Arsen Dedić


28 Juli 1958 - 17 august 2015

A native of Šibenik, Arsen Dedić was born to a mixed marriage of a Serbian father and a Croatian mother. In the fifties he moves to Zagreb to study at the Muzičkoj akademiji where he gets his degree in 1964. In Zagreb he meets Gabi Novak for whom he writes the song 'Sandra i Matija' his first hit. Arsen and Gabi would later also marry although both will continue to have seperate careers.

Arsen became a household name in the 1960s, thanks to pop music festivals and his brand of music, which was at first influenced by Dalmatian folklore, but is mostly comparable to the French chanson genre. The succes starst in 1964 when he enters the Split music festival for the first time with the songs 'Kuću pored mora' and 'Moderato cantabile'. But in the sixties Arsen is mostly a songwriter for others. It was not untill 1969 when his debut album 'Čovjek kao ja' is released.

In 1971 his second album follows after which Arsen gets interested in more concept like albums. For Josipa Lisac he writes and assists in a project that wil turn out to be her official debut in 1973. He himself focusses on the project 'Homo Volans' a concept album released in the same year. If they are succesful is unclear. Furtheron in his career Arsen keeps to the more 'normal' records. In 1980 he records he duet album with his wife.

Throughout the decades Dedić became one of the most respected musicians in former SFR Yugoslavia and maintained this reputation to this day. Apart from writing songs, Dedić also writes music for films starting in 1969 with the movie 'Donator'. During the years he wrote the scores for more then 54 movies or tv series. Some of his best scores are compiled on the albums 'Glazba za film i TV' (1989) and 'Kinoteka' (2002). He is also an award-winning and one of the best-selling poets of ex-Yugoslavia. Notable books of poetry include 'Brod u Boci' (Croatia Concert, Zagreb, 1971), 'Hotel Balkan' (Znanje, Zagreb, 1987), '101 Pjesma' (Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1989) and others.

In the summer of 2015 Dedic spent more than two weeks in hospital suffering from an infection that attacked his new placed artificial hip. His condition rapidly deteriorated and his kidneys stopped working. On August 17 he died at the age of 77.

His son Matija Dedić is also a highly respected jazz musician in Croatia.

On the web:

- Arsen's website: www.arsen.hr

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Georges Moustaki (France)

Ramses Shaffy (The Netherlands)

What do we think:

DB: Arsen is one of the artists tipped by a nice hotellier in Trogir when we asked for artists best represting Croatian (pop) music. And indeed, besides being still very popular, Arsen has made some beautiful albums mixing that Mediterranean feel with French chanson and even Italian elements. Although I have a problem with male singers who lay to much vibrato in their voice Arsen delivers his songs with such beautiful arrangements and compositions that it's hard to resist. His seventies work (what we know) is very folk-like, while his eighties work is more nodging towards what we could consider popular singer songwriter.

PR: Arsen Dedić has been a major influence on Croation pop music. Not only is he a very succesful recording artist, he also wrote songs for many important Croatian artists like Josipa Lisac and his own wife, Gaby Novak. His own recordings are not so much typical Croatian, but have a more general Mediterranean feel about them, as DOUBLEBASS already mentioned. The songs are arranged very subtle and Arsen sings them with a dark, intense voice. All in all a very nice discovery and prove that the Croatian pop music scene has more to offer than the songs you hear on the radio over there, giving you the impression that every one of them was supposed to have entered the Eurovision Song Contest...


♪♪♪♪ - Čovjek kao ja - 1969

♪♪ - Homo Volans - 1973

♪♪♪♪ - Provincija - 1984

♪♪♪ - Kino Sloboda - 1987

♪♪♪ - Na zlu putu - 2004

Further listening:

Arsen 2 - 1971; Vraćam se - 1975; Porodično stablo - 1976; Arsenal - 1976; Otisak autora - 1976; Pjesme sa šlagom - 1976; Dedić-Golob - 1977 ; Kuća pored mora (instrumentals) - 1978; Rimska ploča - 1980 ; Pjevam pjesnike - 1980 ; Naručene pjesme - 1980; Gabi i Arsen - 1980 ; Carevo novo ruho - 1981; Arsen pjeva djeci - 1982; Moje popevke - 1986; Arsen & Bora Čorba Unplugged '87 - 1987; Svjedoci priče - 1989; Najbolje od Arsena - 1991; Tihi obrt - 1993; Ko ovo more platit - 1995; Ministarstvo straha - 1997; Herbar - 1999; Pjesma je moj život - 2002; Klapa Maslina - 2003; Imena žena - 2003; Rebus (2008)

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided