Novi Sad, which became the first European Capital of Culture outside the EU in 2021, has two new sights that have to do with its own culture and a sad background, as they both are connected with someone who for decades stood for the culture of multicultural and tolerante Vojvodina, but also for an upright and critical political stance.
We are talking about Djordje Balašević, the musician, singer and „cant author“ (which can only be translated as „songwriter“ very inadequately) who died in 2021 of COVID.
The first of these sights is the Balasevic family home, in front of which, even on a sleepy Sunday morning, we met a few foreigners who had been told off by their local hosts, who were enthusiastically rambling, trying to make clear to them the significance of the man with the difficult-to-pronounce names.
The taxi driver who drove us there needed fewer words. He said: „He managed to tell more with a few words of a song than most others do with whole novels“.
Balašević lived in the middle of his hometown Novi Sad. A circumstance that certainly contributed to the fact that he is revered there as „one of us“.(among others on a Facebook page with more than 30,000 followers).
If you want to get physically closer to your dead idol, however, you have to go about five kilometres out of town to the municipal cemetery.
As you can see there, the memory of this exceptional artist, who died too soon, is even worth destroying a guitar to a devotee, which he offered, provided with song lines, on the grave site.
„Djole’s“ (the singer’s nickname) grave as a place of choice like Doors singer Jim Morrison’s final resting place in the cemetery Pere Lachaise.
Some fear it, others hope it.