Performers 2017

Christopher Paul Stelling (New York/USA)

This authentic American troubadour, who travels in order to play music and sing, and sings in order to travel, has included Gradić Fest this season in his usual annual schedule. His expressive vocal performance of his own creative work, in the spirit of the overseas folklore, equally stirs the emotions whether he sings accompanied by the other three members of the band or sings solo while playing the guitar, and the lived experience and poetry felt in his voice go straight to the hearts of the audiences awakening their desire for adventure and dreams of romantic past.

From his birthplace in Florida, Christopher Paul Stelling arrived in Brooklyn, where he currently resides, travelling across Colorado, Massachusetts, Washington and North Carolina, all the while searching for the meaning of life through new experiences, which he has been sharing with others, like his numerous predecessors – travelling singers, musicians and entertainers – did throughout the centuries. In the opinion of music critics, he represents the image of an ideal troubadour of our times, with his deep, strong and somewhat dark poetry, expressive singing technique and skillful fingerpicking guitar playing style, which is his other expressive language. His innumerable gigs at bars, cafes, theatres and festivals, but also on squares and under bridges, have finally led him to bigger concert spaces, earned him respect in the music world, and between 2012 and 2015 he released three albums: Songs of Praise and Scorn, False Cities and Labor Against Waste. He will perform at Gradić Fest on Friday, on the main stage, after the opening parade, accompanied with contrabass, violin and percussions.

Brass Band Flaach (Flaach/Switzerland)

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” – those are the words of great Victor Hugo, and they can be used as the announcement of this brass music orchestra which will perform at the ceremonial parade at the opening of this year’s Gradić Fest, and remain in Novi Sad a few days after that. The unique, emotional and adrenaline inducing experience of listening to a walking brass orchestra is nothing new to audiences from this region, but this loud Swiss orchestra will make them experience brass music in a new and special way.

Brass Band Flaach is the reason why the village with the same name, located near Zurich, is a well-known place in Switzerland and beyond. The orchestra’s tradition is over 8 decades long (it was founded in 1935), making it a true institution of Alpine music tradition, which, because of geographical characteristics of the Alps, which are full of gorges, canyons and echoing slopes, nurtures brass instruments as a centuries-long means of communication. Besides the characteristic English swing style of orchestra playing, Flaach Orchestra also practices religious music, so their “walking” repertoire also includes that form of music. None of the 25 current orchestra members is a professional musician, which is maybe the main reason why their music comes straight from the heart, and why not only concerts but also rehearsals give them a lot of joy. As it suits such an orchestra, Brass Band Flaach will be at the front of the ceremonial parade going from Trg Slobode Square to Belgrade Gate, which will, together with other attractions, open the festival in the Lower Town, on 1st September.

Renzo Ruggiero (Italy/Spain)

Medieval music of various European peoples, a personal, creative touch and enormous instrumental mastery is what characterizes the performance of this Italian musician who resides in Toledo. The fans of unusual, old and rare instruments will enjoy listening to him playing the nyckelharpa (see photo), an instrument dating from the 15th century, and Persian santur (see video), an instrument similar to cymbalon.

During his music studies in Bologna, Ruggiero specialized his technique and improvisation skills as a jazz bassist, and he transformed his knowledge into skill by participating in bands with various music orientations. Later, he started doing a different sort of research and interpretation on instruments from different European and Mediterranean regions. After more than 20 years of experience in the world of traditional and old music, his performances today encompass all the elements of his music origin, rock, folk, old music and his own creative work. His compositions are known world-wide, and have also been interpreted by the European Nyckelharpa Orchestra. He is currently working on various projects in Spain, and has cooperated with band Ana Alcaide, duet Rhodes y Chelo, and one of the best Japanese flamenco troupes, Arte y Solera. He released a solo album Alma, as composer, producer and interpreter. He will perform all three days at Gradić Fest, on various occasions.

The Trouble Notes (Berlin/Germany)

Music from everywhere, music for everyone – that is a package that a trio of authentic street musicians travelling in a van from Berlin is bringing to Gradić Fest. The trio has rich international experience and has already had over 400 concerts. Violin, guitar and percussions, music mix that escapes precise definition but packed with enormous artistic and entertaining potential will maybe puzzle the sceptics and those who are insufficiently relaxed and unaware that what they are witnessing is a true spectacle of modern acoustic music.

The story of The Trouble Notes began on tough streets of New York, where Bennet, a classically trained and promising violinist, was trying to overcome his dissatisfaction with doing “serious” music and getting more and more interested in modern art forms. Feeling unfulfilled even with a promising career of a Wall Street financial expert, he listened to the voice of his violin, which was quietly but resolutely telling him to leave everything, move somewhere far away and – start a new life. Aware of the fact that after the avenues of the “Big Apple” all the other streets in the world would be less dangerous, this brave musician ended up in Hyde Park in London, where, while performing as a street musician, he met a kindred spirit, a percussionist with a great gift of showmanship – Oliver Maguite. They started a joint project and after travelling to Ireland and The Czech Republic they arrived in Berlin, where they found the last missing part of the Trouble Notes puzzle, a classically trained guitarist Florian Eisenschmidt, whose technique is flamenco technique, but whose energy feels like it is made for hard rock. Since then, The Trouble Notes have been acquiring a fan base across Europe, and have released two albums – Soundtracks from the Street and Grand Masquerade. They are one of the bigger attractions in the festival’s program and they will perform all three days at Gradić Fest.

Les Dudes (Canada/Switzerland)

Let’s do it, and let’s make an impressive and powerful show while doing it! – that’s the motto of two whacky acrobats who unstoppably storm on motorcycles through rings of fire while performing adrenaline inducing stunts. This Canadian-Swiss duo is inspired by the centuries-long tradition of street entertainment and finds a perfect balance in an ideal combination of energy, circus skills and comedy.

Francis Gadbois is a master of artistic cycling, who has been a Canadian representative at Artistic Cycling World Championship three times after finishing the Circus School in Quebec. Besides showing his adrenaline skills he especially enjoys making the audiences laugh – until they are in stiches. Philippe Dreyfuss is Swiss, and he has finished a similar school in Montréal, and he is by profession a multidisciplinary artist who performs as passionately on streets as on theatre stage. Not only does he enjoy performing but he also enjoys getting his knowledge across to the young people, and his workshops have taken him as far as South Africa. These two artists have used their experience gained by performing with the most famous modern circus in the world, Cirque du Soleil, and shaped a unique show, which they have performed over 500 times, on all five continents.

Sean Rooney (Montréal/Canada)

The magic of music, fashion, sculptures of animals and people, as well as innumerable sound effects, and all of it executed on – balloons – that is a part of the enchantment that the great balloon maestro Sean Rooney is bringing to the Lower Town. By performing all over the world at festivals of street art, this world famous artist and innovator has developed with time a fascinating technique of balloon manipulation, with which he can do literally everything – his creations range from sculpture exhibitions to real music concerts.

In the last 20 years, Rooney has left a trail of thousands of inflated balloons, and a few deflated ones too, from his birthplace in Canada over European capitals to Teheran and faraway Eastern metropolis Singapore, and he has devoted a part of his career to the biggest modern circus in the world – Cirque de Soleil. His performances are a feast of the most diverse colors and unusual sounds, tuned to each particular audience, since he speaks many languages and is always ready to learn more. Besides performing on all three days of Gradić Fest, the balloon maestro will play an important part in the opening parade: five huge surprise balloon sculptures which will float above the parade of citizens and artists are the collaboration of the maestro and his colleague from Novi Sad residing in France, Nenad Đukić.

