In this episode we are revisiting a band that was, if memory serves, featured in the second-ever episode of this here show. Back when the pandemic was still new and face-masks were more precious than gold. But seeing as Balkan Express did not yet sport a webpage back then, and we do care about our SEO placement, we give you, again, Dubioza Kolektiv.
Technically, Dubioza Kolektiv, or just Dubioza for short, are a Bosnian act. An avant-garde dub group – hence the name Dub/ioza, get it? – they have a distinct sound that is a crossover between rock, dub, hip hop, reggae, punk, electronic music and – obviously – Balkan folk. Oh, and their lyrics take no prisoners
Dubioza since 2003
Dubioza are a seven-member act, formed back in 2003 in Bosnian cities of Sarajevo and Zenica, by Brano Jakubović, Vedran Mujagić, Almir Hasanbegović and Adis Zvekić. Initially, Zevkić’s sister Aida was part of the crew, but soon left to pursue a solo career. The band released their first album in 2004 and wrote lyrics in Bosnian and English from the very start.
Today, Dubioza Kolektiv band members hail from Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia, making it one of the truly Balkan bands. Their music often combines serious lyrical themes and content with satirical and humorous lyrical style and presentation. Or, as keyboardist Brano Jakupović famously quipped, their music proves that people can dance and think at the same time.
Dubioza has consistently embraced socially and politically conscious texts. They speak out against injustices befalling ordinary people, political corruption, and attempting to raise public awareness. Band members believe that it is the duty of artists to use their platform to promote positive ideas and values. Case in point, a mass anti-corruption protest in my hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia about a decade ago. Back then, the Dubioza gave an impromptu concert for about 20.000 people in the main city square
Worldly, yet Balkan
To date, Dubioza Kolektiv released ten studio albums. In 2015, they won the most popular Bosnian musical act award. They also embody everything that makes the Balkans such a worldly and yet, quintessentially, well, Balkan.
Throughout the almost two decades of their existence, Dubioza Kolektiv collaborated with a host of other artists, including but not limited to the great Manu Chao. Their latest album is titled hashtag Fake News and was released just before the pandemic hit in 2020. The accompanying tour was obviously postponed. But the band being what they are, they used the lull to record new material and work with musicians from across the globe. For example, Seattle-based Gino Jevđevič of equally famous Kulturshock.
Dubioza were slated to appear in Luxembourg late last year. Unfortunately, the date was unfortunately dropped in the post-pandemic rescheduling flurry. At least there’s Balkan Express. Check out Dubioza Kolektiv on Youtube, Spotify or wherever you get your music from and 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.