We had the privilege to welcome one of those people who is always on the move, and whose great responsibility and professionalism is translated into his work. Goran Karan, a musician from Split, characterized by a fantastic voice, was kind enough to set aside some time for us.
Our dear guest shared with the Terracon News Music Spot that he has an extensive background in performing on stage, with a mic in front of him, and countless miles together with numerous stories behind him. Thanks to good songs, he is able to do what he used to dream about doing growing up while listening to others perform on the narrow streets of Split.
As he stepped in our ”cultural center”, he couldn’t hide his astonishment at our excellent wine boutique and exhibition area. After greeting everyone, he shared with us that the wines he saw were top of the line but he didn’t drink any because of his lifestyle and singing career.
Mr Karan: Dear everyone, as you can see, we are here in a nice ambiance, surrounded by a lot of locally produced items, that is alcoholic beverages, but I think I’m probably the oldest wine here… I’m happy to be here.
Today, well you can see just by looking at you Denis the effect the bora wind is having on everyone. The bora wind gusts reach up to 155 km/h but we did manage to come here.
Interviewer: We started off with wine, so let’s continue with that. A good voice is important for singers, and you are a very popular one in the Croatia’s music sky, singers who travel a lot and like to have a nice bite to eat, and accompany that with good wine. How do you feel about that, Goran?
Mr Karan: Thank you so much for calling it ‘Croatia’s music sky’. I at least try not to keep my head up high looking at the stars except when I’m writing songs. About the items you mentioned earlier, I’m sure that your readers, you, and our colleagues know more about it. For the past, I think 24, 25 years, that is 24 years I’ve deprived myself of alcohol because I spend a lot of time on the road, work long hours and try to act professionally even though people don’t think that way about what I do. Anyway, I don’t drink alcohol on such occasions, so don’t invite me when there’s a lot of drinking involved, because you’ll constantly be hearing ‘Why aren’t you drinking anything?” and yeah, that’s been known to cause problems at times… You see my performances start pretty late, in the evening, and I have to make sure people feel good. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean I should drink, or be intoxicated, but to each his own. So when people usually ask ‘How come you’re not drinking?’ I answer, ‘That’s my profession, my job, my dream, my passion, God gave me that, and for a long time I was the only one standing in the way of myself.
At Gundulićeva Street no. 36 our guest remembered the first steps he took in the music world, the first instruments he used, all the popular local and international bands he listened to…memories of things past, but never forgotten.
Mr Karan: Thank you for asking. You hear something, start singing, especially when you have a good song, and especially before you hit puberty, like ”Kud plovi ovaj brod” and such songs from the time of the Split Festival and other similar events, back when it was rare to see something like that in public; TV only offered one program, and an experimental one as well, so if you owned a TV, you would turn it on and watch. I remember walking and hearing through every other open window, back then people used to listen to two radio stations so by the time you passed through Manuš and Get, you’d have finished listening to the whole song through windows. So that’s how it started, I liked it and started singing, and people didn’t mind… and so I hit puberty, and with it came hormonal turbulence, anger, rage, you know, while you’re trying to find your place under the sun; rock music, Bijelo Dugme, followed by Štulić, these were all ‘angry’ guys which goes well with hormonal changes. As for international bands, there was Pink Floyd, The Doors, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and many others. Later on, the Beatles… First bands. That was the time when in the summer you would get your guitar out, and when you didn’t know how to play something you kept thinking how he did that particular harmony, placed his fingers, and then you try it at home. Because I got a guitar from my ma when I finished, I think, the fourth grade with excellent marks, or was it the fifth grade… It was called ‘Pedro’, and so I started practicing, and my ma paid for guitar lessons but I wasn’t all that good. I attended maybe 2 or 3 lessons because I just wasn’t interested in all that, and even though I did sing ‘Sve ptičice iz gore’ 12000 times back then I wasn’t into learning how to play that. It would’ve been cool if you were able to play something romantic like, I don’t know, ‘Jedina moja’, now that would be something. C’mon why don’t you teach me that? Prepare me for social interaction. But no, he didn’t want to so we parted ways.
A person who left a lasting impression on his music journey was late Zdenko Runjić who Mr Karan had the privilege to work with on many occasions.
Moreover, there is an interesting motif embedded in Goran’s life – playing ”picigin”, a popular sport among the locals, on Bačvice. Not to mention all his performances on various stages.
My part in all of this isn’t so big, music is the same everywhere, what you hear on the radio and around you, you take as is, no question about it… I can say that that is the age when you become an expert because that’s when you first heard it. After all, this explosion of ”klapa” singing dates back to those times because simply put, there’s a need for some sort of expression that looks like…
While I played rock music, I was lucky enough to perform at outdoor venues in the summer, cafes, other places, solo, on the streets, a lot was going on. I really enjoyed singing songs by Zdenko Runjić so later on when a possibility for us working together appeared, I was already able to play and sing about 25 of his songs, every single word. I’d like to point out that all the songs I performed were my choice, except when you’re jamming in the summer, and somebody else from the band plays something you don’t know, so you have to make some adjustments.
But what I’m trying to say, when you sing or express yourself in some other way, it’s very important that people know where to place you. That’s actually a known truth since by doing that you bring something else to the table. Dalmatia – that’s what we both are, and of course, Split; think of postcards, clear blue sea and sky, sun, that’s how it is. We didn’t create that sea or rocks, these are pretty powerful elements. And so when people arrive from wherever, usually on their holiday, there aren’t many of those who come here to go work in a mine since you can’t really find any here; they have fun, and God forbid, drink, and sometimes fall in love. And so, the minute you start singing in the local dialect, you get that emotional response from your audience; and things have changed for the better, people look better, and understand music better, and have contributed to the emotional part of the song. And as soon as you start singing a song that brings back memories… After all, that’s what it’s like with every music genre. Take TBF, they introduced world music, modern music, contemporary music… They gave it their own experiences and dialect. And that’s what makes it rich and beautiful.