KUD Ljud (Ljubljana/Slovenia)

A group of extraterrestrials on an interplanetary mission has landed on the Earth with the intent of getting to know our planet better, and in order not to be taken too seriously by humans they have put on outfits of characteristic pink color… Their “invasion” provokes shock and disbelief at first, but it soon turns out that their mission is a positive one: they just want to establish contact with us, to get to know our world and customs, and in return they offer their usual rituals and habits…

Although this scenario seems like a scenario from the works of Philip K. Dick or from Orson Welles’ radio drama, it is actually the summary of the performance of the Slovenian troupe KUD Ljud. It is a group of idealists from different social and artistic spheres whose members are joined by the idea that street theatre is actually live matter which should be performed in the moment and in direct contact with the audience. Since 2006 they have been on the mission to create theatre plays as games, rituals and social events. They perform only on streets and combine different media, genres and techniques. Outside their joint projects the members compose music, make films, write, perform as DJs, enjoy gardening, play chess and practice levitation. This year, the visitors to Gradić Fest will be given the opportunity to take with them a piece of this authentic, extraterrestrial, pink experience from the Lower Town…

Love and Revenge (Beirut/Lebanon)

This year’s oriental treat at Gradić Fest is destined, first and foremost, to those who have never been to the Middle East, but who greatly desire to feel its exotic colors, smells and sounds. This music project of two Lebanese musicians is intended to bring their artistic and cultural milieu closer to the “global village”, and it combines two counterposed worlds: electronic beat matrices and traditional folk music of the Orient.

Love and Revenge is the joint project of Lebanese hip-hop pioneer Rayess Bek and visual artist Randa Mirza. It is a musical reflection on their cultural identity, aiming to give a second life to old Arab popular songs and movies by adapting them to the principles of modern music production and modern visual aesthetics. They find the material for their visual and audio samples in the artistic works of the so-called “golden era” of Arab culture, in Arab music and films from the 40s and 50s of the 20th century. They perform live, in front of a screen onto which romantic scenes from classical Arab films are projected during the show, and there are four members in the band: besides Bek and his electronic beats, and Mirza with her visual effects, there are also Julien Perraudeau on keyboards and Mehdi Haddab, a virtuoso on an electrical version of Arab string instrument oud. Their work is a seductive music-visual invitation to the world on the other side of the Mediterranean, behind the curtain which leads directly to Arabian Nights and other similar fairytales about love and revenge.

Happy Trash Production (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The most unusual dance event that an average clubber from the region can attend will be a part of Gradić Fest thanks to a group of artists sharing a common inclination towards the unusual and the extraordinary, that is, towards the usual and the ordinary distorted to the extent of bordering camp and kitsch, or even more… DJ and VJ Happy Trash party will bring true disco fever to the Lower Town, since it will take place at prime time for dancing – on Saturday around midnight, at the central point next to the Belgrade Gate.

Happy Trash Production is an artistic troupe founded in 2003, and it consists of artists from Novi Sad: Branislav Petrić, Staniša Dautović, Dragan Matić, Željko Piškorić, Vladimir Marko and Duška Karanov, and there is always the possibility of adding new members. These experienced artists are academically educated mostly in the domain of visual arts, but also in some humanities’ domains, and in their work they use different means of expression – photography, installations, audio-visual works and performances, etc. They keep away from the strict principles of dry academism, preferring to follow modified external influences and circumstances, which led them a few years ago to shift their focus from “creation” to “redirection”. The end that justifies such means is, they say, the search for freshness and truth in modern art. They will perform at Gradić Fest under their usual pseudonyms: DJ Čkalja, DJ Taško, DJ Gula, DJ Mija and DJ Burduš.

Gongmaster Dolph (Breda/Holland)

One of the world’s most renowned gong players is bringing an unusual ambient experience to the Lower Town. Sublime atmosphere and pleasant floating on the wings of warm metal sounds will make summer nights at Gradić Fest even warmer and – more mystical.

Gongmaster Dolph is a true Flying Dutchman, since he has spent most of his life wandering around the world in search of spirituality and artistic expression. His experience in the Far East has had the strongest influence on him, and the last two decades he has been devoted to the magical sounds of Chinese gong, Tibetan horn and Shaman drums. His abundant experience and creative ability have led him to develop a unique style of gong playing and to advance the understanding itself of this instrument worldwide. Besides having done more than 1000 solo performances all over the world, he has also performed as a guest musician with the Dutch duo Maya Masaya and Nada Naga band. He is arriving alone to the Lower Town, equipped with his big shiny sound disc.

Jean Ménigault (Paris/France)

This great master of clown act – which is how he is justifiably called by his numerous fans – is one of the key international artists in that artistic discipline. This Frenchman has been mostly working in Italy, but also proudly thrilling the audiences all over the world with his clown charisma, demonstrating and teaching, and making the audiences see the world from his unusual allegoric-satiric perspective.

This likeable artist, who is also known under the nickname Méningue, excels in the domain of street theatre and with both his image and his work transcends the common idea of the “ordinary’ circus comedian with a red nose. After receiving education and training for theatre pantomime at the Eugène Delacroix School, he first gained experience by performing on the pavements of Paris, and later he started taking part in theatre plays, opera and modern dance performances, as well as in TV productions, which have made him famous in Italy. He attracted the attention of artistic circles with his portrayal of the role of August in the play Magic tombola, which was performed over 200 times a year. Since 1990, when he created his character of a street clown, he has been a renowned and frequent performer at all relevant international festivals and cultural events concerning street art and modern art. An important part of his career is his pedagogical work, because he especially enjoys long, creative workshops, where he gets his extensive knowledge across to the participants, and which invariably end with him performing together with them. The visitors to Gradić Fest will also be able to feel a part of Méningue’s magic: the finale of a ten-day course for artist from Novi Sad will be a clown act on Sunday night, while the master himself will give his brilliant performance in the interaction with the audience at several locations in the Lower Town.

Ensh (Toronto/Canada)

The producer Milenko Vujošević’s international art pop project fuses modern music trends of two big cities – Belgrade and Toronto – in a very stylistically refined way. Redefining the postulates of electro pop, he successfully creates his authentic and unique vision of the genre, with a strong bass base, striking synthesizer sound and dominant voice.

Ensh has been taking the audiences of North America and Europe on a strangely unsettling journey for years, touring constantly with the guitarist and pianist Kosta Jovanović. His debut album, Belgrade, released in 2013, is a collection of neurotic tracks of changeable dynamics, which speak about returning to his birth city, Belgrade, from faraway Canada. The second album, Both of Them Milenko, released in 2015, brings a musical expression of different quality, with a stronger focus on the rhythm and essence, and features songs in both English and Serbian. He has announced his next album with the singles “Krokodili dolaze” (an homage to the band Električni orgazam) and “Krtice”, which, having the elements of rock and roll, are introducing a new quality into his recognizable style. Ensh is an attraction which must be experienced both visually and through listening, but also through energy packed experimental live performances.

Trance‘n’Dance (Almelo/Netherlands)

This acoustic vocal-instrumental duo with cajon and didgeridoo strives, first and foremost, to make the audiences in the street dance wildly and spontaneously, so they like to present themselves as a “live dance act”. Actually, their performances are very creative and imaginative improvisations based on the mixture of the most contemporary music genres, such as deep house, psy trance, techno and drum ‘n’ bass, with the elements of funk, soul, etc.

Singer Zoe, who also plays didgeridoo, says that they actually sound like Moby and The Prodigy playing the 80s and 90s songs from their mothers’ secret collections. However, joking aside, didgeridoo, a long Aboriginal wind instrument, is a serious instrument whose vibrations are often used by contemporary producers for the purpose of conveying mystical experience of dance potential. Trance ‘n’ Dance aim for a similar effect, but their approach to music is completely organic, free of computers and any kinds of electronics. “We live and breathe music, which has been beating in the rhythm of our bloodstreams since the dawn of time – says Zoe, inviting us to come to see their performance in Gradić.

