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About:

- Milan Mladenović: 21 September 1958 – 5 November 1994
- Margita 'Magi' Stefanović: 1 April 1959 –18 September 2002
- Bojan Pečar: 22 March 1960 - 13 October 1998

Ekatarina Velika (Catherine the Great, also called EKV for short) was a rock group from Belgrade, Serbia. During its existence, EKV built up a devoted following that greatly intensified and expanded after the death of its frontman Milan Mladenović in 1994, which caused the band to dissolve. The group's core consisted of singer and guitarist Milan Mladenović, keyboardist Margita Stefanović and bassist Bojan Pečar.
 
Ekatarina Velika, initially named Katarina II, was formed in February 1982 following the breakup of the band Šarlo akrobata. Katarina II's self-titled debut album finally came out in 1984. The album never gained much main-stream popularity. After the album the group fell apart due to artistic differences. guitarist Gagi Mihajlović claimed rights to the 'Katarina II' name, the remaining members settled on - Ekatarina Velika ('Catherine the Great' after Catherine II of Russia), or EKV for short.

In 1985, EKV released their debut album, 'Ekatarina Velika'. The album is characterized by an energetic sound  and Milan's hermetic, introspective, and metaphorical lyrics. The 1986 follow up album 'S vetrom uz lice' ('Against the wind') proved to be the breakthrough album that turned them into bona fide stars. The hits included 'Budi sam na ulici' ('Be alone on the street'), 'Ti si sav moj bol' ('You are all of my anguish'), 'Novac u rukama' ('Money in the hands'), and 'Kao da je bilo nekad' ('As if it once was'). In addition to wider main-stream acceptance, 'S vetrom uz lice' also got some lukewarm reviews from critics complaining it sounded too much like Simple Minds.

In 1987 the band recorded and released 'Ljubav' ('Love'). It displayed a more guitar-oriented, polished sound, partly because of new producer Theodore Yanni. It also showed the first signs of Milan's depressive lyrics, as exemplified by song 'Tonemo' ('We're sinking'). The band confirmed their newfound star status with two consecutive sold out shows at Belgrade's Hala Pionir sports arena. The 1989 album 'Samo par godina za nas nas' ('Just a few years for us') wasn’t received well by the critics at the time. It does feature the song 'Par godina za nas' which was voted the best (ex)Yugoslavian rock song by Serbian radio in 2006.

In the nineties the band released albums irregularly due to band changes and the political situation in Yugoslavia. 'Dum dum' (1991) and Neko nas posmatra ('Somebody's watching us') 1993 were released but the band slowly fell apart. Working on 'Ponovo zajedno' ('Together again') Milan Mladenović was hospitalized in august 1994 were he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died on November 5, 1994 at the age of 36. Bassist Bojan Pečar died in London on October 13, 1998, aged 37, as a result of a heart attack. Early drummers; Ivan 'Vd' Vdović passed away in 1992 and Dušan Dejanović died from AIDS on November 16, 2000. Keyboardplayer and vocalist Margita Stefanović died on September 18, 2002. Although never confirmed heavy drug use was rumoured to be the cause. She was 43 and the last of the original line up left.

On the web:

- Extensive bio on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekatarina_Velika
- Milans website (Serbian): http://solair.eunet.yu/~gabriel/glavna.htm

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Heroes del Silencio (Spain)

What do we think:

DB: Serbian fans might not agree but in fact the critics in 1986 had a point. The band somehow sounds like the 1984 Simple Minds crossbred with The Mission. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. They have the same new wave sound, and show an urgency that their music has to be BIG. Listening to S vetrom uz lice the album sounds like it’s been made to be played in stadiums. A good check is their live - album which they released after the album. When you hear the live versions of the album you'll hear a great liveband (some versions are even better then the studio versions).. What I gather from the internet is that the band later on turned more alternative rock then new wave but reviews differ. The fact that people are still discussing this band after so many years shows their popularity.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪ - S vetrom uz lice (Against the wind) - 1986

♪♪♪ - Live 1986 - 1986

Further listening:

Katarina II - 1984; Ekatarina Velika (Catherine the Great) - 1985;
Ljubav (Love) - 1987; Samo par godina za nas (Just a few years for us) - 1989; Dum dum (Bang bang) - 1991; Neko nas posmatra (Somebody's watching us) - 1993.

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


 

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