Interviewer: You’re popular among different age groups, everybody enjoys watching you. So you perform in clubs, restaurants, sports halls, as well as national theaters, and in some European countries.
Mr Karan: Simply put, I perform with my band ”Vagabundo”… It’s a good thing I’ve been in the music business for so long so naturally there’s a list of songs I can perform. For instance, when people are standing up and dancing, or if it’s chilly and they’re moving faster or jumping up and down, or sitting down enjoying themselves, you can sing and maybe talk if you think there’s something interesting you can share with them.
I’m 50 years old, and have been doing this for a long time. Also, I’m lucky I was able to work with good composers, lyricists, with late Zdenko, Neno Ninčević, Tutić did ”Ružo moja bila”, a great song. And I did my own share of writing. Actually, in the last 10 years since Zdenko’s death, I’ve been doing mostly everything on my own.
Whatever is needed, I can do it. If it’s theater related, I already worked with them, and they helped me with what I needed, and I’m thankful. You adjust to the time, place and circumstances. (…)
It works like this. You come to Bačvice at noon where we play ”picigin” or soccer.
Interviewer: What about your hobbies, passion for sports, soccer, ”picigin”?
Mr Karan: Denis, you’re cut from the same cloth. I used to play with Split Stars team, that is, a team of musicians who participate in soccer matches for good cause, and other stuff as well. Funds were raised so the idea behind it is a noble one. Denis is also part of that team, and he’s a tough player who knows soccer. I like when people give their all when they participate in something, with fair play in mind of course, that’s the most important thing.
While that happiness is enough, while my inner child is present, I’m happy too.
You see, you have to go to meetings with serious business people, and so after three of four days of such meetings, I’m done. And so I have to find someone…
Interviewer: You live in Split but you often travel to Zagreb. How do you keep up with that biorhythm?
Mr Karan: (…) We’re not talking here about a career of an international caliber of some band who’s been on the road for a year, has launched a new record. In order to get their money’s worth, they have to have a huge stage, hire about 150 people, and organize 150 concerts. They start making money after their 115th concert. The first 115 concerts paid for what needed to be done. I was lucky enough, yes, lucky, that my career wasn’t like that. My life consists of many short coming and goings. The longest trip I took lasted about a month, and once a year which is enough so I look forward to it because I didn’t do military service, I’m not a seafarer, it’s not like that. Then again, traveling often gives you a fresh perspective on where you live, what’s really going on, what is and what isn’t. We live in a beautiful country, if there’s a better one, I wouldn’t know.
I bought a van, a big one. Actually, I leased it. Three more months and I’m good. You know what’s interesting here? I’m sending out a message ”I want to work”. And travel. So the ”Vagabundo” band and I get ready to go; just last year we spent 7 days in London, that is, two years ago. We went everywhere. To Riga, Latvia. And I really enjoy such rides.
As I was saying. I had the privilege to work in big cities and that’s not my thing. Not even in Vienna, Zagreb, Hamburg. It’s all fine and beautiful, London, New York, great, Los Angeles, but there’s no particular peace there. In other words, we can be happy with what we’ve got. Although it’s not easy but there aren’t many places better than this. There are only a few better ones, and many that are worse off.
There are many nice and enjoyable songs performed by our guest but when asked if he could choose a favorite one, he began naming a few, such as ”Samo me čvrsto stisni za ruku”, ”Dite jubav”, ”Kiša” etc.
Find out more about Goran’s future plans and many other things in this short video clip from our very own ”cultural center”, and take a few minutes to relax and enjoy his popular song ”Mali mulac”.
Interviewer: Before we say goodbye, Goran, there’s a lot of work ahead of you. You shared with us some information about a musical. What are your plans in the current year, 2015?
Mr Karan: Yeah, that was a good ”baza” as people from Split say. Good joke, right? Back in 1999, ”Lipa si lipa” came out, and Slobodna Dalmacija typically made a big fuss about it. They chose the singer of the year, and the singer of the century. Of course, that is irrelevant. It’s just shows who’s popular at that particular time. And the results showed Oliver Dragojević as the singer of the century, and I’m ok with that. And I was chosen as the singer of the year. And one of your colleagues asked, ”What does this award mean to you?” I was supposed to be elevated by it, I don’t know. I was 35 years old then and I kind of held back as far as my accomplishments and abilities went. And I like it but being a singer the following year would be better than being given the singer of the year award. That’s what I want for myself, health, I want the musical ”Naša bila storija” produced by Neno Ninčević and myself to see the light of day, which is a romantic tale set in the 70s with a lot of things going on; love is the main theme, soccer is also in there, that is Hajduk; Severina, Danijela are singing, as well as Giuliano, Tedi Spalato, Stefan Kokoškov, Arijana Čulina, Snježa Šiškov. Late Vinko Coce was supposed to sing too. He actually did some singing but unfortunately fell ill… may he experience happiness on the other side. That’s what I’d like to see this year, organize the opening night in Split. And as for the rest, the songs are OK, I’m really happy with how things are going at this point in my life. It involves me playing a lot of ”picigin”, traveling, healthy kids which is the most important thing. But you asked about more egotistical things, what I want for myself so… I wish we’re here next year… and that we can go play soccer.
Interviewer: That’s for sure. Thank you so much and we wish you all the best in your music career.
Mr Karan: Thank you Denis. And goodbye to all the viewers out there.