Akshani Project (Austria/Serbia)

This unusual band, whose members divide their time between two countries, is characterized by the symbiosis of acoustic and electric instruments, guitar, contrabass, drums and accordion, and compositions written in a light jazzy manner, freed from the strict frames of the genre. Their great dynamic range and a lot of improvisations make their gigs a unique experience and a true opportunity for unusual dancing, which is what their music is really about.

The Akshani Project was formed in 2012, in Novi Sad, first as a trio made up of the guitarist Vukašin Mišković, the contrabassist Fedor Ruškuc, and the drummer Ištvan Čik, but they were soon joined by the accordionist Lazar Novkov. These very experienced and renowned musicians quickly went on to record the studio album Global Dances and One Song, with every track devoted to a type of dance, tango, maraba, funk, drum ‘n’ bass, waltz, etc., except the song “Moscow”, which is in slow 6/8 time.  The bandleader Vukašin Mišković received classical music education in his birth town, Novi Sad, and then continued his studies at the renowned Academy in Gratz; today, he teaches guitar at a music school in Klagenfurt. In the meantime, he has collaborated with many important jazz and world music musicians, such as Boris Kovač and Darko Rundek. The other members of the band have represented the nucleus of the jazz and world music scene in Novi Sad and beyond.

Mambo Stars (Belgrade/Serbia)

The (un)expected affinity of the people from this part of the world for Latino music has, among other things, resulted in the creation of the very praised band Mambo Stars, whose music has been moving and bending dancers at numerous salsa/Cubano parties throughout the region. Mambo Stars are a living institution of Latino jazz with numerous fans, both among general audiences and among musicians, many of whom aspire to spend at least a part of their careers in this band.

The expansion of the worldwide (and also Balkan) infatuation with the Latino sound started after the release of the films The Mambo Kings (with Antonio Banderas and Armand Assante), and Buena Vista Social Club; the year 1999, when the latter film was released, was also a turning point for Mambo Stars, because it was the year when the band was founded. After the band’s several brilliant performances at parties and in the media, countless similar bands were formed, but Mambo Stars is the one that has remained at the top, remaining irresistibly attractive to the fans of temperamental songs and dances, but also to the top vocalists, such as Lena Kovačević, Ana Sofrenović, Nada Pavlović, and others. The bandleader is the saxophonist Tiki Jakšić, and the lead vocals are two authentic Cubanos, Jose Felix Ceballos and Nidia Moya. The main idea that unites the members of the band and their fans is having good fun, and music critics claim that the Mambo Stars’ concerts are a true remake of happy times from some earlier era, such as the golden 80s. This year, their rhythms will also move the audiences in Gradić.

Toni Pezzanov (Skopje/Macedonia)

Bandoneon is a type of small accordion, but in the hands of this renowned master musician it sounds mesmerizingly powerful. This Macedonian virtuoso, who is well-known across the world, cultivates the sounds of classical music mixed with some elements of jazz and tango, which he has been adding more and more to his repertoire, which has opened new horizons for him and has made him even more recognizable.

Toni started playing the accordion when he was seven, and since then he has regarded it as the only possible vocation for him. He went through all the levels of music education, honing and perfecting his rare talent, and today he is a respectable and esteemed accordion professor. There are no local or national prizes for music that he has not won, and he eagerly shares his knowledge with other artists, with whom he creates new sounds and searches for further challenges. His extraordinary mastery of black and white keys has also taken him to South America, the cradle of tango, where his art now has a new, important base. His performance at Gradić Fest is a part of his big European summer tour.

Irena Žilić (Zagreb/Croatia)

She is so young, but she already has a burgeoning career and has already released two albums – that is the shortest description of this young singer-songwriter from Zagreb, who has emerged from an unexpected wave of similar female authors, a wave that has been present on the scene for a few years now. In spite of the fact that there is a significant number of truly good artists on the female Croatian scene, Irena stands out because of her specific vocal abilities, her style and the unique atmosphere she successfully creates in the studio, on stage and in her video work.

Her debut album Travelling has swiftly obtained both positive reviews and the audience’s attention, while her next album, currently in preparation, is bound to be different since it is being created in the studio using spontaneous arrangements for Irena’s new songs. The strict critics from Zagreb often compare her voice and her work to Norah Jones and Florence and the Machine, although her originality cannot be denied. She has recently released a video for the track “The Moon”, announcing her next album and numerous concerts across Croatia and Europe. In the meantime, Irena is coming to our town, to Gradić Fest, with only her guitar and an accompanying violinist.

Childado (Tuzla/Bosnia and Herzegovina)

If you are afraid to fall you will never succeed – that is the motto of the youngest participant in Gradić Fest’s music program. This young author, who has just recently graduated from grammar school, has courageously stepped onto the music scene, alone with his guitar, in the manner of the most famous singers-songwriters and troubadours, resolute in his intention to make creating music his vocation.

Maid Huremović aka Childado is 18 years old, and he is currently at the crossroads in life, although he already knows which path he wants to choose – for a start, the path leading towards success in the Balkan region. He plays the guitar and sings in his own style, and his voice is unexpectedly hoarse for someone who is too young to have fully experienced the “charms” of nightlife and bars. His music is influenced by Ed Sheeran and John Mayer, and so far he has written several songs, the most notable ones being “Make You Smile” and “Don’t Go”.

Matko Abramić (Zagreb/Croatia)


A poet writing poems on the spot and offering them to passers-by or to a street band playing nearby so that it can immediately arrange it and play it to the pleasure of everyone present – that is the concept of the performance that Croatian writer and journalist Matko Abramić has in mind for this year’s Gradić Fest.

Abramić was born in Čakovac in 1984, and he spent his childhood in Varaždin. He graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, in the Department for Croatian Language and Literature and Bohemistics, and then he completed his apprenticeship for editor in the publishing house “Sandorf”. He writes poems and short stories, some of which have been published in literary journals and magazines “Zarez” and “Vijenac”. He has won the Rektor prize for his collection of poems “ono je samo olujne boje…” from 2007. He has performed with band Voodoo Lizards from Varaždin, and he participated in the music-poetry performance “Bicikliram, improviziram – sjajim u mraku” with band The Mindmills from Varaždin at Dani performansa in 2017.

Nuit Blanche (Šibenik/Croatia)

This acoustic duo originating from a very distinctive region – the coast of Dalmatia – brings us a breath of Mediterranean warmth and spontaneity threaded with fine elements of jazz and Latino ambient. That can be glimpsed from the band’s very name, which literally translated from French means “white nights”, that is to say: “sleepless nights”.

The duo is a result of many years of cooperation and common interests of its two members, whose serious approach captures the attention of the fans of gipsy jazz, bossa nova, tango, and lounge music based on the Dalmatian and Mediterranean sound. Guitarist Frane Pleadin has recently moved from Šibenik, his birth town, to Rijeka, which offers more business opportunities, while Jelena Matušan works as a school teacher and also sings in a klapa group named Kamelija. Their performance is characterized by the freshness typical for short and sleepless nights spent somewhere at the Adriatic coast.

Patrick Walker Trio (Zagreb/Croatia)

A true great of the British folk scene and two excellent connoisseurs of traditional Balkan music form a trio that offers an excellent performance fusing Anglo-Saxon and Celtic folk heritage. Irish, Scottish and English music, in the form of instrumental dances, love ballads and folk songs, has always received a positive reaction from the audiences in this region, and that is one of the reasons why these excellent musicians’ performance at Gradić Fest should not be missed.

