić, 1999: 18-19).
Slightly different view from the one of the journalist Žikić, is the view of Teno, the leader of the alternative band SCH from Sarajevo, who defines the alternative music as a music outside commerciality and a music that opens new horizons. This work can be politically engaged to accomplish the task but can also be engaged with its own internal logic without taking into account the lyrics (E-interview with Teno, October 17, 2008). So according to Teno, there is no room for making a comparison with the commercial music or market but sees the alternative music exclusively outside the commercial music world.
Alternative versus commercial is one of the most important comparisons when explaining the alternative music. For Zoran Štajdohar-Zoff, the leader of Rijeka alternative band Grč (Spasm), the alternative music refreshes the music scene, but not strongly because it is not commercial, meaning the alternative music was not profitable and did not get an adequate media space, as if it was semi-illegal. According to Zoff, the bands from the republics’ centers or the capitals of the republics, could easily release a record, while it was difficult for those outside the capitals. Zoff sees the expression of the alternative bands in the socialist society of that time, as making a progress and as pushing the boundaries within the cultural public sphere as well. After the break-up of Yugoslavia, at the time of the transition of all the republics and the arrival of the initial capitalism, the situation, according to Zoff, does not change for the better but it comes down to the material status of the individual or the group. The only positive thing are the technological possibilities of the digital technology allowing independence in the music publishing, i.e. the individual or the band to release their work. Commercial projects for the masses are still a priority, while the alternative remains on the margins, Zoff concludes (E-interview with Zoran Štajdohar-Zoff, August 8, 2011; Papazova 2017: 31, 32).
The emergence of alternative rock in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia happens in the same period of time as in the west, in UK and the United States, during the 1980s, which points out the parallel development of the Yugoslav with the western alternative rock. Concerning the music (rock styles, post-punk, new wave), the Yugoslav alternative rock is very similar to the western one; the difference being primarily linguistic, with dominant use of the Serbo-Croatian language, and through the content of the lyrics presenting local themes, part of the social, cultural or political situation in Yugoslavia. (Papazova, 2017: 122).
Biography of EKV
Through published histories of rock music, we could read that rock music is filled with myths, legends, folklore, gossip, fiction and facts. Live stories filled with excesses, bizarre or unusual coincidences (Patterson, 2004: xi). Hereinafter will follow the history of the band Ekatarina Velika (Ekatarina the Great) or EKV, before and after the death of the important members: Milan Mladenović (1958−1994), Margita Stefanović (1959−2002), Bojan Pečar (1960−1998) and Ivan Vdović-VD (1961−1992).
The band Ekatarina Velika was formed in 1982 in Belgrade, initially titled Katarina II. The first band members were: Milan Mladenović (guitar, vocals), Dragomir Mihajlović-Gagi, (guitar), Dušan Dejanović (drums) and Zoran Radomirović-Švaba (bass). At the end of 1982, the group gets new members the pianist Margita Stefanović-Magi, drummer Ivan Vdović-VD and the bassist Bojan Pečar. Margita Stefanović is the only member who finished High Music School ‘Josip Slavenski’ in Belgrade. In the 1970’s was considered to be one of the best young pianists in Yugoslavia. In addition to solo performances in particular is important the concert with the Belgrade Philharmonic, when Stefanović performed the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Shostakovich (1979). During this time, Stefanović visited seminars together with her school mate Ivo Pogorelić, who would become one of the greatest world pianists. Stefanović received an offer to study piano in Moscow but she did not avail. While Pogorelić went to Moscow, Margita decided to continue her education at the ‘Faculty of Architecture’ in Belgrade (Nikolić, 2011: 90).
