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Popular Music in Communist and Post-Communist Europe

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Edited By Jan Blüml, Yvetta Kajanová and Rüdiger Ritter

Through selected topics, the book presents an up-to-date and comprehensive view of the popular music of communist and post-communist Europe. The studies introduce new sources, discuss transformations of the institutional background of popular music of the given geopolitical sphere, its social, cultural-political, or artistic conditions. Thanks to the time span of nearly thirty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the authors have in many ways revised or supplemented traditional post-communist perceptions of the issues in question. This is being done with respect to the genres such as jazz, rock, pop, singer-songwriters, hip-hop, or White Power Music, as well as across the whole region from the former Yugoslavia through Central European states to the countries of the former Soviet Union.

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Popular-Alternative: Making Music in the Besieged Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995

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Abstract: In this chapter I studied popular music recorded in Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995, highlighting the main dichotomy; patriotic songs, made by pre-war popular musicians that had been supported by the government, and alternative songs, made mostly by the disappointed youth along with the pre-war alternative musicians who had a support in Radio Zid [Radio Wall]. In the text, theories of popular music are presented, focusing on the Yugoslav scene. A short historical context from the origin of Sarajevo till the end of the war is given and examples of war production are analysed.

Keywords: Bosnia-Herzegovina; Sarajevo; siege 1992–1995; patriotic music; functions of music; popular; alternative; popular-alternative genres; video clips

According to Andy Bennett, popular music began to develop in the USA after the Second World War and then it spread all over the world through the mass media.1 My fascination with popular music started with cassettes I found at home; first the Beatles, later the most commercially successful pop rock group in Yugoslavia, Bijelo dugme [The White Button].2 As a child I didn’t understand their lyrics, but that did not stop me from listening to it and singing along in my gibberish. When at the university years later, I decided to learn more about the breakup of Yugoslavia and the outbreak of the war in 1991 that started in Slovenia and later spread to Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. While researching, I came across with one song that really caught my attention...

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