Lepa Brena

  • Music, Folk, country and blues
© Andreja Damnjanović

Time Out Says

The grand dame of regional folk pop makes a rare appearance over two nights

One of the most popular singers of the former Yugoslavia, Lepa Brena is arguably the originator of the much-loved genre of turbofolk, known locally as cajke. Since the early-'80s she has been combining traditional, region folk styles with contemporary pop and disco to create a music of mass appeal and which sounds like no other pop music in Europe. The genre she helped build is arguably the most popular radio, nightclub and music event soundtrack in the whole region and much of this success must be attributed to Brena and her consistent release of hits. So strongly associated are her songs with the Yugoslavian era that she is not so much a favourite of some who perhaps expect post-independence culture to look and sound wholly new and different, perhaps explaining the rarity of her visits to Croatia. And though she may have been eclipsed in the eyes of a few younger fans by other singers within the cajke genre, such as Ceca, the appeal of this originator and her huge catalogue of hits remains undiminished across a broad age spectrum of fans. She has sold over 40 million albums, the latest being 2018's 'Zar je važno dal se peva ili pjeva', the album's title referencing her well-known stance on matters regarding ethnic differences, issues which some have unfairly used to attack her for over 30 years. Brena visiting Zagreb is such a big deal that a second night was added almost immediately to the original arena date.


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