Among the first important EKV performance was at the ‘Zagreb Biennale’ Festival in 1983. They received positive reviews in music magazines. The first LP Katarina II begin to be recorded in the studio of Enco Lesić and was finished and issued by RTV Ljubljana. After the releasing the album the band changed the name from Katarina II in Ekatarina Velika – EKV. After Ivan Vdović-VD left the band from health reasons, acting drummer of the band was Ivan Fece Firči. In 1985 EKV recorded the second studio album Ekatarina Velika. This album promote song hits like: Tatoo, Oči boje meda (Honey-colored eyes), Modro i zeleno (Blue and Green). Next LP S vetrom u lice (Within the Wind in Your Face) again was issued by RTV Ljubljana (1986). With this album EKV approach closer to a wider audience and gaining popularity throughout Yugoslavia. The songs: Ti si sav moj bol (You’re My Pain), Novac u rukama (Money In The Hands), Kao da je bilo nekad (As It Happens Once), were widely listening across Yugoslavia. In 1986 EKV recorded a live album EKV 1986 Live at one of five sold-out concerts in Zagreb club ‘Kulušić’. This live LP was promoted in Belgrade Youth Center with six sold-out concerts. During this period, the band shift the drummers, Firči left the band, then the next drummer was Ivan Ranković, and from 1987 Srđan Todorović. In 1987 they complete the album Ljubav (Love). For the first time EKV collaborate with Australian producer Theodore Yanni. Next LP titled as Samo par godina za nas (Just A Couple Of Years for Us) was issued in 1989. This album contains the hit song Krug (Circle), which to date is playing at live clubs gigs and also at weddings.
In 1990 EKV had concerts in France. For the next album Dum Dum (1991) some of the band members leave. Bassist player Bojan Pečar went to London, and drummer Srđan Todorović decided to dedicate himself to acting. At their places come Miško Plavi on bass, and Marko Milivojević on drums. Some of the songs from Dum Dum as Zabranjujem (J Forbid), Idemo (Let’s Go), Dum, dum reflected the regional political developments in that period. During 1992 Milan Mladenović with some of the members of Partibrejkers and Električni orgazam established antiwar band Rimtutituki. In 1993 EKV recorded the last album Neko nas posmatra (Someone Is Watching Us). It has more playful and positive topics like Jadransko more (Adriatic Sea), Ponos (Pride) and Zajedno (Together). In 1994 Milan Mladenović went to Brazil where along with Mitra Subotić and other musicians recorded the album Angel’s Breath. After Mladenović returned to Belgrade, EKV held a few concerts. Last performance was held in Budva in August 1994. Soon Mladenović becomes ill and after a short stay in hospital he died with cancer diagnosis in November 1994. Margita Stefanović continues to be involved in music. Occasionally she performed with bands Glisers, Direktori, Zion banda and with Električni orgazam. In the period of 1997/98 Margita Stefanović as music editor re-published EKV LP’s on compact discs for the label EKV Records. Bojan Pečar died in London in 1998 of a heart attack, drummer Dušan Dejanović died of AIDS in 2000, and in 2002 of AIDS died Margita Stefanović. (Janjatović, 2001: 70-72).
About EKV were published several books: EKV, (photo monography), from Kamenko Pajić and Zoran Trbović published by Kamenko in 1990; Dečak iz vode (The Boy From The Water) ed. Flavio Rigonat, published by LOM in 1997, which content EKV song lyrics and Milan Mladenović photos; Место у међави (Place In A Blizzard) from Aleksandar Žikić, published by Matica Srpska in 1999, biography for Milan Mladenović; Osečanja.O.Sečanja (Feelings, Memories) from Lidija Nikolić, published by Čekić in 2011, biography for Margita Stefanović; Magi. Zvezda koja večno traje (Magi. The Star Who Lasts Forever), a book dedicated to Margita Stefanović, published by Fanovi EKV&Magi in 2002; Vrati unatrag. Razgovori sa Margitom Stefanović (Get Back – Conversations With Margita Stefanović), from Aleksandar Ilić published by Dragon mjuzik prodakšn in 2008; Magi. Kao da je bila nekad (Magi. As She Was Once), from Dušan Vesić, published by Laguna in 2017.
In the new millennium were founded couple of tribute bands: Iqv, founded in 2001,Tribute to EKV, founded in 2003, Krug (Circle), founded in 2006, Deca iz vode (Children’s From The Water), founded in 2013.
In 2008 was promoted documentary movie about EKV – Kao da je bilo nekad (As It Happens Once), director Dušan Vesić, scenario Dušan Vesić and Sandra Rančić. Couple of years later was promoted new documentary film about Milan Mladenović Dečak iz vode (The Boy From The Water, 2014), from the author Marko Novičić.
