Rijeka and Brighton – a brief comparison prompted by the opening day of Rijeka’s European Capital of Culture year in February 2020.
It was almost 20 years ago to the day that I first came to Croatia, more specifically to Cres, Opatija and Rijeka. I was here to write a travel piece for a Brighton based magazine for which I was the production assistant – when the editor called out across our office “who wants to go to Croatia for a week?” I stuck my hand into the air eagerly although not being 100% sure about where I’d be going. On that trip, I experienced a tiny piece of Croatian life and the Rijeka Carnival and was greatly impressed. In 2003, I left Brighton and Hove (the city’s full title) and moved to Rijeka.
In the following years, I visited many parts of the country but I always thought that the city was different and even the Croats I met on those trips told me that Rijeka stood out as being alternative. From music to art to literature this city has proved this to me with the opening of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture (ECoC) this February and it made me realise that Brighton and Rijeka have several things in common so I put together a list:
They are both cities by the sea – south of their capitals – obvious I know. Brighton is the closest big city to London and a huge tourist destination. Rijeka is Croatia’s third-largest city, not, unfortunately, a big tourist destination, however, in the past it was a very important industrial and transport hub and with ECoC and all that this investment, opportunity and status will bring, it now has much more potential.
Theatres – both cities have theatres which came into popular use in the late-19th century. In Brighton the Theatre Royal and in Rijeka the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc. In each city, there is also an unused venue. Rijeka’s Opera hall was recently opened for the opening day of ECoC when several rock bands played well into the night and it has recently hosted a dance event, which will surely boost its rejuvenation. Whilst in Brighton the Hippodrome’s future is still in the balance. Both these venues have seen better days during their century-long lives.
Both cities have old original cinema theatres. The Duke of Yorks picture house in Brighton is an art-house cinema. It was one of the first in the world and was opened in 1910. It has experienced many lows and highs over the years but has survived and today it is still the oldest working movie theatre in the UK. Rijeka has Art-kino, which under a different name was founded about 1928 and then went through many variations and premises over the decades. The movies were incredibly popular in Rijeka, with films being shown from all parts of Europe, America and the Soviet Union. In fact, at one point in time Rijeka county had more cinemas screens than any other town in Croatia (45) and in the first six months of 1950 more than 750,000 cinema tickets were sold in the city. A law was even in force at the time which meant that the sale of tickets by touts outside before a popular film was screened became a criminal offence – those found guilty were fined, imprisoned or even expelled from the county! During Rijeka 2020 ECoC there will several locations arranged for open-air film screenings around the city and even on the roofs of tower blocks. Brighton also has open-air cinema shows during the summer. Both cities also have multiplex cinema complexes, however, these two small independent art-house cinemas have survived where other theatres have disappeared or been repurposed, and they still draw in the crowds.
Graffiti and murals. Both cities are adorned with murals and let’s say artistic graffiti. With tasteful and professional illustrations buildings, parks and other public spaces can be really brought to life, enhance the image and even become talking points and landmarks of towns and cities in place of drab, grey, depressing, crumbling structures. During Rijeka 2020 ECoC there will be an international festival of murals and street art will appear around the city painted by local and foreign artists.
Rijeka was and still is a centre of new music. In the 60s the first rock bands in the former Yugoslavia emerged here, in the 70s and 80s punk and new wave groups such as Paraf flourished. Later in the 90s and early 2000s, the club and dance scene was led by the Fun Academy and Quorum Colours. Brighton has always been an innovative place for new music. In the late 80s and 90s, it was a key place for the emerging dance and rave scene, which I really enjoyed. In the mid-90s I played bass in a rock band. My friends and I did it for the joy of music – we didn’t expect to be famous – we weren’t – but like so many others we did it for the fun of playing. 3-4 times a week we went to gigs, in pubs and clubs. This is similar to the feeling I have in Rijeka now – there is a varied musical scene, from flamenco to bluegrass and I have got to know several musicians by helping them with their English language as well as reminiscing about the heady 90s rave scene and concerts by bands that people here would have enjoyed seeing. Of course, all the musicians I’ve met here are much more proficient and professional than I was back then. One particular star from Brighton, Fatboy Slim has played in Croatia several times and Nick Cave, who is immensely popular in Croatia lived there for many years (bumped into him twice in Brighton’s shops).
Brighton is one of the key centres for the publication of The Big Issue magazine which was established in 1991 to help homeless people get back on their feet and make a small living from writing and selling the magazine. The Big Issue was one inspiration for Rijeka’s own magazine called Ulične svjetiljke which is now sold throughout Croatia.