Violinist Patrick Walker is a doyen of folk and country music from Britain, but he divides his time between Sheffield, his birth town, and Zagreb, his other place of residence. He has been a member of numerous bands, which has enabled him to perform across the world and has earned him envious reputation in the musical circles of the genre and related genres. The other two members of the trio are somewhat younger: guitarist Hrvoje Sudar, a specialist for Croatian, Macedonian and Bosnian ethno music, which he uses to experiment with sound and various string instruments; and Ivan Bilić, a virtuoso on traditional wind instruments, such as flute, who has, throughout his career, been a member of numerous bands devoted to Irish folk or similar folk sound. The trio’s current lineup has already performed at many festivals and clubs across Europe.

Bitipatibi (Belgrade/Serbia)

With the seductive voice of Una Gašić, intensely warm ambience they create, and a heap of songs about love, the new leading name wannabe of the regional alternative scene truly threatens to become that. Mesmerizing eroticized atmosphere with a dose of suspense and hidden danger is an excellent starting point for this dream-pop band with the strong fan base in the majority of regional centers, including Novi Sad.

Shoe-gazing or space rock are terms that describe a specific genre of slow, heavy, almost ambient rock music which charms us with its simplicity, depth and strength of the textual message, something reminiscent of Stereolab or Mazzy Star. Bitipatibi are true masters of this genre, with extremely honest approach to writing, under the leadership of the frontwoman, who takes the position of a person who sees the world through love and creates relationships about which she sings from the depths of her soul – no matter the cost. The quality they emit, be it in studio or at live gigs, easily finds its way to numerous enthusiasts for this kind of music. Besides releasing two studio albums Lešnici divlji and Lešnici divlji 2, they have, among other things, also given their contribution to a compilation of regional alter scene music Bistro na putu do šume, vol 2.

Jazzmo (Kruševac/Serbia)

The “Jazz manouche” movement is very strong in the Balkans, so it is not surprising that the epicenter of Šumadija region has its representatives of Django Reinhardt’s school too. “Jazz manouche” (from the French word “manouche” – “gipsy”) is also called gipsy swing, and it represents true bar music of a bygone era in romantic Paris, but it is still cultivated across the world with great care and devotion.

This band from Kruševac has played “jazz manouche” for ten years. The permanent members are Nenad and Nikola Milošević (guitar and contrabass), who are currently joined by Vukašin Simić on accordion, and Stevan Rakonjac on rhythm guitar. Besides performing the standards of the genre, they also perform their own compositions, some of which have already been recorded on their debut album With My Violin. They have given numerous local and regional performances, but they are especially proud of their two performances at Nišvil Fest, in 2010 and 2016. This will be their first performance in Novi Sad/Petrovaradin.

Jasna Jovićević (Subotica/Serbia)

Saxophone, bass clarinet and flute are her primary instruments, and space drum (see the picture) is her secret passion; she is married to music and sound, and yoga is a part of her everyday life. Besides being an artist renowned in the region, Europe and America, she is also an educator/lecturer, but no matter what she does she always does it with excellence.

Jasna is from Subotica; she graduated from the famous Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest and obtained a master’s degree at York University in Toronto. Her subsequent studies took her to the USA, Brazil, Austria, Spain and Italy. She has performed with eminent musicians from across the world, as well as with the regional stars (Vasil Hadžimanov, Bisera Veletanlić, Rambo Amadeus, etc.) and has won prizes at numerous festivals of jazz and ethno music, which are two genres that represent a wider domain of her music research and creative work. This unusual and interesting musician’s rich discography includes, among other things, her solo album Zvuk ptica, and album Live, a cooperation with the female, regional Big band, formed at her initiative. She works as a professor at the Vocational School in Subotica, where she also runs her yoga center Iskra joga. Her performance at Gradić Fest is an ideal opportunity for ambient enjoyment and audio experience completely different from the usual everyday sounds that surround us.

Sergio Lounge (Belgrade/Serbia)

This extremely interesting and creative artist has brought a lot of new and beautiful things to the regional scene, first and foremost due to his music style and original way of using technology. His primary instrument is a computer keyboard with multicolored keys, which he uses as a synthesizer, among other things.

Sergio Lounge is the stage name of Srđan Popov, a versatile and talented musician who fuses romanticism and style of some past music eras with contemporary approach to making and producing music. He is currently known as – a keyboardist, but he also skillfully plays the guitar, bass guitar, contrabass and flute, and sings like a nightingale. He came up with his innovative instrument while searching for a perfect keyboard that would go well with his personality. He cultivates the music heritage of the golden 60s and 80s, through a contemporary approach to lounge music, disco, Italo disco, schlager music and experimental music. He is very often compared to the Swiss duo Yellow and DJ Todd Terry, particularly because of his playful rhythms and sounds reminiscent of the sounds of computer games and video game consoles. He is currently performing with the support of a bass guitar and an electronic drum set.

Buč Kesidi (Pančevo/Serbia)

This new and interesting neo-pop project is a young band from the “other” side of the river Danube that charmingly flirts with the past decades in a fresh, postmodern way. As soon as you look at them, you can see that all the necessary elements are there: the suits and the ties, lively performances without too many solos, occasional harmonies and guitar sound in the 50s manner, with some modern poetic introspection on the topic of urban paranoia – more than enough to fully capture the audience’s attention and to ensure a rising career.

The three southpaws from Pančevo see rock and roll as an ideal means for the artistic expression, fun, protest and escape into the world of utopia and imagination. Since their debut EP Španska serija and the album Posesivno-opsesivni hospul, released in 2016, the audiences’ and critics’ interest in their work has been progressively growing, additionally incited by their frequent, energetic performances at clubs and at festivals such as Exit, Arsenal, Lake and Berlin Music Festival, or as supporting acts for the leading alternative acts such as Stuttgart Online and Artan Lili. Now is the time to also hear the band’s newest hit, the energetic, neo-rockabilly pop single “Draga”.

Vuk Vujačić (Belgrade/Serbia)

This master’s magical technique on six guitar strings turns this apparently simple instrument into a symphonic orchestra that completely fills the concert space with sound. It is the tapping guitar technique with delay and reverb effects, called voluminous guitar, which this artist from the Serbian capital demonstrates in a skillful manner.

This humble and unimposing artist has done just a few open air concerts in Knez Mihajlova Street and on the promenades of the Montenegrin riviera, which more than once ended in arguments with the keepers of public order. However, when he first heard London busker guitarist Paul Sebastian live, everything changed – since then he has been trying to reproduce the sound he enjoyed during that quarter of an hour of pure magic. He has done a lot in his career since then – he has been Branko Bockica, played with the bands Gnjile and Dve i po plavuše, performed at festivals and clubs – every time sharing a part of his magic with the audience. The time has come for him to present us his 12 pearls, which are the summary of his explorations. Although he says that he is rather a room musician than a street musician, this humble virtuoso actually deserves to perform at Carnegie Hall, and until such an opportunity, which will surely come, the “only” ones who will enjoy the ambient magic of his spellbinding notes are the audience members at Gradić Fest.

Nenad Đukić (Novi Sad/Serbia)

This balloon artist, locally known as Mister Twister, uses inflated plastic to create unique and unusual sculptures and very lively installations, some of which he will share with the visitors to this year’s Gradić Fest. He found the inspiration for his work in a chance meeting with the world-renowned balloon maestro Sean Rooney in Novi Sad at the Street Musicians Festival in 2010, and now he will have the pleasure of sharing a part of his art with him.

Besides doing solo performances during the festival, the two artists will also play an important part in the festival’s opening parade, when they will manipulate five huge sculptures made of balloons. Nenad is a graduated sociologist and a punk musician, and in his free time he plays the bass. He has gained experience in the creation of balloon sculptures at various workshops and seminars, but most of all in practice, at festivals, on streets and squares of the cities in the region and beyond. He especially enjoys the fact that his work brings joy to children, and he is currently busy developing his skills in creating faces and grimaces from – balloons.