In honor of EKV some streets or squares at the territory of Yugoslavia were named as Milan Mladenović in: Podgorica (2011), Zagreb (2012) and the square in front of the Dom omladine (Youth Home) in Belgrade (2011). These ideas were promoted in public some period prior the realization and were followed by comments from the public that Milan and other members of EKV would not liked this act. In the revision of EKV work, journalist and writer M. Jergović, also mentioned this topic stating that if a national party in Croatia wants to express its croatecentric attitude it provokes the public among other things and with the naming of a street in Zagreb by some rock musician that comes from Serbia (Jergović, 2012), although Mladenović was born in a mix Serbo-Croatian marriage.
In April 2019, friends of Milan shared in public the new information about the promotion of the ‘Foundation Milan Mladenović’. Members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation are Zoran Kostić Cane, Milivoje Petrović-Miško Plavi and Nenad Milovanović, as well the members of the jury of the ‘Milan Mladenović Regional Award’ are Vasil Hadzimanov and Aleksandar Zikić. The competition for the Milan Mladenović regional music awards in the field of music will be soon announced, and be presented on September 21, on the birthday of Milan. (Osnovana Zadužbina Milana Mladenovića, 2019). Thus the process of revision of biography and legacy of EKV or its members, bring us to the many-sided approach of the topic moving from music analysis or revalidation to political, social, and symbolical levels that are going to be discussed in the following sections.
Katarina II (ZKP RTVLj, 1984)
Ekatarina Velika (ZKP RTVLj, 1985)
S vetrom u lice (ZKP RTVLj, 1986)
EKV 86 Live (ZKP RTVLj, 1987)
Ljubav (PGP RTB, 1987)
Samo par godina za nas (PGP RTB, 1989)
Dum Dum (PGP RTB, 1991)
Neko nas posmatra (PGP RTS, 1993)
Live 88 (Global music, 1997)
Kao nada, kao govor, kao more (PGP RTS, 1998, compilation)
Kao u snu-EKV Live 1991 (EKV Records, 2001)
EKV Revisted (PGP RTS, 2007)
EKV аlbums and its prediction elements over the political and social life at the territory of former Yugoslavia
Many musicians, journalists or artists declared that EKV was excellent band. Among them is Theodore Yanni producer of EKV from 1987-1991, who commented in the documentary movie Kao da je bilo nekad, that the band tried to penetrate to the Western market and some of the songs were translated to English. But Mladenović could not manage fully to express the content and messages of the songs in English ( T. Yanni in the documentary movie Kao da je bilo nekad, 2008). Yanni, as foreign collaborator of EKV, logically tried to move the activities of EKV on the global market with the inclusion of English language. There are bands who comes from non-English territories and use the English language as their priority language for the creation of the lyrics. From the other side there are bands as EKV who originated also from non-English speaking country, and did not have sense or need for extended connections to the dominant rules of global market. For Draganova, a native language affects music in a ways more complex than dictating choices of language for lyrical content. In the same time native language affects the articulation of thought, its specific sounds, rhythms, rhymes (Draganova, 2019: 159). Here comes and vocal delivery, expression of the lyrics, which is specifically approach of individual musician or in mutual creating music. And finally comes presentation to the public or to the audience and their reactions and becoming engage in the process of listening.
EKV phenomenon in itself, is a kind of urban transmission, which allowed to be musically intensive, creative and positive but in the same time also tragic with the too early death of the important members. Within the albums recorded from 1987 until 1993 from today perspective we could add one more element that is characterized for EKV work and that is incorporation of that time local and regional political, social issues and problems that predicted the political development in Yugoslavia.
The music style of EKV was formed under the influence of several rock bands mainly from the U.S.A and the UK, such as: U2, Simple Minds, The Cult, The Stranglers, XTC, etc. Music background was created by all members of the EKV and the lyrics were written in Serbo-Croatian language (in that period lingua franca in Yugoslavia), mostly by Milan Mladenović.
