Thursday, August 7, 2008

No Limit?

During one of my far too regular trawls through YouTube, which can keep you amused for hours you don't have, I stumbled across 200 na sat (200 miles per hour) by Ivan Gravilović, which was released in 1994. I immediately noticed that the music was strangely familiar - in fact, almost entirely the same as eurodance band 2 Unlimited's 'No Limit' (released in 1993 during the rave culture of the 90s in the UK and Europe). Hopefully, most of you would remember this song - whether you despised its repetitive beats and limited vocabulary or fully embraced it as a huge hit.

At first I was mortified and repulsed by the mutilation inflicted upon this 'classic dance hit', but as usual, the more I listen to 1990's Serbian dance music/turbo-folk, the more it grows on me and I no longer wish to fall into a deep, dark hole. 200 na sat, is a pretty pointless song about cars and speed, and is generally accepted to be the song that began the Serbian 1990's phenomenon known as turbo-folk. Turbo-folk is a sub genre of music which emerged in Serbia during the crisis years of the 1990s and is a mixture of contemporary (at the time) dance beats and Serbian folk music.

It became immensely popular with urban youth, in particular the dizelaši (dieselites), a group of ultra-macho, sporty young males
who were fond of wearing Diesel brand clothing, and particularly fueled the 'macho culture' of Serbia during the 1990s. It produced a whole host of other famous turbo-folk singers such as the infamous Ceca and Jelena Karleuša. Turbo-folk today is regarded to epitomise ultra-nationalism and the Milošević regime.

Regardless of the dark connotations associated with turbo-folk music, it can be quite enjoyable and amusing to watch and listen to them. Here's Ivan Gravilović's version of 'No Limit'. Enjoy, but don't be too critical of their music video budget - hyper-inflation was in full swing!


markowe said...

Oh my, I remember this, came out when I was a student in Belgrade. Those really were dark days for music, like everything else in Serbia at the time. Production quality was the lowest of the low, never mind the music and lyrics. But I suppose it was a reflection of the time, people made do with what they had. Actually, there were much worse things around at the time, and most of it could be found on TV Palma - I'm sure some people remember that only too well...

Adam said...

I quite enjoy listening to these old songs from the 1990s, but then I can be a lover of rather trashy music at times (my electronic music friends would be dismayed, oh dear).

The 1990s is the period of Serbian history that intrigues me the most and you can only learn so much by reading books and trawling through YouTube, but I certainly don't envy you actually living through part of it. I bet that was quite an experience.