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Feature 02 Aug 16

Serbian Socialist Likes Sound of his Own Music

While awaiting a possible fourth in a Serbian government, Serbian Socialist Party leader Ivica Dacic shows no sign of putting down the mike and stopping his singing exploits.

Ivana Nikolic
Ivica Dacic with his party members. Photo: Beta.

Serbian Socialist Party chief and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic is often seen with a microphone in hand, willing, it seems, to sing to anyone.

That was certainly the case at the dinner at the Balkan summit in Paris in early July, when Dacic again grabbed a mike – and so fulfilled a birthday wish of the Albanian Prime Minister, Edi Rama, media reported.

“Where is the orchestra?” Dacic was quoted as asking before he started to sing "O Sole Mio", and "Santa Lucia," reportedly amazing everyone in the room.

The fact that Serbia’s Prime Minister-designate, Aleksandar Vucic, has not yet named any ministers in the future Serbian government yet does not seem to worry Dacic too much.

Perhaps the music helps him forget the political uncertainty he has found himself in since Serbia’s general elections in April.

The dinner in Paris was far from being the only time that Dacic "treated" Albania’s Rama with a song. He also sang "O Sole Mio" in November 2014, during Rama’s first visit to Serbia. 

"If singing a song can ease tensions, that is the least I can do for my country," Dacic told the Kurir daily after the mini-concert on November 14.

He sang to Rama again a month later during the summit of leaders from China and Central and Eastern Europe, which was held in the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Dacic has since enriched his repertoire with songs from Serbia’s famous folk singer, Saban Saulic.

Dacic’s tunes have outraged Serbia’s nationalist media outlets, some of which called him "a jester" for singing both to Rama and Vesna Pusic, the then Croatian Foreign Minister.

Still, that did not end Dacic’s history of live performances delivered in front of foreign and domestic politicians or international organisations.

He entertained guests at the closing dinner of the annual ministerial council of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, last December in Belgrade.

Dacic once again grabbed a mike and sang a song not many could understand, "Jorgovani," performed by Serbia’s Vesna Zmijanac and Bosnia’s Dino Merlin.

But it was a song by another Bosnian singer that made Dacic most famous as a singer in international diplomatic circles and at home as well – "Miljacka" by Halid Beslic. Miljacka is the river running through Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo.

The Socialist boss first sang at an international forum in Brussels in 2012, the night before the EU awarded Serbia candidate country status.

That is when many joked that Zitoradja, Dacic’s hometown but also the hometown of Serbia’s folk star Svetlana Raznatovic "Ceca", had shown it had more than one talented singer.

Shortly after the performance in Brussels, Dacic sang the song together with Beslic during the Balkan security conference held in Sarajevo.

Some say that if he ever fails as a politician and loses his job, he will make ends meet easily with a mike in his hands.

Over the intervening years, Dacic has changed posts in Serbia’s governments but ‘"Miljacka" has remained his favourite song.

He has been using every opportunity to sing it – to the Serbian women’s handball team when they won a silver in the World Championship in 2013, and to Serbia’s government on the bus taking them back to Belgrade from the southern city of Nis a year later.

In 2013, media reported he honoured another senior EU official with a song – Britain's Catherine Ashton, at the time when the EU foreign policy chief was mediating delicate Kosovo-Serbia talks in Brussels.

“Forgive me, Catherine, maybe I wasn’t nice to you even though I liked you. Forgive me, Catherine, everything is now gone, there is no sign of our love,” he intoned.




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