Rock music and its sub styles in music analysis often get attention and prevalent notion of urgency in the lyrics proved a great basis for artists or musicians to express vigorously protest, critics, feelings ranging from despair to joy or just their personal perception of their environment. (Heinrichs, 2004). The lyrics and other elements that construct one album such as the music (vocal-instrumental), album covers, live performances are important to be mentioned in the discussion about the predictive elements in EKV music.
The EKV albums from 1987 to 1993 which are included in this analysis are having similar concept based on the changing of energetic and calm songs, and on the changing between personal (relationships, love) and social engaged (criticism of the official politics) content of the lyrics. Another element that is characterized for EKV style is more intensive development of refrain in comparison with the verse. Often in the refrain we could hear more sharp riffs, forte dynamic, sharp vocal singing with uses of accents on some words, for example the songs: Par Godina za nas, Dum dum, Idemo, Siguran.
Published essays, reviews or interviews about post EKV period are approaching the intertextual concept between the music, lyrics of EKV and perspectives, connotation to sociological or cultural studies. The sociological approach analysis is based on social status, emigration, economic aspect, political aspect and cultural aspect. (Welles and Warren, 2019).
Published analysis of local journalist Luković interpreted the albums of EKV primarily through socio-political aspect. For him so many years later, the album Ljubav (Love), symbolize the struggle of the individual against the system. Throughout the lyrics is easy to identify not only the surface level of love real meaning, but to make the listener to think and make difference of everyday empty pronunciation of important words such as love, earth, truth or freedom. In the same time album Love is a kind of rock-providence fighting with the frustration of mass disintegration of moral values (Luković, 2012).
The musical scheme in the song Samo par godina za nas (Just a Couple of Years For Us), part of the album with the same tittle, promoted in 1989 is based on a minor scale, emphasized bass line with repetition of rhythmic combination of two sixteen’s and eighth’s. The lyrics have multileveled interpretation, refers to the actual everyday political situation and social condition and to the following decades (especially the period from 1991 until today). The text of the song begins with the comment of the singer that a large part of his everyday was living under the rules invented by some ‘other people’ a few years ago. This verse has been used in predicting their own personal future to have a few more years to live, and at the same time refers to the existence of state, the breakup of Yugoslavia in about two years after the promotion of the album Samo par godina za nas.
Attali states that music anticipates or predict social change, that was discussed in his book Noise, where he wrote ‘our music foretells our future’ (Attali, 1985: 11). In 2014 Attali gave lecture at Harvard University titled “Music as a predictive science”. For him music can be seen as predictable as an immaterial activity, it explores more rapidly that any other the realm of potentials (Attali, 2014).
The thesis of Attali about music as a predictive science is in correlation with the songs from the album Samo par godina za nas, through the content of the lyrics. In the track America the central topic is that people leave the state because is boring; or in the next track Ona i on i on i ja (She And Him and Him and I), the atmosphere around the main character who said that he wakes up and don’t know where is the beginning and end, and that everybody are on the verge of no return. On the B side, tracks such as Iznad grada (Above the City) and Srce (Heart), have danceable, playful melodies that makes the balance between remaining energetic songs and more difficult lyrics. But in between them is the song Krug (Circle) that allows the listener to identify with his circle of life, the circle that he created and the circle that he broke into the wind scattered as written by Mladenović.
The album Dum Dum (1991) has arrived at the time when rock music has become completely marginal thing said one of the most important rock journalist from Yugoslavia Petar Janjatović (Janjatović, 1995).
On the cover of the album Dum Dum Mladenović with a gun pointed at his head, is a man who is on the opposite side of the conflict that will follow however does not want to believe it will happen therefore in the first song Dum Dum Mladenović on metaphorical level sings that he doesn’t want to dig into the dump of happiness and doesn’t want to smudge his hands. In the next song Siguran (J’m Sure), after downstream keyboard sequences interpreted by Magi, Mladenović sings – ‘kao u snu/as in the dream’. EKV is torn between their personal emotions, attitudes which are positive, as in the songs Siguran (J’m Sure), Odgovor (Answer), Bledo (Pale), and between opposite harsh reality of breakup of the state and casualties that will follow and which specifically suggests the song Idemo (Let’s Go) where the subject is about the war, death and blood. In the song Zabranjujem (J Forbid), EKV vibrant music background exudes positive energy and recommends or forbid the touch of envy and disease, or the end, allegorically suggests the strong political crisis.