Universities – both cities have renowned universities and big student populations. Several campuses and faculties are spread around each city. The students’ energy and enthusiasm are a constant drive in both communities. And of course, with large numbers of students come festivals and events to cater for them. Rijeka has the multi-day Student Day Festival – the largest in the region, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. It features cultural, educational, sports, humanitarian, entertainment and scientific events for up to 40,000 students from Rijeka, all over Croatia as well as nearby countries. The highlight being the weekend of free concerts in the very centre of the city featuring famous local names – something that made me reminisce of student gigs back in the early 90s in Brighton.
In Brighton the culture of recycling is firmly established. It is the only city in the UK which has a Green Party Member of Parliament. In the city, every household has separate bins for each kind of waste that is then collected by the council and dealt with. The City of Rijeka is trying – with separate containers for waste plastic, paper and glass for each neighbourhood, and it regularly distributes leaflets about how to cut down on unnecessary waste and raise awareness of recycling. Recently the city received more money from the government for the expansion of its recycling facilities. There is also one excellent initiative in the city called Riperaj, which is Croatia’s first repair café. It was opened in late 2019 and offers its citizens a free repair service (excluding any necessary spare parts) for their household electrical items and furniture and anything that would otherwise be thrown into the rubbish and end up in a landfill. It also offers a programme of workshops for everyone who wants to learn more about recycling and repairing household equipment. Repair cafés are a rapidly worldwide growing concept. Brighton also has its own Repair Café which was opened in 2012. During ECoC there are several green initiatives, such as Zeleni Val, beginning in Rijeka including the conversion of previously unused roofs of tower blocks into gardens and the greening of deserted areas owned by the city. Something that the local communities are invited to get involved with.
There are many other ways which Rijeka could also benefit from sustainable and renewable energy. Off the coast of Brighton, there is a massive wind farm with more than 100 windmills. Imagine the electricity which could be generated when the fierce “bura” wind blows!! Solar power too when considering the number of sunshine hours which the Adriatic Sea enjoys – in fact, a solar power plant on the nearby island of Cres is due to be constructed. Recently the Port of Rijeka was given a waste collection device – the Seabin – the first in Croatian waters. This simple, inexpensive bin for collecting surface waste is a global initiative that aims to clean up the water around harbours and ports.
Brighton has a very big gay community. The Brighton Pride Festival is the largest and proudest LGBT event in the UK with an average of 450,000 attendees every year. Although Rijeka does not come close to this kind of event, it is important to note that in 2013 the people of Rijeka voted against the proposed Article 61 of the Croatian Constitution which was upheld nationally as proclaiming that “Marriage is a living union between a woman and a man” – effectively meaning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Croatia’s first lesbian organisation – LORI – was established in 2000 in Rijeka and it supports the rights of the LGBT community in society. During ECoC there will be the annual Smoqua festival of LGBT culture which will feature performances, a concert, an exhibition, artist and activist interventions in public spaces, workshops, panel discussions and other activities in order to introduce visitors to the importance of queer and feminist history and it will be attended by participants from around the world. Just recently, in 2019 a new website, aimed at gay travellers and tourists was launched by a woman from Rijeka – gaytravelcroatia.net. Since living in Rijeka I have met many friendly, open-minded people of all generations from school children and pensioners, artists, writers, musicians and professors with whom I share the same passions, opinions and positive outlooks as those I know back in Brighton. Although the two cities do not share similar histories, I think that Rijeka’s past has only added to its diversity and tolerance for others as well as the desire for change and improvement.
Both Rijeka and Brighton like to feel as though they are different and independent. People visit Brighton for a weekend away, for the arts, nightlife and shopping. The community feeling is very close. In the 2016 Brexit referendum 68% of Brighton’s residents voted to remain in the EU. For me, Rijeka too has a similar feeling – immediately after the ECoC opening ceremony on the blackboard of a popular bar in Rijeka – Caffe la Guardia – whose daily pearls of wisdom over the years have been highly amusing and succinct, stirred up some reactions – read into this what you will.…..
Of course, this is just a quick list of things that immediately came to my mind after enjoying the opening ceremony of Rijeka’s year of holding the title of European City of Culture – many people I spoke to in the days following that day agreed that Rijeka should have a similar, although more modest, event every year. The year-long programme and the lasting effects after 2020 could be the initiator for a new annual Rijeka festival – RiStartFest (?) which would bring extra energy and interest to the city just like Brighton’s world-famous Festival.
Late February saw the annual Rijeka Carnival Parade through the city centre. An extra special event this year to celebrate the European Capital of Culture, and something that I experienced 20 years ago on my first visit to Croatia. Every year I am always impressed by the effort, ingenuity and joy that its people can create and in doing so make it unique – just like my previous home of Brighton.
So Rijeka, in the words of your own annual carnival slogan may you always “be what you want to be.”
This is a reproduction of my interview for Rijeka’s Novi List daily newspaper with Marinko Glavan published on 15.03.2020.
Životna želja! Prevesti Kamovljevu Isušenu kaljužu na engleski
Martin Mayhew, pisac, prevoditelj i novinar, Britanac je koji već 17 godina živi u Rijeci. U međuvremenu je stekao hrvatsko državljanstvo, a uz svakodnevne poslove prevođenja s hrvatskog na engleski te proofreadinga, posla u kojemu »dotjerava« već prevedene tekstove, bilo da je riječ o poslovnoj komunikaciji ili tekstovima pjesama domaćih bendova koji pjevaju na engleskom, kako bi bili posve u duhu engleskog jezika, započeo je s prevođenjem djela Janka Polić Kamova na engleski jezik. Već je preveo zbirku Kamovljevih pjesama Psovka, a velika mu je želja na engleski prevesti Isušenu kaljužu, vjerojatno najznačajnije djelo riječkog pisca, kako bi, ističe, ovaj čudesni roman predstavio čitateljskoj publici s engleskog govornog područja.
Da Hrvati sele u Veliku Britaniju
nije ni najmanje neuobičajeno, no suprotnih primjera, poput
njegovog, vrlo je malo, u stvari u čitavoj Hrvatskoj trajno živi svega šačica Britanaca pa
na pitanje kako je uopće došlo do toga da se iz Brightona
preseli u Rijeku, odgovara da je ispočetka sve bila čista slučajnost. U Rijeku i
na Kvarner prvi je put stigao prije točno dvadeset godina, radeći kao novinar turističku reportažu s
“Došao sam u zemlju o kojoj nisam
znao puno. Radio sam za jedan časopis, a naš urednik imao je ponude turističkih zajednica iz
gotovo cijelog svijeta da dođemo i pišemo reportaže o različitim destinacijama.
Tog dana, kada se odlučivalo tko će u Hrvatsku, nitko od
kolega novinara nije bio slobodan pa je urednik šetao po redakciji, pitajući „Tko želi ići u Hrvatsku?“.
Kako u tom trenutku nisam imao puno nekog drugog posla, rekao sam „OK, ja ću to napraviti“. lako
nisam imao pojma gdje idem niti što mogu očekivati. Kad sam rekao svojim prijateljima i
poznanicima da idem u Hrvatsku, bilo je svakakvih reakcija, poput one da uzmem
sa sobom pancirku, jer je tamo bio rat“, kaže Mayhew.
Po dolasku, proveo je tjedan dana putujući po Primorju
i otocima, s grupom od još pet turista i kako naglašava – fantastično se proveo.
„Na Cresu smo bili u Eko centru Beli, gdje zbrinjavaju ozlijeđene bjeloglave supove. Upoznao sam a zaljubio sam se ovu zemlju, i ovaj kraj. U iduće dvije godine promijenio sam posao, vratio sam se u tisak, kao menadžer za proizvodnju u velikoj tiskarskoj tvrtki, ali sam i još nekoliko puta posjetio Hrvatsku. Posao menadžera bio je vrlo stresan i jednom sam trenutku odlučio sve promijeniti, doslovce promijeniti svoj život. Odlučio sam preseliti se iz Brightona u Rijeku. Počeo sam učiti hrvatski i nakon godinu-dvije sam krenuo s prevođenjem i proofreadingom, tada uglavnom za lokalne ljude i tvrtke, ništa pretjerano znanstveno ili na razini prevođenja književnosti“, kaže Britanac.
Kroz godine provedene u Rijeku uspio
je stvoriti vlastitu nišu na tržištu, u kojoj se bavi isključivo prijevodima
s hrvatskog na engleski, ne i obrnuto, jer iako je, prema onome što smo čuli tijekom
razgovora, hrvatski jezik savladao vrlo dobro, kao izvorni govornik engleskog
jezika i pisac, smatra kako puno više može postići prevodeći hrvatske
tekstove na engleski.
„Najviše se, zapravo, bavim
takozvanim proofreadingom, provjerom ispravljanjem tekstova na engleskom koji
su pisali Hrvati, kako bi taj tekst bio posve, ne samo gramatički i
pravopisno ispravan, nego i u duhu engleskog jezika. Kroz sve ove
godine zapravo sam sam stvarao svoj današnji posao. Bio sam uporan, učio sam hrvatski
koji je za nas Engleze vrlo zahtjevan jezik. Sintaksa. gramatika, padeži,
rodovi, sve je vrlo drugačije. Hrvatski, po svom sudu, ne
.govorim baš najbolje, ali ga odlično razumijem, a to je najvažnije kada
je riječ o prijevodima
s hrvatskog na engleski“, kaže Mayhew.
