Marina Vesic
Serbian border-crossing artists who found widespread success

Serbian popular music has been greatly influenced by Western music. As I am doing my research about border-crossing artists, between popular and experimental musicfrom 1970, there are many artists who I would like to introduce in  this article, as well as their musical achievements, both international as well as Serbian. For now I will concentrate on music and art by the Serbian born composer, Milica Paranosic.


As a classically trained composer, multimedia artist, and performer, Milica Paranosic is one of most important personalities in the cross over style and history of popular music.


She has lived and worked in New York for more than 20 years, where she also works at the Julliard School, and additionally founded the Paracademia Inc. in NY. I met Milica in 2009 at the Music Academy in Belgrade, at one of her workshops, where I received a multimedia DVD of her collaborations with Carmen Kordas. Back then, that DVD inspired me a lot, and further, in the years that came, made me a cross over thinking artist.


Paranosic is famous for her diversity of styles in music, combining minimal with popular music, experimental with avant-garde and more. Her magnificent work, "Confessions" (2008), a one woman multimedia show, is a remarkable example of combining different music styles and crossing over between them successfully. What took my attention at first was the opening song, "Kales bre, Andjo".


“Kales bre, Andjo” is an original Macedonian folk song dating from the times of the Ottoman Empire. This song has been used in Paranosic's significant performance “Confessions” and was premiered and performed in New York in 2008. Paranosic herself says about “Confessions” that this performance is a collection of original, arranged, and improvised compositions inspired by the Serbian folk song heritage, and by her real life stories. It is told by exploring new techniques involving electronics, ethnic and found instruments, vocals, movement, spoken word, and visuals.


Her movements on the stage are minimalistic, which indicates a sort of performance similar to Laurie Anderson (an American avant-garde artist, composer and musician), addressing minimal music and performance art.


“Confessions” renders a variety of musical styles that have influenced her (among them folk, pop, punk, hip-hop, classical and opera), merging them together to create unique blends. This work is her way of sharing her life and her art, exposing her most intimate moments. The premiere took place at the Sanford Meisner Theater, 164 11th Avenue NYC.


"Kales bre, Andjo" is often performed by a male / female duet, but not always. It is structured in the form of a dialogue. It has four verses, of which the first three are performed by the male vocalist (in the case of a duet). Paranosic’s performance is different as the song structure is constructed differently; She sings alone, and the song is composed in a modern style, where she is using her laptop (samples made in Logic), her voice in loop effects, and clarinet. In “Confessions” she is completely alone on the stage. The lyrics are originally in the Macedonian language. The story is about a Turkish man who wanted to marry a woman, and wanted her to change her religion, which she refused.


This song is about resistance. The real Andja, as the oral tradition in Macedonian has been said, is based on a true story and the woman who refused to accept this offer, committed suicide by jumping off a cliff. A book inspired by this story has been written by Macedonian writer Stale Popov, the book called „Kales Andja“, in 1958. This song was used in movies as well, for instance in the famous film „Arizona Dream" (1993) by Serbian film director Emir Kusturica.


Story telling of the song “Kales bre, Andjo”


As this song dates from the 12th century, the meaning of the song has been already explained, but the question is, what could this story mean, or what it could be? Usually, in this kind of story, the woman would accept the offer, but here she denies it. The meaning could be that back then she wanted to keep her own tradition and remain independent.


By Milica Paranosic’s performance today in New York, this could have a different meaning, like she is in New York, but she focuses on the tradition and the value of the woman, to be independent, and to keep her own faith and religion.


Or, it could be a nostalgic moment for Paranosic by performing the song, pointing out to the feminine side, to be independent and to not change herself for another one, or about environment where she is today in NY, meaning Paranosic is in the world but she still wants to say that she keeps tradition and faith, as well as her independence. Paranosic transcribed the song for voice, oboe, viola and bass. The

song is originally written in G-Major and consists of verses and refrain, but manysingers perform in E Major.


The most broadcasted version is by Amira Medunjanin and in contrast with Paranosic’s score, she sings in G Major. Paranosic seems to retain as much as possible of the original song composition, and also adding more effects and



Main aspect: The transformation of the original song is accomplished by different performances by Paranosic. Paranosic is a crossover artist and she achieved that in this song by improvisation with her voice at the beginning,  accompanied by Oboe, Viola and Bass.


Her voice is in a loop as she is using samples from her laptop and combines words, especially at the beginning of the performance. After every Verse, there is the Oboe and Viola in the first plan.


We can hear how she is combining two styles, both the traditional Macedonian song with electronics. On the other side, the instrumentation is vastly different, so she has her own performance of this song.


An experimental style can be heard by combining together both popular and traditional folk styles. Her voice is mostly based on free improvisation, but she still kept the sense of the original song. Paranosic sang the traditional melody in her own way, using sometimes loops, probably to add emphasis and importance to some words. Her performance is multimedia, as she also has a video projector behind her. As mentioned before her movements on the stage are quite minimal, which can also be described as a border-crossing between minimal and experimental, with a hint of a popular, which has been combined with the traditional Macedonian folk song.


Оставите одговор


Претплатите се и дарујте независни часописи Људи говоре, да бисмо трајали заједно


Људи говоре је српски загранични часопис за књижевност и културу који излази у Торонту од 2008.године. Поред књижевности и уметности, бави се свим областима које чине културу српског народа.

У часопису је петнаестак рубрика и свака почиње са по једном репродукцијом слика уметника о коме се пише у том броју. Излази 4 пута годишње на 150 страна, а некада и као двоброј на 300 страна.

Циљ му је да повеже српске писце и читаоце ма где они живели. Његова основна уређивачка начела су: естетско, етичко и духовно јединство.


Мило Ломпар
главни и одговорни уредник
(Београд, Србија)

Владимир Димитријевић
оперативни уредник за матичне земље
(Чачак, Србија)

Радомир Батуран
оперативни уредник за дијаспору
(Торонто, Канада)

Александар Петровић
уредник за културу
(Београд, Србија)

Жељко Продановић
уредник за поезију
(Окланд, Нови Зеланд)


Небојша Радић
уредник за језик и писмо
(Кембриџ, Енглеска)

Жељко Родић
уредник за уметност
(Оквил, Канада)

Никол Марковић
уредник енглеске секције и секретар Уредништва
(Торонто, Канада)

Џонатан Лок Харт
уредник енглеске секције
(Торонто, Канада)


Душица Ивановић

Сања Крстоношић

Александра Крстовић

Графички дизајн

Антоније Батуран

Технички уредник

Радмило Вишњевац


Часопис "Људи говоре"
The Journal "People Say"

477 Milverton Blvd.
Toronto ON,
M4C 1X4 Canada


Мила Фокас


Никол Марковић, секретар
т: 416 823 8121

Радомир Батуран, oперативни уредник
т: 416 558 0587

477 Milverton Blvd. Toronto,
On. M4C 1X4, Canada

baturan@rogers.com nikol_markovic@hotmail.com ljudigovore.com

ISSN 1925-5667

© људи говоре 2019