In the summer of 1993, EKV published their last album Neko nas posmatra (Someone Is Watching Us), on which, for many quite unexpectedly, found Mladenović lyrics filled with optimism. For that period of time Milan Mladenović said:
“Da sam 1980, mogao da zavirim u današnje vreme, mislim da bih bio zadovoljan sobom. Ne osećam grižu savesti, ništa protiv svoje savesti nisam uradio. Pesma Ponos, koja zatvara ploču, je o tome da, ako sve propadne, ukoliko se sve naopako desi ili se već dešava, čovek može da kaže miran sam jer se nisam ogrešio o sebe, o svoje standarde”. (Janjatović, 1995).
“If I could in the period of the 1980’s take a peek at the present time, I think I would be satisfied with myself. I feel no remorse, and did nothing against my conscience. The song Pride which closes the record, is that, if all else fails, if any wrong happen or is already happening, I can say that I am calm because I have not sinned, or worked against my own standards.”
Although there is a continuation in the lyrics inspired by that time political and social situation, on musical plan almost all songs are created with energetic playful character.
For the album title Mladenović said that the person who ‘observe us’ is more a cosmic being that does not allow the people to destroy each others. The person who is watching for us does not have connections with the politics, it is associated with philosophical and spiritual level of existence (Жикић, 1999: 194). The journalist Petar Popović wrote that no better and more precisely described the city, loneliness, wind, courage and weakness than EKV and that this is a band whose poetics should be yet valorized. For Popović, EKV presented noble synthesis for a better opportunity and more humane goals (Жикић, 1999: 194).
Published reviews, books or essays about EKV reflect and shape the canon of Yugoslav alternative rock music, through the analysis of one particular band and its albums. The creation of the canon in rock music is associated with several areas of analysis or discussion such as authenticity, myth, the idea of a romantic artist-genius. According to Jones, if one or more albums are analyzed, the genius association is taken into account, and the mythologization of this figure contributes to the creation of the aura of a particular work. For example, Bob Dylan’s person is described as mysterious and contradictory. The important valued albums, such as Astral Weeks from Van Morrison, reflect the romantic visionaries who are mythologizing their personal experiences or experiences in a often private stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Also, musicians are expected to find the truth not outwardly but internally, so personal feelings of musicians, are sincere and expected to be shared by the listeners, whereby the personal goes towards universal significance (Jones, 2008: 34-36).
The attitude of Milan Mladenović mentioned in the section about the definition of alternative rock in Yugoslavia, or his description of creation of pure energy, spontaneous way of playing or creating music connects us with the creation of rock canon through the looking for the sense, understanding of truth about music and in the same time connect us with the symbolical level in the process of understanding or analyzing some music song or album. We could go back to the 19th century to Wagner proclamation of suggestive value of the mythological symbols in so far as the artists succeeds in revealing their deep and hidden truth. Wagner repeated many times that myth is ‘true for all time’. If we take myth literally we get pleasure of well told story which we may not believe. If we take it symbolically we add to this a distillation of human experience which can fairly be called ‘true for all time’. (Donington, 1976: 31, 32). Therefore the topic of this paper moves between couple of subjects – music, lyrics, premature death of the members and various comments, analysis on couple of levels like narrative, analytical, symbolical or mythological.
After EKV period – creation of the myth
When we begin to think about the myth, usually our thoughts goes to the myth from the ancient period, which is a narrative of the change of the world and the creation of various things. Second, the myth has a sacral side, in East and South East Europe region there is intertwining between the paganism and the christianity. Also, the myth has a third party, the creation of false systems, or false stories, for example those for Pushkin, which can not be proven. The myth can also be created by those who have power or authority in order to create a wrong belief, and to share it widely (Sandler, 2004: 5, 6).
The importance of the myth is analyzed in the fields of anthropology, psychology, sociology, religion, literature, music. Myth is a way of speaking what is important, a description of the meaning through stories, images, symbols, sounds, in order to entertain us, to make us wonder about certain things, and to communicate with each other. In recent sociological or philosophical publications exists thesis that a myth can be understood through a social ritual. Thus a ritual is dramatic and expressive and can be experienced in a variety of rock or heavy metal concerts. (McParland, 2018: 61-63).