Zaljubljen u Kamova
Posao mu je vrlo specifičan, posebno kada
je riječ o
proofreadingu. Radi se o, da tako kažemo, finom tuningu prijevoda s hrvatskog
na engleski, u čemu je već stekao popriličnu reputaciju
i broj klijenata.
„Dakle, ne govorimo o klasičnom prevođenju, nego o finim nijansama prevođenja. Ljudi mi pošalju tekst na engleskom i ono što ih zanima je zvuči li to zaista dobro. Zvuči li zaista onako kako bi to napisao ili rekao izvorni govornik. Na tom području surađujem I s nekim bendovima koji pjevaju na engleskom, poput Sarah & The Romans čije tekstove provjeravam. Stvorio sam mrežu poznanika i suradnika koji me dalje preporučuju drugim ljudima i tako to funkcionira“, kaže Mayhew.
Što se tiče prevođenja, „zaljubio“ se u Kamova. Do sad je preveo zbirku pjesama Psovka, a prijevod je objavio u vlastitom izdanju, specifičnom po tome što je uvez i grafički dizajn identičan izvornom, prvom izdanju Kamovljeve zbirke pjesama.
„Kad sam prvi put čitao Kamova, za mene je to bilo otkriće. Bio sam oduševljen. Krenuo sam u prevođenje njegove poezije, trudeći sa da to bude zaista najbolji mogući prijevod. Čitajući njegova djela i prevodeći ih, odlučio sam napraviti i cijeli rječnik prijevoda njegovih izraza na engleski, što mi je pomoglo u daljnjem prevođenju, a na taj sam način i bolje upoznao hrvatski jezik, jer je on u svom pisanju koristio izraze i arhaična glagolska vremena kakva se u suvremenom hrvatskom više ne koriste. Želja mi je da napravim kvalitetan prijevod Isušene kaljuže na engleski i tražim izdavača koji bi bio spreman u tome sudjelovati. Riječ je o vrhunskom književnom djelu koje zaslužuje biti prevedeno na engleski kako bi došlo do šireg kruga čitatelja u svijetu. 1tažio sam potporu hrvatskog Ministarstva kulture, kao i britanske ambasade, ali potpora je uvjetovana nalaženjem izdavača Vjerujem da ću uspjeti naći izdavača zainteresiranog za ovaj projekt“, kaže Mayhew.
Kao novinar proputovao je većinu europskih
zemalja, ali kaže kako mu nigdje nije bilo tako lijepo, niti je igdje bilo tako
mirno kao u Hrvatskoj, posebno u Rijeci i okolici, iako nije riječ o turističkom gradu.
Rijeku je, ističe, izabrao zato jer je cijeli život
živio kraj mora, iako je Brighton po pitanju turizma, kao jedno od
najpopularnijih odredišta u Engleskoj, posve suprotan Rijeci.
„Brighton je vrlo orijentiran na
turizam i vrlo popularan u Britaniji. Proputovao sam i dobar dio Hrvatske, ali
sam odlučio da mi dom
bude u Rijeci. Volim atmosferu ovog grada, volim, da tako kažem, onaj idealistički dio
socijalizma koji se zadržao u ovom gradu. Rijeka i Hrvatska su, osim toga, vrlo
sigurni. Možete se šetati sami, bilo kojim dijelom grada, u bilo koje doba noći, bez straha
da će vam se dogoditi nešto
loše. U nekim dijelovima Londona ili Brightona to nije moguće, ako šetate
sami u neko doba noći, postajete meta pljačkaša I sam sam
bio opljačkan na ulici u
svom rodnom gradu, Brightonu. Osim toga, ljudi u Velikoj Britaniji su
prestrašeni od terorističkih napada, a ovdje toga nema“, kaže
Rijeku je odabrao, što je i naglasio
u svom nedavno objavljenom tekstu, zbog sličnosti s Brightonom. U oba slučaja riječ je o lučkim gradovima,
otvorenima za ljude koji dolaze iz svih krajeva svijeta kroz dugi period
„U Rijeci sam upoznao mnogo ljudi, ali nikad se nisam susreo s predrasudama Ovo je, kao i Brighton, vrlo otvoren grad. Doduše, nisam živio nigdje drugdje u Hrvatskoj parni je teško reći je li Rijeka drugačija od ostatka zemlje, ali uspoređujem je s onim što najbolje poznajem, a to je Brighton, koji je također vrlo otvoren, u kojemu se ljudi iz bilo kojeg dijela zemlje ili svijeta osjećaju dobrodošlo. Mislim da je mentalitet Rijeke drugačiji nego ostatka Hrvatske, jer je riječ o luci i industrijskom gradu u koji su oduvijek dolazili brodovi, pomorci, radnici, poslovni ljudi iz raznih krajeva, različitih nacionalnosti, što je stvorilo drugačiji mentalitet. Brighton je turističko središte i također imamo ljude koji dolaze izraznih krajeva. U Brightonu, kao i u Rijeci, prevladava mišljenje kako je grad drugačiji Od ostatka zemlje. Primjerice, iz Brightona je jedini zastupnik zelenih u parlamentu, dok je u ostatku zemlje izbor samo između laburista i konzervativaca. Mislim i da ovdje u Rijeci ima puno prilika, ako želite nešto učiniti, možete. Bit će prepreka, prvenstveno administrativnih, na koje se zbilja teško naviknuti, ali prilika ima Inače, birokracija u Hrvatskoj je zaista problem. Upoznao sam mnoge strance koji su ovdje došli s namjerom da ulažu, ali kad su vidjeli s kolikom birokracijom i papirologijom su suočeni, na kraju su odustali od svojih namjera Na kraju radije kupe kuću ili apartman, nego pokreću biznis, što je velika šteta“, kaže riječki Britanac.
Rijeka je, ističe, drugačija od ostalih
hrvatskih krajeva uz obalu i po tome što nije turističko odredište,
barem ne u segmentu masovnog turizma. Isprva ga je čudilo što u gradu,
tijekom vrhunca turističke sezone, u srpnju i kolovozu, ne samo
da nema turista u velikom broju, nego ni Riječana.
„Pitao sam zašto ljudi
odlaze ljeti. što to Rijeka nema, a svi ostali gradovi uz obalu imaju. Ali s
vremenom sam zaključio da je možda i bolje tako. Je li to
dobro za Rijeku, ili loše, jer dolazi manje novca od turizma, ne znam. Nadam se
da će projekt Europske
prijestolnice kulture ipak dovesti više ljudi, iako je teško bilo što
prognozirati, s obzirom na epidemiju koronavirusa“, kaže Mayhew.
Kao prevoditelj i sam je uključen u projekt Rijeka EPK 2020. Do sad je preveo cjelokupan katalog svih događanja tijekom riječkog prijestolovanja europskom kulturom, u dva navrata, što je rezultiralo pozamašnim izdanjem na engleskom jeziku u kojemu su predstavljena sva događanja planirana tijekom ove godine.
„To je bio prilično velik posao. Prvo izdanje na engleskom bilo je otprilike upola kraće od drugog, a sada pripremam treće, koje će biti još opsežnije, kaže nam, pokazujući nam podeblju knjigu, katalog zbivanja Rijeka EPK.“
prijevodu dobro sam upoznat s programom događanja i zapravo sam zahvalan što sam imao
priliku u tome sudjelovati. To mi je i prilika da pokažem što radim, ali i da engleskim
medijima približim Rijeka EPK projekt. Do sad nisu pokazali neki golemi interes,
ali ipak ga ima. Imam i dalje kontakte u Engleskoj, u medijima, ali oni su
uglavnom zainteresirani za Dalmaciju ili Istru, kao najpopularnije turističke destinacije.
Ne znam zašto ova regija nije toliko prepoznata, iako je geografski savršeno smještena,
a ima i puno toga što vrijedi vidjeti i posjetiti. Možda biste vi meni to
trebali objasniti“, kaže Mayhew.
Uz Britansko, odlučio je uzeti i
hrvatsko državljanstvo, što je, smatra, bio ispravan potez, nakon Brexita, jer
ostaje građanin Europske
unije. Snažno se protivi izlasku Ujedinjenog Kraljevstva iz Europske unije, što
smatra potpuno pogrešnom politikom.
“Nisam siguran da su Britanci, glasajući o Brexitu,
sasvim razumjeli za što glasaju. Nevjerojatno je da su za Brexit glasali birači laburista.
Mislim da će Brexit naštetiti svima. Neki
dijelovi Velike Britanije izgubit će mnogo, posebno zbog izostanka
sufinanciranja projekata iz EU, poput Walesa, u kojemu je velik dio javnih
projekata bio sufinanciran europskim sredstvima. Škotska će, vrlo
vjerojatno, izglasati neovisnost od Ujedinjenog Kraljevstva, ne vidim kako se
to može spriječiti. Ali tu su i druge stvari, poput
razmjene studenata, razmjene znanja, kulture, mislim da će svi na kraju biti na
gubitku. Na primjer, čak i glazbenici iz Europe trebati će radnu vizu za nastup u
Engleskoj. Glazba je važan dio mog života, a posebno me vesele nastupi
britanskih izvođača u Hrvatskoj na koje redovito
odlazim, no s vizama, tko zna hoće li i koliko tih nastupa ubuduće biti, hoće li im biti
preskupo i prekomplicirano da nastupaju u Hrvatskoj. štete će nastati i po pitanju
slobode kretanja, studentske razmjene, znanosti, industrije, svega“, kaže
O životu i radu u Hrvatskoj i Rijeci kaže kako je drugačiji nego u Brightonu.