Bojana Vunturišević (Belgrade/Serbia)

Bojana Vunturišević, a new/old face, the ex-vocal of the band Svi na pod, has recently started performing as a solo artist, and as such has already gained a rather enviable reputation. This courageous young woman, who has a recognizable voice and a unique style, continues her career on the (un)certain paths of the regional scene at a somewhat slower tempo, but with more studious approach to poetry writing.

She has matured since her post-teenage days in the band whose member she was in her twenties. Bojana devotes herself to the so-called female topics, which she considers from a personal viewpoint, using a very emotional color range and plenty of notions which refer to frustrations of modern life in a big city. Regarding her music and genre, she describes herself with one word –pop, although remaining faithful to trip hop/dance elements and solid guitar riffs which are also present on the two studio albums released by the band Svi na pod. The song dedicated to Amy Winehouse on her recently released album Daljine inevitably indicates a dose of influence of the late singer, which can be sensed in the tenderness and strength of Bojana’s vocal. The current single “Kese etikete” is a true illustration of the big potential of the rising heroine of the newest wave in Serbian pop culture.

Sanda and Shoica (Beorgad/Serbia)

This acoustic guitar and percussions duo was founded out of pure love, which it is striving to share with the world in an attempt to make it a better place for the future generations. Their easily likeable two vocal performance full of warmth, tenderness and romance draws from the musical heritage typical for this region, enriched by logical and unimposing use of Latino rhythms.

Sanda and Shoica duo was formed in 2013; their debut performance took place at Sava centar, where they were invited to appear as special guests at a big concert of Vlada and Bajka (Sanda’s father). Sanda is also an actress, and has acted in theatre plays by Duško Kovačević at Zvezdara Theatre, Kontejner sa pet zvezdica (Five Star Dumpster) and Rođendan gospodina Nušića (Mr. Nušić’s Birthday), as well as at Maximus Arts Children’s Theatre, and she has performed with the band Lilihip lolipop. Shoica is a percussionist and a percussion instruments maker, who has spent last two decades working in bands like Amaro Del and Kal (over 200 performances, including an American tour) and in the Flamencoraneo Company dance troupe. They are currently preparing their first album, which has been announced by their successful single “Diši” (“Breathe”).

Skijaš i Jeti (Belgrade/Serbia)


The scenic effect of the performance of this supersonic duo from the artistic underground of the Serbian capital can best be described as a wild avalanche that irreversibly sweeps away everything it comes across. A polar drum and a basski – a bass guitar made from a ski – are the only tools that these two costumed virtuosos use during their suspenseful super giant slalom through funk, drum ‘n’ bass, low rock and similar genres, and more…

Jeti’s mini drum set is sufficient for an unmatched groove, while Skijaš efficiently wields his distorted basski with only two strings (à la Morphine), using the slide technique and sometimes a bow. Skijaš and Jeti (Skier and Yeti) require very undemanding conditions for their performance, only a few square meters and electricity, and in return they offer a show enriched with impromptu improvisations inspired by the ambient and the audience. Judging from everything, this fall Gradić will experience another memorable authentic street spectacle.

On Tour (Belgrade/Serbia)

This trio from Belgrade, the leading local Americana representative, seduces the audience with the evocations of dusty roads, agitated rapids and narrow canyons, through which a lonely rider on the prairie arrives at some notorious saloon to get a refreshment, because – what else is there to do in that remote region? With music enriched by European and some local cultural ingredients, On Tour follows the steps of Townes Van Zandt, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and other famous greats of the American cosmic music.

There where honesty conquers virtuosity begins the journey of Vladimir (Ventolin), Ivana (Ika) and Marko (Mothership Orchestra), with their recognizable vocals and instrumentals, and lyrics that go straight to the core of stories about love or unusual destinies. Six years on the road from one smoky place to another and innumerable concerts given across several countries have been shaped into two albums, and some of their unique warmth will also embellish one of the evenings in our romantic Gradić.

Ivan Jegdić (Belgrade/Serbia)

Youth, music talent and poetically gifted soul characterize this poet-singer, who is arriving alone to Gradić directly from his temporary/permanent work place – the pavements of Belgrade. This honest nineteen-year old devoted to art has chosen to do the only thing he currently wants to do – to be an authentic street musician.

Nevertheless, many people first heard of him via TV show Ja imam talenat (I’ve Got Talent), where he reached the semifinal, although judging from the jury’s reactions to his emotional interpretation many saw him as the winner. And that is exactly how his second bigger public performance ended, at the Talkinfest Talent, but even that did not help him to record an album and enter at least local top-charts. However, there is no doubt that this moment is getting very close, and his performance at Gradić Fest will be of importance to him in that regard. He sees his art both as dark and positive, and looks up to the great poets of various literary eras, and his music idols, who belong to various genres, ranging from oriental music to rock, rap and RnB.

Herz (Belgrade/Serbia)

Groovy rhythms and playful guitars of the band Herz, who are following in the footsteps of the famous 80s bands from Manchester (The Smiths, Happy Mondays, etc.), represent a true refreshment on the local pop scene. Herz members, who come from Belgrade, are heading fast towards true popularity and have already made some important accomplishments.

As soon as they appeared in the public eye with several interesting singles accompanied by video works, they swiftly climbed to the top of the relevant local top-charts, Jelentop 10, Videodrom and Diskodrom. The four songs released on a maxi single for “Lampshade Media”, together with the rest of the prepared material, served as a springboard for several successful gigs at Belgrade clubs. Live performance is what attracts them the most, first and foremost because of the energy exchange with the audience, so they see Gradić Fest as the ideal next big step in their career.

Do Re Mi (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The members of the band Do Re Mi are teenagers, between 13 and 16 years old, who are attending the “Do Re Mi” Association’s music school, which teaches its pupils basic music skills and knowledge through mindfully created programs. The 10th anniversary of the school’s existence will be marked by the band’s performance at Gradić Fest, where the band members will demonstrate their almost professional skills on the rock stage.

The Association “Do Re Mi” works with different age groups, but its teenage band is specific because its members have practically grown up together, learning and developing as a true, compact music band, among whose members there is great closeness and understanding. That is why they are so in sync on stage, and they also successfully communicate with the audience. They have been present on the music scene for just one year, but they have already done numerous concerts, and they have recorded a few songs of their own, one of which, “Grad koji volim” (“A City That I Love”), has been acknowledged as the unofficial anthem of Novi Sad. The band consists of two vocals, drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, electric violin, electric tamburica and keyboards. The band’s performance will be the first act on the stage in Beogradska Street on the last day of the festival, on Sunday, at 5 p.m.

Vilin konjic (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The Forest Fairy is organizing a competition in order to select musicians for the Forest Orchestra, which will hold a big concert in the forest. Many animals have applied for the audition, including the Bear, the Elephant, the Bumblebee and the Singing Bird. Which candidates will pass the audition and play at the concert together with the actors of the “Vilin konjic” Theatre is what the visitors to Gradić Fest will exclusively find out.

Since 1999, the travelling theatre “Vilin konjic” has been actively participating in preservation and protection of culture and art through various activities, striving to develop different cultural and artistic contents with the emphasis on theatre art and education. The theatre has created 25 theatre plays and has done over 900 performances, and it has also created TV show “Sanko Pospanko i drugari” (“Sleepy Head and Friends”), which was shown on the TV Channel Panonija. They will perform their theatre play “Šumski orkestar” (“Forest Orchestra”) at Gradić Fest, on Saturday 2nd September, on the stage in Beogradska Street.

Street Dancers of Novi Sad (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The concept that the Street Dancers of Novi Sad will present at this year’s Gradić Fest is an unusual street dance performance according to the principles of modern theatre of movement, in which music has the role of just an accompanying element. The focus of the twenty-member dance troupe will be acting, which will be accompanied by a mix of soft music in the background.