If we take a look at published books about the famous rock bands, then we can see that from the first pages authors of books, often disputed by bands or musicians for whom they are written, create a mythological level of treatment for musicians. For example, in his research about rock and myth Steven Hyden mention the book Hammer of the Gods (1985) by Stephen Davis which begins with the words that immediately creates a mythical surreal state for the band, with infamous slander, annoying rumors circling around Led Zeppelin while touring in 1969 in the United States. At the same time for the readers this book is interesting, very well sell and cited. (Hyden, 2018).
The mythology of popular music dates from the early 20th century to the life and work of Robert Johnson and his ‘pact with the devil’, then through the evil magnetism of the writer and occultist Aleister Crowley who inspires Jimmy Page, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, and whose songs are susceptible to making parallels with negative, sinister messages in the lyrics.
The selection of myths in the history of rock and roll music is done through topics of birth and death, sex and deviation, crime and murder, drugs and alcohol. It follows the addition to the evaluation of music, creativity, the sensationalism of the subjects, the depth of their influence, and the duration over the years. (Graff and Durchholz, 2012: 7). The theoretical analyzes of the relation of the myth and the popular culture in which rock music belongs also represent the presence of a dialectical approach in the analysis.
In general myths are a vital part of cultural believes, then in the context of national, ethnic groups or subcultural scenes. They are attach to discourses about authenticity and purity, anchoring subjectivity, and social identities through a number of codes, representations and practices (Waxer, 2002: 32).
The story of the EKV myth is primarily represented through various types of activities realized by journalists, musicians, poets, filmmakers, researchers and fans who together created the myth of the EKV from the 1990s to the present time. The various mentioned levels of the treatment of the myth reflects the binary views of a certain artist, composer, writer, which could be found in the various publications, documentaries about EKV. For some of the music journalists the albums of EKV predict the political and social destabilization of Yugoslavia, means disintegration and the civil war, for others the work of EKV is too much estimated because of the early death of the band members. Journalist Petar Luković wrote that there are all the elements of aggravated pathetic story: a group whose work is commonly transmitted from generation to generation, the dead band who moved to the next world, the drug that destroyed the young generation. (Luković, 2012). In another text Luković discussed that EKV was the echo of a lost generation walled between the ideology of Tito in the 1970’s and depression in the 1980’s, and exactly in those years EKV created their music that even after so many years sounds fresh, modern, and important and unfortunately so many years later more actual. (Luković, 2002: 74, 75). It is true that in the 1990’s, the civil war and the spread of nationalism was substantiated by the new musical form turbo folk, which has become the dominant music promoted at new private televisions and radios headed by TV Pink. In the same period, rock musicians and club rock scene were marginalized, but already from the beginning of 2000s, the same scene began to renew itself with new young generation of rock bands, with the establishment of new festivals such as ‘EXIT’ festival in Novi Sad.
Miljenko Jergović, journalist and writer analyzes EKV on two levels, or through binary approach. The first is that EKV was good rock band from the 1980s and the second level is the post EKV period, the new generation that listen the music of EKV that moment for Jergović is reflection of phantom past. If the state did not disintegrated, and if the cultural space was not provincialized the EKV would have been less important phenomenon (Jergović, 2012).
After the death of important and most influential members of EKV were published couple of books. The content of the book Mesto u međavi (Place in the Blizzard), from Aleksandar Žikić is divided after the main classic elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water or they are equally divided with the artistic periods of Milan with bands Šarlo Akrobata, Katarina II and EKV, then with the period after 1987; and the period in Brazil, 1993/94, where Milan collaborated with Serbian musician Suba. Two years after this publication was promoted another book for Milan based on photographies and his song lyrics. Editor was Flavio Rigonat. These two books were sold out very fast in the all region of Yugoslavia and therefore were published in couple of more editions.