„Život u Engleskoj puno je skuplji.
Za stan koji ovdje plaćam tristo eura mjesečno u Brightonu
bih plaćao barem tisuću. Izlasci,
restorani i kafići ovdje su puno jeftiniji. Lako treba
uzeti u obzir i da su plaće u Engleskoj znatno veće. U Hrvatskoj
su plaće nedovoljne,
a to utječe na čitavu kulturu
življenja. Ovdje mladi ljudi ostaju živjeti s roditeljima znatno duže nego u
Engleskoj, na primjer, jer nemaju dovoljno sredstava da žive sami. To stvara
društva U Engleskoj, čim završiš školovanje, odlaziš od kuće i očekuje se da skrbiš
sam za sebe. To u Hrvatskoj ne vidim i nisam na to navikao, jer sam i sam
napustio roditeljski dom kad mi je bilo osamnaest“, kaže Mayhew.
Unatoč razlikama, kaže kako nema namjeru napuštati Hrvatsku. „Kada prestanem raditi i odem i mirovinu, mislim da ću ostati ovdje. Barem za sad, nemam namjeru seliti negdje drugdje. Ovdje sam si stvorio život, našao prijatelje, želim ostati u Rijeci“, zaključuje Mayhew.
WE PRESENT SARAH & THE ROMANS –
a merry group from Rijeka who are winning over the world!
10th October 2017 – Novi List, Rijeka, Croatia. Interview with Ivana Kocijan.
Coming soon from the German publishing house AGR TV Records in Hamburg will be ‘First Date’ the debut album by the Croatian group Sarah & The Romans. To find out how this cooperation came about, what it means to them, what they sing about in their songs, we spoke to band members: Sara Blažić, Goran Troha and Igor Willheim.
Igor: Six months ago we began to send emails and singles to Europe and America, looking for a publisher for our album. Publishing houses from Canada, America, Sweden and Germany were interested. German companies were the most interested in this regard, and over a few months we reached an agreement with one of them, signed a deal and began the production of the album. Goran: We were not trying to look for a publisher in Croatia because all the material is aimed at the foreign market, the songs are in English, and the music is such that it is more popular abroad than here.
When will the album be published and what can we find on it?Who are your songwriters? Goran: We have 11 songs on the album. Of those 10 are original compositions, whilst one is a version of an instrumental on the theme of the movie ‘Kekec’ (‘Good Will is The Best’) which we have arranged ourselves. As for the writers, I can say there are many, especially of the lyrics. As the lyrics are in English, we strive that they are written by native speakers. And in this we also have a translator who is following us, Martin Mayhew, an Englishman with a Rijeka address. Who as a translator and musician, has fitted very well into our story. The music and arrangements are written by members of the band. Igor: The album should be released on 27th October, and in the deal there is also a second album, which we are already working on, all the demo material has been recorded. We are still not sure of the title.
What themes do you sing about? Sara: The themes are love. The name of the album is ‘First Date’, as in romance, but also as in the first encounter of our band with the audience… It can be interpreted in various ways, but always positively and with good intention. The lyrics are always of love, optimistic, which is also the message of the bluegrass music that we play: everything is happy, positive, and even when something bad happens, you forget it, carry on and everything is OK.
Your first single ‘Smoke in The Wind’ from last year was chosen as Bluegrass Song of the Month by the American Akademia Music Awards.What does this acknowledgment mean for you?
Goran: Yes, we sent the song upon the recommendation of one radio DJ from Houston who fell for our music. The song was chosen as song of the month in June in its category. This really did open the door to the music world for us, and with that we gained many contacts. So for example we joined up with a dance troupe from Tennessee who we accompanied for five days in Zagreb, they danced, and we played. Igor: It was the International Folklore Festival, an excellent experience. The music brought us together and a great collaboration was created and so we will continue to accompany the dance troupe from Tennessee further at European dance festivals. At that time we also got to know a group from Indonesia, amongst whom was Agung who plays the talempong. This is a (audibly) similar instrument to the xylophone and makes a magical tone which so delighted and surprised us that we asked Agung to record something with us, which we then put together in one song. This is the charm of our music, we mix what we like into it. In the same song we also incorporated a flute. Sara: With that example Igor has described why we think we are original, what our vision is and how we are trying to create a unique sound.