The members of the troupe are dancers from a few different dance associations from Novi Sad and Belgrade, such as Groove and Urban Dance Studio, whose cooperation started with a dance education project by French dancer Sabrie from “Kafiq” dance troupe, which was organized by the French Institute in Serbia, with centers in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš. In order to share what they have learned, the dancers have come up with a performance called “8”, within which they intend to portray the 8 basic human emotions. Their performance will take place after the opening ceremony of Gradić Fest, on Friday 1st September, at 11: 30 p.m., at the festival’s spot in Beogradska Street.

Eudven School for Musicals (Belgrade/Serbia)

This project for education and entertainment is bringing popular show tunes to the Lower Town, from musicals such as Cabaret, Chicago, La La Land, The Great Gatsby and Burlesque, to only name the few. The performances of this little school for big roles are fundamentally aligned with the principles of Gradić Fest – their acts are best communicated when performed in the interaction with the audience – which is one of the basic principles of this festival of street art.

Eudven School for Musicals offers their students absolute passion and love for musicals and cabarets, which are specific theatrical genres that combine singing, acting and dance. Thus, in the first place, teachers of different theatrical disciplines work on their students’ personal growth, striving to get across their experience concerning the concept of musical, stage presence and self-confidence. Besides giving regular annual concerts, the school has performed at various music festivals and at festivals oriented towards entertainment, such as Be Ge Ve Ge, Dečji sajam (Children’s Fair), inclusive Dečje igre bez granica (Children’s Games Without Limits) and Red Shoes. Besides well-known show tunes from popular films and theatre plays, Eudven offers its own work Eudven Music Show, which foretells its future accomplishments in the creative field.

Hornsman Coyote (Belgrade/Serbia)

Reggae music and Rasta ideology have always felt close to the lovers of music and music-related things in this part of the world. So Hornsman Coyote is an institution that doesn’t need a special introduction. Nevertheless…

For the younger generations, it would be worth mentioning that Nemanja Kojić is one of the most consistent musicians of the local scene; since his beginnings on the scene to this day he has been devoted to the dreadlock mythology and slow, rolling rhythms of Jamaica. He is a skilled musician who plays numerous instruments and has performed and recorded music with bands like Del Arno Band and Sunshine, while releasing as much as 7 studio albums of crossover reggae and hard core with his band Eyesburn. He came somewhat closer to the original sound with the band Soulcraft, and is currently busy with preparations for his new band Remedy. He will be one of the leading stars in Gradić, and he is coming with the accompanying sound system with whom he has been performing for 11 years.

Izmena vremena & Ivan Čkonjević (Novi Sad/Serbia)

This unusual duo of authentic city poets and singers-songwriters embodies a customary troubadour story with ukulele, mandolin and guitar, and elegiac verses full of wandering, introspection and melancholy. The joint rich careers of the two artists are likely to grow into something big, and Gradić Fest is a true opportunity for a step into wider spheres of recognizability.

Izmena vremena aka Nikola Nešković (Novi odmetnici, Pesnici dodira) has been creating his own work for a full decade, evoking country, folk and blues ghosts of the greats like Dylan, Young and Cash. With his music and poetry he takes the listener on a long, sentimental, metaphysical journey, and since recently he has been doing that with the help of Ivan Čkonjević (Ana Never, Belgrade Noise Society, Jesenji orkestar), a multi-instrumentalist who is currently focused on string instruments of mostly smaller size. The individual discographies of these two excellent representatives of the urban underground, which have so far been joined only in the EP Ruku u ruku u ruku, promise to soon be joined again in a new, evening-long audio release.

Olivera Popović (Novi Sad/Serbia)

This (neo)classic rock figure with a strong right hand that mightily wields a Stratocaster and a powerful vocal made for concert arenas is actually a tender young woman who finds the inspiration for her lyrics in her inner world and the world around her. Olivera’s music is made up of raw guitar riffs and melodic tunes, which is something that sets her apart from most of her fellow singers-songwriters, who mainly practice pure acoustic music.

The background of this interesting musician’s career are band gigs, but after almost a decade of that kind of experience she chose to pursue a solo career, which she has successfully managed. Her music has taken her to numerous regional festivals for original music (Kantfest, S.O. S., Demofest, Exit, etc.), but she equally values her gigs at clubs. She will present her current repertoire, which will likely be released on her next album, at Gradić Fest, at the beginning of September.

Vanja and Saša (Novi Sad/Serbia)


This acoustic duo created by two authentic underground musicians from Novi Sad is bringing to Gradić the echo of troubadours which warms the heart and ignites the imagination. Although it doesn’t always seem so, Vanja and Saša actually always sing about love, and love the rain, but their social engagement goes beyond the frames of “common” love poetics.

The guitar sound of Petar Dabić (Cartoon, Robotovo gnezdo, Grecki) and the voice of Boris Malinović (Treći čin, Emanuil, Voda nad vodama) are already well-known to the local fans of this sort of unconventional art, and the duo won the first prize at this year’s Takt Fest in Novi Sad, an original compositions festival. Their work can be found here:

Nađa Vračarić (Novi Sad/Serbia)

Her warm urban Americana, her dreamy voice and mellow guitar are the reasons why this very young and promising singer-songwriter is swiftly gaining a wide space for her future activities. The epicenter of the heart of the Vojvodinian plain, somewhere on the hot boulevards of Novi Sad, is made for her intellectual contemplations and more than solid guitar passages, in which it is easy to recognize a life completely devoted to music and art.

Her indie art rock, influenced by St. Vincent, Arcade Fire and The Beatles, is not going to make her rich, but the true fans of good sound and interesting, engaged lyrics will always feel intrigued as soon as Nađa’s pick starts touching the electrified strings of her guitar. She has been in the music world since her early days; after receiving the classical piano and guitar education she played in several school bands, but then went on to do and accomplish things on her own, because, as it can be seen, she obtains the best results – alone. The proof of that is her debut EP Venus in Gemini, which she humbly calls – a demo.

Dojo (Novi Sad/Serbia)

How to beat your fears, fight depression, accept your diagnosis and live your life according to your own rules, and at any cost – that is the topic of an imaginary film put into psychedelic music of Dojo, a rising heroine from Novi Sad. The work of Dunja Dačić, a versatile artist, and her supporting team is a highly stylized and rounded story that has a lot of promise; it is influenced by the music of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kate Bush, Thom Yorke and PJ Harvey, and the visual esthetics of Hayao Miyazaki and David Lynch, among others.

Dojo is a relatively recent project, but it was not until two years after the first performance in public that it gave its first palpable results, first in the form of the EP Endings, and more recently in the form of the studio album Solstice. Dunja went mostly alone through the difficult and exciting process of writing, recording, mixing and mastering, finding inspiration in the shadowy parts of her neighborhood, mostly at night, when, as she says, the best solutions for the arrangements came to her. She sees her mission in invoking of light and hope within herself and towards herself, with the intention of metaphorically rendering the constant struggle which takes place in every rational being. It seems that the mystical aura of this project will best be dispersed by video works which speak more than thousand words. That is why Dojo’s performance on the pavements of Gradić Fest should not be missed.

Morali (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The visitors to this year’s Gradić Fest will have the opportunity to see street art performance Morali on Trg Vladike Nikolaja Square, where the audience will watch two artists from Novi Sad, Jovan Obradović Špira and Aleksandar Bunčić, create their works of art. This street art event is inspired by the art of drawing and painting on walls and by the eternal link between walls and colors.