After the death of Margita Stefanović in 2002, fans published the same year fan book titled Magi. Zvezda koja večno traje (Magi. The Star Who Lasts Forever), published by EKV&Magi (Fans, EKV&Magi). The book is based on fan comments mainly on web portals (example b92.net), then re-publications of older interviews of Magi for Yugoslav magazines Rock (1984), and Nin (1989). It is interesting that in this book is included one paper published about EKV and Magi in the magazine Profil in 1999. In that period she is still alive, a little active in public, but the journalists Slobodan Savić used metaphors such as ‘magical-mystical girl who is playing with the keyboard’, providing a symbolical basis for the further creations of the myth about the band (Savić in Fanovi, EKV&Magi, 2002: 15). In some period of her last years Magi was communicated with Aleksandar Ilić who in 2008 promote the book Vrati unatrag-razgovori sa Margitom Stefanović (Get Back – Conversations With Margita Stefanović). Promotion of the book in SKC (Student Cultural Center) in Belgrade, provoked strong reactions of the audience where most of them were journalists or Magi’s friends. Lidija Nikolić, Magi friend from their childhood, Firči (the drummer of EKV), Ognjen Uzelac (from PGP production), commented that the book is filled with information from unclear origin. One of Nikolić comments was that to speak about Magi only as a drug addict is non sense. Also the cited sentences that are from Magi does not sound or have meaning that are actually told by her. According to Nikolić words or sentences from Magi are modified from Ilić. Another unnecessary information in this books are those about how much money or food Ilić gave to Magi (Tarlać 2009).
The last publication about Magi was promoted in 2017 Magi. Kao da je bila nekad (Magi. As She Was Once), by the journalist and director Dušan Vesić. The book is a kind of resume about all publications about Magi and in the same time he expand the story with adding discussion about EKV and about EKV tribute bands.
In the publications in which we have the creation of a certain myth, positive or negative, we can also come to the conclusion that there is a certain repetitions in the case when there are positive attitudes, glorification, then there is a phase of resistance and a phase of revision. This process is actually elaborated in Vesić book.
Vesić thinks that Magi is a symbol of disappearing of one class (he thinks about the middle class). There are divided opinions cited in this book, journalists artists that spoke or wrote positive reviews with use of metaphors (ex. Petar Popović text published in 2012 in Blic ‘Magi is the most beautiful and most tragic requiem created on the Belgrade asphalt’), or critical reviews, statements (ex. Dragan Kremer published paper in 2015 for Vreme; the attitude of director Marko Kostić who thinks that EKV are over appreciated because they are death; if they were alive that would not happen). (Vesić, 2017: 345, 43, 47).
The documentary movie EKV–Kao da je bilo nekad (EKV-As It Happens Once) was promoted in 2008. Three years later in 2011 was published on DVD. The director of this documentary is Dušan Vesić, and the scenarists are Sandra Rančić and Dušan Vesić. In the Slovenian magazine Mladina, on the occasion for the documentary promotion Kao da je bilo nekad, was published review titled as “The Myth or Truth About Ekatarina Velika?” In the introductory part, it is written that EKV was a group of intelligent critical creators, that it is one of the first groups that speaks against the absurdity of the war in Yugoslavia. Then follows the emphasis of the story around the heroine that appears at a very affordable price in the period after Tito’s death, expanded with conspiracy story. (Njegovan, 2009). The artist Dragan Papić speaks about this topic in the documentary, and expressed increased availability of drugs at very low prices such as to buy a coffee and cigarette box. He assumed that probably the Government knowingly allowed drug itself to contribute to the destruction of young generation. Maybe it is a conspiracy in the process of the destruction of the state (Kao da je bilo nekad, documentary movie, 2011). In the documentary are included around 50 people-ex members, critics, musicians, friends, relatives and fans. One of the main subjects is the rock music and drug story. In the period of the promotion Sandra Rančić for the magazine Ilustrovana Politika (Illustrated Politic), said that at the beginning of the 1980’s after Tito’s dead in Belgrade show up the sale of heroin for very low prices. It’s hard to believe that the politicians didn’t know about this situation. Before 1981 there was very little drug. By then, the drug use was only occasionally brought by someone returned from India or Amsterdam. And during the 1980’s all of a sudden has a lot of heroin. The film opens the question of the state association and heroin, and the new wave of rock music. Whether the state killed a new wave? It is symptomatic that the huge amounts of heroin found precisely in Belgrade, killed many people was one of the comments of Sandra Rančić. (Милошевић, 2009). Other topics elaborated in Kao da je bilo nekad are: valorization of the music of EKV; revaluation of artistic scene in the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s. For example speaking about the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, the actress Sonja Savić (who directed the documentary film about the new wave in Belgrade titled Šarlo te gleda / Šarlo Is Watching You), said that she was happy when she found unfortunate people like her. Perhaps the problem was that they (the musicians and artists) early matured. (Kao da je bilo nekad, documentary movie, 2011). This atmosphere for Savić (with figurative treatment of words in the lyrics), is reflected in the EKV song Kakav radosan dan (What A Happy Day), when in one line of lyrics we hear the word ‘weltschmerz’. Through the history ‘weltschmerz’ was used in the 19th century by romantic artists when describing their sorrow or sentimental pessimism. In the same time this approach is directly connected with the indie ethos who reflects independence and pathetic melancholy or demonstration of sensitivity and depth of character. (Fonarow, 2006: 51-56).
