I was 7 years old in Yugoslavia; my mother’s warm soprano was filling up our living room. This time it was a song called ‘Elle était si jolie’ by Alain Barrière, or rather ‘Bila je tako lijepa’, by Dragan Stojnić, a beautifully adapted version sung in Serbo-Croatian. Later that night, I cried myself to sleep imagining this song was about my mother dying, the worst thing I could ever imagine happening as a child. This is a peculiar memory that I only recalled later while following the trail of YouTube videos and image searches.
While Iooking at stage sets of old music videos by Dean Martin, Jacques Brel, and The Carpenters, I stumbled upon the original version of this song, ‘Elle était si jolie’, and realised it was for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1963.
– Nina Knezevic
For the past two years I’ve been collecting and recording all of the Yugoslav Eurovision performances starting from my year of birth until the end of Yugoslavia in 1990. The project is named after what every Eurovision contestant representing Yugoslavia wanted(s) to hear – ‘Yugoslavie douze points’.
Throughout this period, I’ve been focusing on capturing some of the greatest contestants in performance mode, like Zdravko Čolić, but also the more obscure ones, like Eva Sršen. Later on, I imagined a greater being or entity in my work, a Terry Wogan-esque Eurovision God, who was often generous to talented contestants from the now ex-YU.
– Jelena Telecki-Starcevic
JELENA TELECKI & NINA KNEZEVIC EUROVISION 24/4/14 – 11/5/14