Remind us of when and how the band was formed; who are its members and were you active as such a large group from the beginning? Goran: The band Sarah & The Romans came into existence in 2014, and currently there are ten members. We have also collaborated with musicians from Ljubljana (Slovenia), some permanent members are from Zagreb. We work in a kind of Rijeka-Zagreb-Ljubljana triangle. We are trying to make our music interesting, original and surprising. One instrument appears in an entire song, a second in two musical sections and then no more. This gives vibrancy, dynamics, and colour to the sound. And for that to function and be interesting, you need to have a little orchestra.
Where do you play the most, where can we listen to you? Igor: We will have the promotion of the album in Rijeka after it comes out. We perform mainly at festivals.
Where did you record the album? Goran: The songs were recorded in the Mr Lucky and Just Sound studios in Rijeka and in Metro in Ljubljana. Both the mix and mastering of the songs were finished by Mladen Srića (Rijeka, Croatia), Janez Križaj (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and Eduardo Reynoso Jr. (L.A., California).
You play a unique combination of various genres.What are they? Goran: We are unique in every case because we don’t repeat or copy traditional bluegrass. What is that in effect? It is our polka and waltzes, our European music, central European folk which is permanently in our ears. Bluegrass is acoustic, there are no electric guitars, no drums, it is full of wooden, warm instruments. The whole concept is very optimistic, positive… Such as we are in spirit, so is our music.
Are you recognised in Croatia? Sara: Yes, we are recognised, but in small circles. However, again we don’t play traditional bluegrass. It is not for older audiences, we are making music for the younger people. Radio stations are playing our music, we are played a lot abroad, for instance on British stations, and many more in America… One of our songs was in the Top 10 in Missouri.
Was singer Sara Blažić in the band from the beginning? Igor: Yes, we met during karaoke shows, she made a great impression on us because she had a very interesting voice. Also with her in the band are the singers Nikolina Akmadža and Matea Dujmović who also plays flute on one song.
You are collaborating with the 92-year-old singer Bruno Petrali.Can you tell us something more about that? Goran: Yes, at the same time with the band we are working on the project Sarah & The Romans feat. Bruno Petrali. Igor: Petrali is a legend. He is 92 years old, he knows everything about music, everything about sport. We have recorded a duet with him, a version of the song ‘Una sola volta ci si ama’, with his original translation. It was joy to work with Petrali and so we recorded two more songs, a version of ‘Bambina’ by Neno Belan which he translated into Italian and a version of the song ‘Sve moje jeseni su tužne’ (’All My Autumns Are Sad’) by Žarko Petrović, which Petrali sang originally way back in 1957.
Goran: We are also working on a special album with Iva Santini, a young singer-songwriter from Rijeka, who is also the writer of one of the songs on our first album. The album with Iva will be something very innovative, different. Her genre is folk-ethno, and she usually plays the Celtic harp and ukulele.
Members of the band: Singers: Sara Blažić, Nikolina Akmadža, Matea Dujmović
Violin: Antun Stašić, Nikola Čeran, Mislav Salopek
Mandolin: Roman Tomašković
Banjo: Goran Troha
Dobro, guitar: Boris Luka Luković
Guitar: Zoran Bebe Petrović
Double bass: Domagoj Zubo Zubović
Harmonica: Ivica Dujić
Drums: Suzan Vidović
Booking manager: Igor Willheim
Guests on the album ‘First Date’: Anja Hrastovšek and Jasna Žitnik, Ivana Marić, Artemija Stanić, RiverBlue (Vedran and Ivana Mlakar), Mirna Škrgatić, Mladen Srića, Nataša Manestar, Damjan Vasiljević, Sempre Allegro Choir Rijeka, Dino Džopa Šemsudin, Vanja Dizdarević, Damjan Grbac, Tilen Stepišnik, Dušan Pjer Ladavac, Uroš Šuljić, Žiga Šercer, Nikola Jovanović, Krešimir Kunda, Klaudio Kolar, Petar Tepšić, Rajko Ergić and Ivan Pjerić Dorčić.
(Translated by Martin Mayhew from the original Croatian article here)
In the 15th June 1913 issue of the Italian literary journal ‘Lacerba‘ there appeared a page of maxims or aphorisms entitled ‘Accenni‘ attributed to one ‘Gian Paolo’.
‘Lacerba‘ was published in Florence from 1913-1915, edited by Giovanni Papini and was associated with the emerging Futurist movement. This particular issue amongst others also featured pieces by leading figures such as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Ardengo Soffici, Max Jacob and even an illustration by Pablo Picasso.
Kamov’s text appeared alongside the works of Pablo Picasso, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Ardengo Soffici.
