Tereza Kesovija Bookmark and Share


3 October1938

Tereza Kesovija was born in a small village near Dubrovnik in the most southern part of todays Croatia. She is one of the most succesful Croatian singers internationally and made particular big impression in France where she was honored with 'Chevalier des Arts et Lettres' medal. She has performed at the famous Olympia theatre in Paris on many occasions. The most theatrical of all croatian female pop singers, Tereza Kesovija is symbol of old-school stars from golden age of pop festivals in 1960s and 1970s.

As a little girl,Kesovija wanted to study flute and her father, just a simple farmer, sold their pig to buy his daughter the instrument. She started her career as a flute player, winning the a contest for young musician's in Ljubljana, Slovenia in in 1959. While studying at the music academy, she also played as instrumentalist for the Radio-Zagreb orchestra. One thing lead to another and she started as singer on famous pop festivals throughout the former Yougoslavia (Opatija, Zagreb, Split, Beograd, Sarajevo).

During the 1960's, Tereza was not satisfied with her career in her home country so she went to France and made a name for herself in Paris. She became so succesful that Grace Kelly suggested her to represent Luxembourg in 1966's Eurovision Songcontest. It was during that time that Tereza recorded 'Lara's song' from the famous movie 'Dr Zhivago'. The song would become her most succesfull recording outside Croatia.

In her home country, than Yugoslavia, Tereza ruled all the pop festivals and was often awarded. The 1970's were her golden years, thanks to the songs written for her by famous composers like Zdenko Runjic, Nikica Kalogjera, Arsen Dedic and Djelo Jusic. Her music is best described as melodic mediterrean, with lots of guitars, mandolines and strong italian influences; her passionate singing was her trademark. She represented Yugoslavia at the Eurovision Songcontest in 1972 and created many pop festival evergreens, mostly but not always connected with coast area of Dalmatia.

During the 1980's, her success started to decline in her home country, partly because times had changed and pop festivals became less interesting to young audiences, who listened to rock music. Still, she did not stop touring throughout the world and she performed in the Soviet Union, Finland, Sweden, USA, Canada and of course France, where she performed together with Amalia Rodriguez. Her live album from this periode, simply called 'Olympia', is one of Tereza's finest records.

The 1990's started with a celebration. During the Split 30th festival she was awarded as best female singer of all times. Unfortunately, the very next year war starts in Croatia and Tereza's house is burned to the ground together with all her possesions and mementos. She repeatedely visits her hometown of Dubrovnik under siege, sings for the local people and appears on international tv channels asking for international attention and help for the restauration of the historical medieval city of Dubrovnik, that was bombed during the war. She also performed on four concerts in Sarajevo, city under siege, to help lift the moral of its inhabitants. It was because of these actions and her hard work that Tereza was voted 'singer of the century' in Croatia.

In the new millennium Tereza does not show any signs of slowing down. And although her records do not sell as much as in previous decades, she is still a huge concert attraction. She performes in concerts with famous French musicians like Serge Lama and Michel Legrand, she helps with the organisations of music festivals in Dubrovnik and has recently performed in a sold-out Olympia theatre. In 2007 she released a great new album, called 'Zaustavi vrijeme', with 10 new songs and a new version of the song 'Tko mi je kriv'. The album was followed by a live double cd in 2008.

Having turned 70 years old in 2008, Tereza is still going strong. Her career, spanning almost five decades, Tereza Kesovija is one of Croatia's most famous female singers. She has a particular theatrical style of singing and performing comparible to Shirley Bassey or Dalida. When performing, Tereza simply cannot stand still and often burns completely in concerts, so much that her hair & make up get all messed up (to audience thrill). Clearly the 1970's were her golden years while later work shows commercial compromises every now and than. She released more than 30 albums.

Thanks to Sasha Lampic for his text and contributions.

On the web:

- Tereza's official website: http://www.tereza-kesovija.com
- Fansite dedicated to Tereza: http://www.terezakesovija.com
- Tereza on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tereza_Kesovija

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

Dalida (France)

What do we think:

PR: Tereza is a lady with a great voice and truly Croatia's most famous diva. Her singing sometimes remind me of Nana Mouskouri (not my cup of tea), but her way of expressing emotion in her songs is much better. Her seventies records combine mediterranean sounds with beautiful melodies. Her eighties material is a bit corny. Since the second half of the nineties, the quality of her records increased and 2008th 'Zaustavi vrijeme' is actually a classic Tereza album.

DB: As PR already described the creme of Tereza's work is in the seventies. Her music then breathed the folky atmosphere to be found at the Dalmatian coastline and in the backland of Zagreb. Her singing can have something of an academic feel about it but with the right arrangements that isn't a problem. Once the synthesizers come into fashion this turns into a problem however. Stick to the old stuff.

Recommended albums:

La chanson de Lara - 1967

♪♪♪♪ - Tereza - 1971

♪♪♪ - Stare ljubavi – 1976

♪♪♪ - Sinoc kad sklopih oci - 1982

♪♪♪♪ - Live à l'Olympia - 1988

Gdje ima srca tu sam i ja - 1999

♪♪♪♪ - Zaustavi vrijeme - 2007

♪♪♪ - A l'Olympia (live 2cd / dvd) - 2008

Further listening:

C'est ma chanson - 1969; Tereza & Julio Iglesias Live in Bulgaria - 1973; Tereza - 1974; Tereza & Miro Ungar - 1974; Nježne strune mandoline - 1975; Tereza - 1978; Što je ostalo od ljubavi - 1978; Poljubi me - 1979; Moja splitska ljeta 1 - 1980; Sanjam - 1981; Tereza - 1981; Ja sam pjesma - 1982; Prijatelji stari gdje ste - 1982; Na kušinu - 1983; Spomenar - 1983; Ponovni susret - 1984; Koncert v Cankarjevem domu - 1984; Pronađi put - 1985; Bokelji i Tereza - 1985; Molim te, ostani - 1986; Moja posljednja i prva ljubavi - 1987; Moja splitska ljeta 2 - 1988; Nezaboravne melodije - 1989; Ljubav je moj grijeh - 1990; To sam ja - 1995; Kad jednog dana prisjetim se svega - 1997; Samo malo intime - 1999; Kronologija - 2002; S druge strane sna (live with Michel Legrand) - 2003; Mojih 45 skalina - 2005

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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