The documentary about Milan Mladenović Dečak iz vode (2014, director Marko Novičić), emphasis the artistic musical valorization and significance about Milan and EKV by important rock musicians from the region as Cane (leader of the band Partibrejkers), Koja (leader of the band Disciplina kičme) etc. The documentary film was promoted more intensively in the region of Yugoslavia during 2018, accomplished with live performances of the tribute band Deca iz vode. About the experience from this tour, the manager of Deca iz vode Aleksandar Šarčević Said, that not only this tour but also and older ones which are usually more intensive during the autumn when is the birthday of Milan, are very well received by the audience from different generation older one and younger one. Concerts are emotional, nostalgic because people remembers the period of Yugoslavia. What was special at the tour in 2018, was the guest appearance of Srđan Žika Todorović. EKV drummer from 1987-1990, who after 1990 dedicated himself to acting and became a famous and respected actor and did not play EKV’s public songs for almost three decades. When he appeared as a guest, all the concerts with him were sold out, the audience was euphoric in welcoming him because most fans of EKV rated him as the best and most important drummer of EKV. His re-appearance on the music scene in support for EKV tribute band activities, a praise of their project devoted to EKV, which is assessed as something significant and valuable, and so far it was supported by five former EKV members. The good attendance of these manifestations according to Aleksandar means, that interest in quality rock music exists today. He elaborates his attitude with the fact that the songs of EKV have survived the test of time and many young musicians who decide to play guitar, bass, keyboards or drums learn and practice on EKV songs. About the relationship between the EKV music and myth Aleksandar said, that given the fact that Milan, Margita, Bojan and VD, all died young people, around their personalities was created their cult or myth. “Their lives are being investigated what were their interests in art and life, and their personalities still serve as a role model for some new generations of artists or musicians. Texts are often in associations and metaphors, so they can be interpreted in various ways, but the themes that inspired the audience or musicians are life-long and constantly actual: ideal, freedom, love, justice, feelings, pain, sadness, happiness, etc. EKV tribute band make this opus still available to the public through their performances, with the belief that by extracting something from the past, which is significant and quality, they could inspire some people to create something in the future on this matter” (e-interview with Aleksandar Šarčević, 25.04.2019).
Throughout all of presented ways about the creation and testified of EKV myth, we could add the statement of Campbell and Moyers’s, that myth helps us to connect our mind with the feeling and experience of being alive (Campbell and Moyers, 1988: 5). EKV is a band that lived the Yugoslav rock story based on completely uncompromising dedication to creating music and albums that have influences the music of next generations of rock bands and influences the lives of people in highlighting good positive values of life. The EKV period of work was intertwined with political and social change in the two systems socialist period of the 1980’s and after 1991 transitional period which unfortunately in some parts of the former Yugoslavia continues until today. The use of drugs affected EKV members to lose their lives prematurely. The deaths of most important members are part of a continuing story about EKV despite the fact that the bend do not exists from 1994. The ‘myth’ of EKV continues through the activities of tribute bands and their concerts, through publications, documentary movies and re-issuing old recordings by other living members.
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