Published on 21/09/2021 11:00 am

In the course of a career spanning five-decades Marina Tucaković wrote the lyrics for over four thousand songs. Starting in mid-1970s, the prolific author began writing song texts almost by accident. She liked to say that she was fortunate to be doing what she liked. That is, writing lyrics.

Born and bred in Belgrade, Marina left a mark in all corners of what was once Yugoslav (and, later, Serbian) music industry. Even though plenty of what she wrote could arguably be dismissed as superficial, she was known as The Hitmaker. Among the hits she wrote the lyrics are Apsolutno tvoj (Absolutely Yours) by Mirzino Jato, Ljubav preko žice (Love Over the Wire) by Aleksander Mežek and Stakleni Hotel (Glass Hotel) by Divlje Jagode.

Notably, she wrote Ljuljaj me nežno (Swing Me Gently), a 1978 hit by Oliver Mandić that continues to enjoy cult status to this day. Her biggest hit, however, was Dodirni mi koljena (Touch My Knees) by Zana. She was considered a full band member and was billed as such during the recording of the band’s second – and most successful – album in 1982.

Tucaković continued to work and write well into the new millennium, albeit she tilted more and more towards the turbofolk subgenre, so ubiquitous in Serbia after Yugoslavia fell apart. Although she accepted some criticism of her collaborative choices, Marina maintained that she was solely interested in writing lyrics and not taking stands, political or otherwise.

Be that as it may (and many critics remained unconvinced), her influence on the music industry in former Yugoslavia can hardly be overstated.

Marina Tucaković was suffering from breast cancer and died from Covid-19 complications on 19 September 2021, two days before this episode of Balkan Express went live.

Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget the 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 sign again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio

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With : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00

Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.

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Marina Tucaković (Balkan Express 054)