Kad Bi Bio Bijelo Dugme | Hanging Gardens Banquets | International | Chicago Reader

Kad Bi Bio Bijelo Dugme Recommended Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Oct. 30, 9 p.m. 2009

As if the country’s ethnic mix and sub­sequent fragmentation didn’t make Yugo nostalgia confusing enough, now the most popular band ever to come from Yugoslavia, Bijelo Dugme, are reunited and touring as KAD BI BIO BIJELO DUGME—the name of their first single, which translates as “If I Were a White Button.” The lineup is missing founder and songwriter Goran Bregovic, but it includes all three lead singers from the group’s original run. Bijelo Dugme formed in 1974 in Sarajevo, and in 1989, when Yugoslavia started to fall apart, so did the band. Their recordings haven’t all aged well—despite early influences like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they often sound like the Rolling Stones trying to play Slavic disco—but there’s no question that Bijelo Dugme are the reason Yugoslavia developed an indigenous rock scene when and how it did. They also made huge hits of songs inspired by Balkan folk music, including “Lipe Cvatu” (“Lindens Are Blooming”) and “Djurdjevdan,” a version of the Romany tune “Ederlezi” (which Bregovic rearranged as part of the soundtrack he did for Emir Kusturica’s 1988 film Time of the Gypsies). After the band split, Bregovic went on to international fame with his Wedding and Funeral Orchestra and several more Kusturica soundtracks, but his bandmates have struggled. Original vocalist Zeljko Bebek left in 1984, to be replaced by Mladen Vojicic (aka Tifa), who was replaced in ’86 by Alen Islamovic of Yugo metal band Divlje Jagode (“Wild Strawberries”). Though Bregovic has participated in some of the recent Bijelo Dugme reunion activity—including a 2005 series of arena shows that drew as many as a quarter million fans—Bebek, Tifa, and Islamovic are keeping a version of the band going on their own (the name change is to avoid legal trouble). The current touring lineup includes musicians who played with the original band at various times, though not necessarily together; the three singers will perform the Bijelo Dugme tunes they each popularized and share the stage for other songs. DJs Spaz and Urban spin. Tickets available at Fortuna Market (2706 W. Peterson, 773-381-3354), Kikos Meat Market (5077 N. Lincoln, 773-271-7006), City Fresh Market (3201 W. Devon, 773-681-8600), Beograd Meat Market (2937 W. Irving Park, 773-478-7575), and Bosna Video (2501 W. Lawrence, 773-275-8281), among other locations. —Vera Videnovich

Price: $60, $50 in advance

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