Vladimir Čerina, an exponent of Kamov, was also a contributor. It was most likely under his auspices that these fragments of Kamov’s maxims were included under the pseudonym of ‘Gian Paolo’, in ‘Lacerba’ in 1913, in Italian, three years after his death. Čerina had alluded to their publication in his study of Kamov published earlier in the same year, although they were not properly authenticated until the mid-1980s by Tonko Maroević and Dragutin Tadijanović.
You can read my English translations of Kamov’s aphorisms in my book ‘The Curse‘. This is a reproduction of Kamov’s collection of poems that he originally published in 1907 under the title ‘Psovka‘.
You can buy ‘The Curse‘ from Modernist nakladništvo here.
It is also available as an ebook from Amazon and other ebook sellers.
FROM ENGLAND TO INDIA BY AUTOMOBILE An 8,527-mile Trip Through Ten Countries, from London to Quetta, Requires Five and a Half Months BY MAJOR F.A.C. FORBES-LEITH
extract: THE FIUME “LIONS” OF ITALY’S POET SOLDIER
Our next stop was at Fiume (Rijeka), the scene of the coup of Gabriele d’Annunzio, Italy’s poet patriot. It is also a fine port, but a mean city in comparison with Trieste. A narrow river separates it from Susak, the Yugoslavian frontier town.
An impressive sight in the city was the great number of apparently idle young men with shock heads of hair fluffed out like a lion’s mane. We thought this must be the latest thing in Fiume masculine styles until an English-speaking friend explained that this is the hall mark of d’Annunzio’s “lions,” who, with him, captured the city.
We were warned not to upset any of them, as they have the reputation of being excessively irascible and a law unto themselves.
After a night in Fiume, we crossed the frontier bridge to Yugoslavia. The incredible change made by those few yards is impossible to imagine – a jump from stagnation and slackness to hurry and bustle.
The only place into which the general energy had not penetrated was the customhouse. We had a letter of introduction to the chief revenue officer, who told us that, as a great favour, they would rush us through the formalities. The “rush” required six hours to deal with our small outfit!
The officials seemed to like our company. As soon as the papers were passed to a fresh clerk, he would come and have a friendly chat with us on European politics, our trip, and, in fact, anything but the business concerned. They were so cheery and genial that we could not take offense; so we smoked endless cigarettes and waited.
Overland from England to India in late 1924 by Major Forbes-Leith. Here seen in Baghdad on 20th August 1924.
EVERY VILLAGE CAFE IN YUGOSLAVIA HAS ITS ORCHESTRA
We were now in a new kingdom, a charming country of delightful, music-loving people. Every little village café has its orchestra of young men playing the guitar and mandolin, and accompanied by a trio or quartette of girl singers. The former stand and play; the latter sit in a row in front and sing national songs from dusk to midnight.
The Croats and Serbs are fine fellows of good physique, very hard workers, great patriots, and among the finest soldiers in the world. Serbia, before the World War, was spoken of as a little Balkan state; now she must be reckoned as a power in Europe.
English police uniforms used in Zagreb in the 1920s.
At Agram (Zagreb), the capital of Croatia, formerly part of the old Austrian Empire, we had a shock that made us rub our eyes. In front of us at the first crossroad, was the embodiment of an English policeman, with helmet, uniform, and baton complete. We heard afterward that the whole police force of the city was modeled and trained on British lines, even uniforms being supplied by outfitters in England.
In atmosphere, architecture, and general plan, Agram is a miniature Vienna. It has a fine opera house, and the architecture is for the most part typically Austrian.
Living is very cheap here for the man who carries either the pound sterling or the dollar.
The trip was made in 1924 and published by The National Geographic Magazine August 1925.
There was even a cameraman on the trip and there exists footage – called ‘Lure of the East’ of some of the trip available here on the British Pathe archives website. And on Vimeo – watch at 1:00 and you’ll see a Zagreb copper: https://vimeo.com/45439980
A superb new addition to my collection. An original copy from June 1914 of Hrvatska mlada lirika which features work by Ivo Andrić, Vladmir Čerina, Vilko Gabarić, Fran Galović, Karlo Hausler, Zvonko Milković, Stjepan Parmačević, Janko Polić Kamov, Nikola Polić, Augustin Ujević, Milan Vrbanić and Ljubo Wiesner.
All four original volumes of Kamov’s work, with dust jackets. Published by the ‘Otokar Keršovani’ publishing company in Rijeka. Edited by Dragutin Tadijanović, artwork by Miljenko Stančić.
Vol. 1 – Pjesme, novele i lakrdije 1956
Vol. 2 – Isušena Kaljuža 1957
Vol. 3 – Drame 1957
Vol. 4 – Članci i feljtoni – pisma 1958
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