"Moj Pajac" EP by Senka Veletanlić (1963)

Classic example of early 1960s local pop discography that - outside of festivals - depended on foreign originals, often taken literary note for note and arranged with great care for homegrown market. What is highly interesting here is where on earth people got ideas from, since communist Yugoslavia had fairly firm grasp on borders and it was difficult to get popular records from the west - hence, musicians would cover anything from movie themes to jazz standards and country hits, but Italian San Remo was mostly alpha and omega of everyone's repertoire. So we definitely wouldn't know "King of clowns" as such, but were familiar with "Il Re Dei Pagliacci" that immediately got covered in Zagreb by Zdenka Vučković and in Belgrade on this record. Same for "Lara's theme" that got versions of both Nada Knežević and Tereza Kesovija, almost 90 percent of local recordings turned out to be covers. Our very own rock pioneer Karlo Metikoš basically promoted his rock idols that local audiences wouldn't know otherwise. 

Senka Veletanlić is now remembered chiefly as older sister of her more famous sibling and for the longest time I accepted common perception that she was less interesting of the two, but this cutest little EP recording made me re-consider and re-evaluate this: instead of judging her for what she was not (expressive, booming alto like her sister), perhaps we should focus on what she was and Senka was darn fine pop singer in her own right, with considerably lighter and softer sound, not without its own particular charm. Thoroughly enjoyable and even ebullient (some say she was the first really modern singer of her generation) she is not cutesy, nor sentimental like her colleagues but slightly detached and very, very effective. For example, in other hands "Summer Job" could have all sorts of hiccups and gimmicks, but Senka shuns such tricks and relies on beauty of her clear voice. "Warmed Over Kisses" is a cutest little country and western tune, while for "La Terza Luna" we go back to Italian recordings, in all probability either Neil Sedaka or Paul Anka who at the time had some very successful Italian releases. 

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