This street performance’s concept treats house facades on the square as scenography and background for the spectacle, accentuating their current state of renovation, and making the spectators think about duration, preservation and the attitude towards the architectural heritage. Jovan Špira Obradović is a multimedia artist from Novi Sad, where he works as a free-lance designer and musician. The domain of his work includes typography, web design, graffiti and street art, music and music production, spoken word and videos… Aleksandar Bunčić graduated from the Academy of Art in Novi Sad, in the Department for Sculpture, and he did his master studies in the Department for Drawing. He is a member of SULUV (The Federation of Associations of Artists of Vojvodina) and ULUS (The Association of Visual Artists of Serbia), and he has been doing street art and graffiti for years.

Lisa Pellegrini (Parma/Italy)

Indian traditional dance Kathak represents a 2000 year-old legend about the travelling singers-poets who used song and dance to pass down stories, morals and mythology of old texts through generations. In The Middle Ages, it evolved into theatre art with rich costumes and jewelry, and one of the key representatives of this dance is arriving again at Gradić Fest.

Lisa Pellegrini studied Indian philosophy, yoga and meditation in Italy and Africa, then classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam, and during her first travel to India she discovered Kathak dance. Since then she has performed at various festivals and taught Indian dance courses all over the world. The expressive aspect of Kathak, which combines energetic foot movements and pirouettes with hand gestures, retells Indian epics through gestures and facial expressions, while the dancer’s ankles are adorned with small metallic bells (Ghungroos), which are considered as a part of the dancer’s body, and whose sound serves to accentuate the rhythmic aspects of the dance and allow complex footwork to be heard by the audience.

Rodrigo Guzmán Cázares (Mexico City/Mexico)

This digital and visual artist, born in one of the biggest cities of the world, finds his inspiration in the midst of hectic traffic and throngs of people, in the lifestyle of people living in megalopolises. He is inspired by architecture, street art and digital aesthetics, and focused on the revision of modern life and perception, and he is coming to Gradić Fest with his project “Pictures on Walls-Nowhere”

The birth house of Ban Jelačić, in 10 Beogradska Street in the Lower Town, was restored in 2010, but even after the restoration, a bigger part of its ground floor hasn’t come to life or reached its full potential. During the last five years, the enthusiastic members of the Association Scenatoria, inspired by the architecture of this space, have collaborated with other artists and organizations and have organized various programs and happenings in order to draw attention to the value and significance of this building. The most beautiful baroque building of Gradić, at the foot of the Petrovaradin Fortress, will be a screen onto which Rodrigo Guzmán Cázares will project his works. The layers of history will thus become a space for the ambient play of light of visual animations, and the video projections will enliven the interior of the house by drawing attention to details which paint a bigger picture.

Petting Blues Band (Novi Sad/Serbia)

Blues is not only emotions but also energy, and that is what this local blues band is striving to prove, a band equally devoted to the standards of the genre and its own creative work. These proud owners of a debut album, which was, in the spirit of tradition, recorded live, are up for anything in order to show that this traditional form of music has also to do with modern times, and very much so.

The beginnings of the band date from 2008, when the central member Jimmy, a fire starter on the guitar, gathered the initial members and started performing at clubs. Tribute projects to Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton’s band Cream followed, but the band very soon turned to making its own compositions. Such a healthy approach to the matter gave rise to a solid career, which has culminated with the gig at the renowned Sudio M club in Novi Sad, which was recorded on the only album these promising musicians have released so far.

Luke Black (Belgrade/Serbia)

It is extremely rare for a pop performer from this part of the world to be internationally known, but when you meet Luka Ivanović aka Luke Black, you can easily understand why that doesn’t apply to him. This young millennial (23) is a songwriter, producer, singer and musician whose fame is spreading like ripples on a water surface after a pebble has been thrown into it, from his Belgrade base across Germany and Spain, all the way to China, where, we are told, he is likely to reach the popularity of Bata (Walter) Živojinović and Novak Đoković.

Luke is a true representative of his generation, which doesn’t tolerate the pressure of the public, time and place where it creates. So, in a desire to challenge the typical image that people around the world have of a Balkan person, he has formed his artistic-creative tribe Neoslavic with the likeminded people of Balkan-Slavic origin from various meridians who respect their roots, but also strive to be modern and open, simply put – updated. His music, which is climbing the local, regional and international top-charts at the speed of light, is a (non)typical neo-pop matrix in an electronic disguise, with interesting lyrics which speak of the world and the everyday life, of the environment, the issues of his generation and, of course, love.

Since his first hit-single “D-Generation” until his current single “Walpurgis Night”, Luke has been attracting the attention of the most prominent local remix masters, he is rarely off the radio-waves from here to the USA, and gigs abroad are almost an everyday thing for him. After the performance at Alternative Fashion Week in Berlin, he has made the most vivid memories in clubs of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. After all this, is it so strange that he is the only performer from this part of Europe who has been presented through Instagram’s global project @music alongside the greats such as 50 Cent, Miley Cyrus and Foo Fighters. That’s why Gradić Fest is an ideal opportunity to go and check out his true potentials.

Green Onions Blues Band (Novi Sad/Serbia)

With the motto “If you want something done well, do it yourself”, harmonicist Šanji Boy Williamson (Pastor Šandor) has decided to make a final step after numerous adventures on the local scene – to form a band with his sons Geri and Tomi Pastor Kiči. Green Onions is a family creation, in which the roles are clearly defined, as well as the final goal – spreading love towards blues.

The repertoire of the band is based on the original music of the American black people: spirituals, work songs and folk blues, with the due respect for the greatest musicians of the genre: Cash, King and Clapton. It is all, actually, a continuance of a many decade long story of the oldest Pastor, who, as a self-taught guitarist, harmonicist and singer, honed his skills in different bands, such as Blueshalter, Blueberries or his own band Blueseum, but also while performing as a one-man show. This hard-working enthusiast finally has the chance to play according to “his own notes”, with the eager help of his heirs, the older one, Geri, as the flutist, and the younger one, Tomi, as the guitarist who shows excellent skill and a lot of promise.

Foolosophy Entertainment (Novi Sad/Serbia)

This artistic troupe, whose performances are based on the elements of street theatre, skillfully and with a lot of flexibility and professionalism performs very diverse acts from different disciplines such as juggling, pantomime, stilt walking, live statues, face painting and dancing with fire. These artists, whose design and costumes are exquisitely detailed, unfailingly offer their audiences a complete and perfect enjoyment.

The Foolosophy Troupe was founded by young artists Nemanja Mirić from Novi Sad and Sofija Jorga Mirić from Romania. They have performed their numerous creative, imaginative and sometimes very demanding acts at many international festivals and happenings of the same sort.

The Soundbeam Dobri ljudi Orchestra (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The Soundbeam Dobri ljudi Orchestra, named after a music device based on sensor technology, is striving to improve the sensibility of the community towards people with special needs, as a part of the Soundbeam music workshop. Since 2013, the orchestra members – young people with physical disabilities or developmental difficulties – have been actively participating, each according to their ability, in the creation and performances of different sorts of music material, mostly their own blues and jazz improvisations or ambient instrumentals.

The devoted work of Žarko Sebić and Renata Kolar has resulted in accomplishments in both artistic and social domain, one of which being the soundtrack for the film “If I could choose…”, a documentary about a girl with cerebral paralysis, which has been shown at festivals in Serbia, Ukraine and Canada. In the meantime, the orchestra performed at Novi Sad Jazz Festival in collaboration with Boris Hložan trio, and the crowning accomplishment is that the projects of the Soundbeam workshop have been included in the Novi Sad’s application for the European Capital of Culture 2021, and have been praised as very promising. For their performance at Gradić Fest, the Soundbeam Dobri ljudi Orchestra is preparing collaborations with several eminent musicians from Novi Sad.

