Croatia usually goes by the tourist slogan “Mediterranean as it once was”. And yes, sometimes, visiting tourists do get the feeling they time-travelled back into the 70s, at least as far as hotel and other tourist-related infrastructure is concerned. But the theme of today’s show is Caribbean, as Croatians think it is. Balkan Express is delighted to give you Brain Holidays, Croatia’s premier reggae band.
Brain Holidays are currently an eight-member act . They emerged around the turn of the millennium. coming together by sharing their love of reggae. The actual composition of the band varied over the years but it all started with covering Bob Marley classics. Soon enough, however, Brain Holidays started recording their own material, turning into Croatia’s biggest roots reagge band. They released their first album, titled Stereo Roots in 2006, to great excitement of both the public and critics.
More than just having a good time
Even though Brain Holidays give the appearance of a band that is out there to have a good time, there is more to them than that. Their lyrics are not just fun, they also touch upon economic issues as well as the eternal battle between good and evil. Such was the case of their second studio album, titled Save Peace Babylon Delete.
One of the things that went against Brain Holidays from the get go was the fact – at least according to their account – it was impossible to release an English-only album in Croatia. Which meant they had to apply themselves much more to come up with new material. Which led to delays in recording the albums. But by their third album, System Error, they were already an established act and their lives became much easier.
System Error, Brain Holiday’s third album made reggae fashionable again. Released in 2017, it combined the positive life attitude and won them a Porin, the Croatian music industry award. It also prompted the immediate release of a remix-album a year later.
Coming full circle
In 2020, Brain Holidays finally made it to Jamaica, to record and release their latest album. Titled Jamaican Connection, it was recorded at Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston, the legendary place where Bob Marley recorded his best stuff. And given that Brain Holidays held an annual Bob Marley tribute concert, the band leader Marko Gačina felt that in 20 years, the band finally came full circle.
Check out Brain Holidays on YouTube, Spotify and wherever you get your music from. Balkan Express will be back next week.
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget gusle and tamburice, this show is about rock, pop and a sense of humour. Well, at least there’s guitars. On air most Tuesdays in a new-and-improved time-slot at 1100 hrs. Usually. Your train conductor is Aljaž (aka @pengovsky) who once did the world a solid and decided never to sing again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio.
TuesdaysWith : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.