MUSIC FORCES UNITED
BISERA VELETANLIĆ, jazz singer and interpreter of pop music, made her debut on Zagreb Television in 1963 in a duet with her sister, Senka, and afterwards recorded twice for the show Music TV Magazine. She frequently performed at the events of the RTP Vinyl Production. In her rich musical career, she has recorded a number of memorable songs that mark an entire period of the Yugoslav music. She has regularly received first prizes at festivals, such as Opatija, Your Schlager of the Season, Belgrade Spring Fest, Zagrebfest, Split, MESAM, and has performed at national elections for the ESC. Her most successful collaboration has been with Kornelije Kovač, along with other authors from Belgrade, and she has also recorded with Arsen Dedić and Goran Bregović. In addition to music, she was engaged in acting and painting, while her musical style can be described as a combination of urban chansons, local schlagers, and jazz. In her 45-year career, Bisera Veletanlić has recorded a number of singles and LP albums, as well as the compact discs Wake Up (1997) and The Window (2007). This year, the jazz festival Nisville awarded her a lifetime achievement award.
GABI NOVAK, vocalist, after graduating from the School of Applied Arts in Zagreb, started working for Zagreb Film as a stage designer while also providing voices for animated characters. Her unique vocal skills were noticed by Slovenian composer and conductor Bojan Adamič, who offered her a chance to perform with the Big Band in Ljubljana. Afterwards, she earned an engagement at the Zagreb Festival of Popular Music – later known as Zagrebfest, where she performed a song called Love or Joke in 1959. The same year, she had a duet performance with famous Louis Armstrong at the Bled Jazz Festival. She has frequently performed at Belgrade Spring Fest and at similar festivals in Split and Opatija. In 1964, the French record company Barkley offered her a record deal, which she turned down, not wanting to accept conditions that would require her to modify her style. Therefore, being primarily active of the Yugoslav music scene, she has always carefully chosen and sung songs of which she was fond. Gabi Novak won Porin Prizes for Best Female Vocal Performance (The Song Is My Life, 2003) and for her contribution to the Croatian popular music (2006).
VASIL HADŽIMANOV, pianist and composer, comes from a musical family. From his father Zafir and his mother Senka, he began taking an interest in music from an early age. After finishing Stevan Mokranjac High Music School in Belgrade, he continued his education in the US in the Interlochen Arts Camps and at Berklee College of Music under Professors Ray Santisi and Lazslo Gardony. Vasil has collaborated with numerous artists, including Matt Garrison, Rick Peckham, Leroy Jenkins, George Garzone, Ayib Dieng, David Gilmore, Marko Đorđević, and Danny Sadownick. He is also the author of music for several films. After moving back to Serbia, he founded the Vasil Hadžimanov Band, which became known for combining Balkan traditional rhythms and Western musical styles. The band has released several albums, the latest one being Alive, recorded live in five different cities and released by the New York label MoonJune Records. The ensemble has collaborated with renowned artists such as Nigel Kennedy and David Binney, and regularly performs at national and international jazz festivals. Their combined releases and music have been declared in Serbia as artistic works of cultural significance.
MATIJA DEDIĆ, jazz pianist and composer, comes from a musical family. He completed the Jazz Academy in Graz under Professor Harold Nuewirth, before continuing his studies under renowned artists such as John Taylor, Harold Galper, Bill Dobbins, and Barry Harris. At the end of the 90s, he founded the Matija Dedić Trio with double bass player Žiga Golob and drummer Krunoslav Levačić, who perform Dedić’s original music. He has performed in almost all the countries of Europe and in the US, making outstanding appearances with jazz notable musicians and ensembles such as Boško Petrović, the Black Coffee Trio, the Sensitive Quartet, Darko Jurković, Alvin Queen, Martin Drew, Ron Ringwood, Mark Murphy, Patrizia Conte, David Gazarov, Gianni Basso, Miles Griffith, Tamara Obrovac, and many others. As a soloist and with other artists, Matija Dedić has recorded numerous albums: Octopussy, Mr. KK, Solo/Part I, Handwriting, Tempera, The Second Look, Visiting Bruxelles, Sentiana, Life of Flowers, and Matija Playing Arsen, dedicated to his deceased father and and named one of the best albums in Croatia. He also composes music for television and theater.