Voda nad vodama (Novi Sad/Serbia)

Although the members of this underground project follow a principle of punk ideology – what matters is the attitude and not the experience – they cannot be labelled as punk rockers. Their concerts are very intense indeed, but there are also dominant minor scale passages, simplified rhythms and vocal harmonies, and they emit an enormous quantity of energy in the spirit of the slogan “rock and roll is not dead”.

The band was formed in 2006 as a standard rock and roll lineup, but it has evolved into a more unusual lineup with two bass guitars, creating work influenced by New Order, Thin White Rope and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. The proof that it all works are wild reactions of the audiences at their numerous concerts at clubs in Novi Sad and Belgrade, and at Gitarijada Fest in Zaječar. Their debut album Pre Amerike was released in 2012 by the Croatian online record label Brlog Records. They are currently preparing something completely fresh and new, guided by the ideas embodied in the following statement: “Voda nad vodama is trying to express what crosses a man’s mind when he realizes that it is too late and that the sky will soon fall on his head.” The Apocalypse? Why not.

Dobrica Milutinović Theatre (Sremska Mitrovica/Serbia)

Since the theatre’s first postwar performance in 1944, when Sremska Mitrovica was liberated, Dobrica Milutinović Theatre, previously known as the City Theatre, has been the only professional theatre in the Srem district. Besides offering the standard repertoire, oriented towards people of all ages, this theatre has been involved in various kinds of educational work with amateurs.

The current hit plays on the repertoire are Ožalošćena porodica (The Bereaved Family), Jedna sasvim obična bajka (An Entirely Ordinary Fairytale), Cinderella, as well as Kraljević Marko i zlatna tambura (Prince Marko and a Golden Tambura), which they will perform at Gradić Fest in September. This interesting play, featuring three actors, Marko Vukićević, Goran Vučanović and Nikola Stanković, is based on the enriched motifs of narrative folk poetry. The director Stefan Tajbl puts the main character, an epic character well-known to everybody, in a series of situations that are familiar to us, but strange to him, and uses unusual costumes and stage props to create an entirely new fairytale.

Pozorište Promena

A group of young actors has decided to join forces on the mission of bringing the culture of improvised theatre to Serbia. Like the greatest creators of stage art, they create impromptu scenes, characters, songs… in one word – art, and their talent makes the audience weep with joy.

The professional student theatre called Pozorište Promena (The Theatre of Changes) has existed since 1978, and its current members are ex-students and current students of the Academy of Art in Novi Sad. The main idea that drives these young artists to create is that there should be a different, alternative, more dynamic and more diverse theatre scene. What distinguishes them from other theater companies are their performances of new or rarely performed dramas, and the fact that they perform them outside theatre walls. This September, they will treat the audience at Gradić Fest to a comical improvisation on the play Talente Grande y tu Madre.

Krilat i beo (Belgrade/Serbia)

This band with many members comes from the capital of Serbia and opts for acoustic pop rock with the influence of punk, progressive and authentic folk music. The band has gained a lot of experience performing on boulevards, promenades and squares in many cities from here to the Adriatic Sea, shaping it into songs inspired by life experience, travels, everyday life and social criticism. It is art, isn’t it?

The idea for the band was born in the summer of 2012, somewhere in Istra, where the original lineup of the band was performing under the name Pantagani, which means “rats” in Istrian dialect, because, as they say, they were hanging about the streets and sleeping on beaches like true civilization’s rodents at the time. This hippy odyssey evolved into a project under the leadership of the frontman Ilija Zipevski. The new, current name of the band (Winged and White) speaks of man’s striving to elevate himself with music and art to the spheres of angels, which is the band’s primary mission. Besides doing music, the members of the band write, paint, act, educate, make instruments, do yoga, mosaics, sound design, computer animation… The band’s lineup for the performance at Gradić Fest will consist of 9 members.

DF Choir (Belgrade/Serbia)

When a children’s choir performs a song for children then it is “just” a children’s choir, but when children sing pop music hits and dance at the same time, then it is – DF Choir. The members of the choir, founded by Bojana Vunturišević, a rising star of this region’s music scene, are children from Belgrade and the choir represents the first dancing choir in this region.

The ex-singer of the band Svi na pod, who is currently busy with her solo career, initiated a unique project made up of “Dance Factory” Dance School and DF Children’s Choir. The choir performs songs, but also, unlike other choirs, does special accompanying dance choreographies, and it has already made a few music videos. The choir’s repertoire is also unusual, because it consists of songs by contemporary pop performers from the region, such as Lolobriđida, Dječaci, Horkestar, Stray Dogg and others. The choir has also successfully cooperated with the band Artan Lili, with which it recorded the song “Nojzična deca”.

Dejan Jankov (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The use of recyclable materials in art is intended to show how something thrown away can be given a new life and a new use through a good idea, making people think about the duration and preservation of, and the attitude towards the monuments of architectural heritage. With that in mind, for this year’s Gradić Fest Scenatoria has prepared project “Triglav”, a monumental sculpture in the making, partly made from recycled plastic waste, and its author is Dejan Jankov.

The basic idea of this project is the creation of a monumental sculpture in public space, which is linked to the performance “Triglav” by group OHO, performed in 1968 in Ljubljana, and later in Novi Sad with the help of group KOD. Unlike the “live” sculpture that these artists made with their bodies, this monumental sculpture will be made from plastic waste. That gesture should evoke and engage memories of groups OHO, KOD, Bosch+Bosch, Januar i februar, and other artists gathered around Tribina mladih from Novi Sad. This monumental sculpture can also be seen in the context of harsh criticism of party bureaucratism, conformism and irreconcilable political views, as well as in the context of the time of Yugoslavian bureaucratic crisis, which culminated with the rise of rigid nationalistic tendencies of the 1990s.

Dejan Jankov was born in 1975, and he did his graduate and master studies at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad. Since 2007 he has been a member of Art klinika (now called Šok zadruga), and he has collaborated  on scenography for a number of theatre plays in SKC Fabrika and Pozorište mladih in Novi Sad. He has participated in various group exhibitions of visual art and he has won the prizes of the Academy of Arts for small format drawing and his work for the Arts Expo in the categories Architecture and Life-size Nudes.

Jazzbuka (Sombor/Serbia)

The project of these jazz musicians from Sombor is a combination of concerts and lectures about jazz in general and about the history of the genre. The central part of the project is the band The Hat Matters’ performance, invariably accompanied by a guest musician – a soloist-instrumentalist, who takes on the role of a lecturer or narrator during breaks.

This practical, entertaining and educational project is oriented most of all towards this region’s younger or less informed jazz enthusiasts, with the aim of introducing the inquisitive ones to the magical world of the genre that greatly marked the global culture of the 20th century and that is still very much alive. The soloist and main lecturer at these performances is invariably renowned in his instrumental field, both locally and beyond, and each lecture differs in the approach, because the soloists speak about the influences that shaped their style of playing. This time, The Hat Matters will be joined by flutist Milena Jančurić, with whom they have already collaborated to both their and the audience’s pleasure.

UV (Novi Sad/Serbia)

The members of this increasingly popular band are the greatest talents of their generation from Novi Sad, who have all it takes to succeed. Youth, knowledge, and experience are their “ace in the hole”, as well as the assumption that people are still thirsty for energetic and complex rock ‘n’ roll gigs.

This trio from Novi Sad is made up of the ex-members of a very promising band Uvertira (which performed at the Street Musicians Festival in 2014), whose members and singer parted due to creative disagreements. The trio has continued to create music at the same pace but in a somewhat different style, closer to the traditional guitar sound, with complex arrangements and multiple vocals. Their debut album is on the way, and the band is currently performing at regional festivals, gaining an increasing number of fans, many of whom are from Novi Sad. If you want to make a safe bet, bet on UV – time is on their side.


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