Published on 17/05/2022 11:00 am

We survived the Eurosong – albeit just barely – and with that we should return to calmer waters of contemporary music from the Balkans. Today, we are returning to Croatia and introducing the Zoran Čalić Band.

The Zoran Čalić Band is, as the name suggests, brain child of Zoran Čalić a Croatian blues guitarist who made a name for himself as a guitarist and songwriter in the rock band Majke. He left the band for good in 2016 and released his first solo album titled U Moru I Plamenu / In the Sea And In The Flame that same year.

Music of Zoran Čalić Band is pure, unadulterated rock and roll. That is to say, it is very easy to hear elements of both blues, psychedelia and country, which Čalić says are indicative of the plains around the town of Vinkovci in Eastern Croatia where he hails from.

From Majke to a band bearing his name

While Čalić’s two-decades-long on-again-off-again relationship with the band Majke is the stuff of legends and will be properly researched on this here show at a future date, things weren’t always bright and sunny for The Zoran Čalić Band, either. Not in the least because the pandemic wreaked havoc on the band’s lineup. Initially a four-member sort-of supergroup, they have since become a trio and consist, apart from Čalić of Jernej Andrejaš on bass and Benjamin Kovač on drums.

Sometimes it is hard to decipher whether The Zoran Čalić Band is a side-project of the artist whose name the band bears or whether all other gigs Čalić does are there to fill the time between band sessions. To wit, playing guitar in Big Foot Mama, arguably the greatest Slovenian rock band would be enough for most people. But not Čalić.

Zoran Čalić lives in south of Slovenia, just across the border with his native Croatia. Although a bit of a self-described recluse, the world around him influenced his lyrics. Especially the 2015 refugee crisis, when  hundreds of thousands of Syrian and other refugees attempted to reach the relative safety of the EU by crossing the Balkans on foot. Hence the title of the album In the Sea and in the Flame.

Latter-day troubadour

Zoran Čalić sees himself as a latter-day troubadour, telling lyrical stories about the world around him. But he also marches to his own drum, making it very clear that The Zoran Čalić Band is his outlet and that other people are just along for the ride. And while he only has one album to the band’s name right now, a second album is reportedly in the works

Look up Zoran Čalić Band on Youtube, Spotify and 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

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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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Zoran Čalić Band (Balkan Express 084)