Brena performing in the Kombank Arena, October 2011
|Birth name||Fahreta Jahić|
|Also known as||Fahreta Živojinović|
20 October 1960 |
Tuzla, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
|Genres||Pop-folk, pop, dance, folk|
|Labels||PGP-RTB, Diskoton, Grand Production (previously called Zabava miliona/ZaM)|
|Associated acts||Slatki Greh, Alisa, Alen Islamović, Vesna Zmijanac, Mira Škorić, Halid Bešlić, Kemal Monteno|
Fahreta Živojinović (née Jahić; born 20 October 1960), known by her stage name Lepa Brena, is a Bosnian pop-folk and pop singer, actress, and talent manager. She is arguably the most popular singer of the former Yugoslavia and the top-selling female recording artist from Yugoslavia with more than 40 million records sold.
Lepa Brena was born as Fahreta Jahić into a Muslim Bosniak family in the Bosnian city of Tuzla, Yugoslavia in 1960, but grew up in Brčko. She was the third-born child of Abid Jahić (died 22 October 2010) and Ifeta Jahić. She has two older siblings, a sister Faketa, and a brother Faruk.
Fahreta's nickname "Brena" was given to her by her gym teacher. Later on, Serbian showman Minimax added the prefix "Lepa" (English: Beautiful), creating the stage name "Lepa Brena".
In 1980, she started singing with the band Slatki Greh when the group's original singer Spasa left the band because of her marriage. Saša Popović, the band's frontman, was initially opposed to the idea that Lepa Brena should be the band's new singer, but later changed his opinion. She subsequently moved to Novi Sad and then to Belgrade. Brena started to sing in hotel TURIST in Backa Palanka. She and Slatki Greh released their first album, Čačak, Čačak, in 1981. It was named after Čačak, Serbia. The album was written mostly by Milutin Popović-Zahar, and the career-manager was Vladimir Cvetković. That same year Lepa Brena and Slatki Greh appeared in the first part of Yugoslav classic comedy film Tesna koža (A Tight Spot), which raised their profile and brought them almost instant fame. She would again team up with songwriter Milutin Popović-Zahar for her second album Mile voli disko (Mile Loves the Disco), which was released in 1982. The album had a few hit songs: "Mile voli disko", "Duge noge" (Long Legs), "Čini Gajle" (Gajle Does), "Ovaj život vara nas" (This Life Tricks Us), "Danas plačem ja, a sutra ćeš ti" (Today I Am Crying, Tomorrow You Will) and "Dama iz Londona" (The Dame From London.)
In 1983, Lepa Brena ended her collaboration with Milutin Popović-Zahar and Vladimir Cvetković. That year Lepa Brena and Slatki Greh participated in Jugovizija (Yugoslav selection for the Eurovision Song Contest) with the song "Sitnije, Cile, sitnije" (Less, Cile, Less, which was a track on the extended play of the same name, Sitnije, Cile, sitnije). Her appearance caused confusion among the audience, since Jugovizija was considered exclusively reserved for pop singers. Although they did not qualify for the prestigious European competition, Lepa Brena and Slatki Greh won the contest, gaining even more popularity.
The following year, Brena and the band started a cooperation with a new manager/producer Raka Đokić. Bato, Bato, her third album, was released the same year. A new provocative image was accompanied by a new musical style, different from the one fostered by Popović. Later that year, she held a concert in neighboring Romania, at the stadium in Timisoara to an audience of 65,000. It was the first successful concert of a Yugoslav singer outside their home country.
Along with these albums, she established a cooperation with Yugoslav folk star Miroslav Ilić and recorded a collaborative extended play Jedan dan života (One Day of Life), which featured four songs, including a romantic duet called "Jedan dan života", and the song "Živela Jugoslavija" (Long Live Yugoslavia), which was received with a mixed response. The latter song was in line with Brena's only official political stance: an uncompromising support of a united Yugoslavia, with her becoming a symbol of this view.
By the end of 1986, Lepa Brena has already become the most popular public figure in Yugoslavia. Later that year, her manager Raka Đokić came up with the idea that her next studio album should be followed by a movie in which would Lepa Brena should play a major role. This idea was successfully implemented in 1987 when the motion picture Hajde da se volimo was filmed. The film had the same name as the album. Many then-popular Yugoslav actors co-starred in the film, including Dragomir Gidra Bojanić, Milutin Karadžić, Velimir Bata Živojinović, Milan Štrljić etc.
Based on the success of the original, two sequels were produced: Hajde da se volimo 2 (1989) which was followed by the studio album Četiri godine (Four Years), and the film Hajde da se volimo 3 which was followed by the studio album Boli me uvo za sve (I Don't Care About Anything) in 1990.
In the turbulent years of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Lepa Brena held more than 350 concerts yearly, and would often hold two concerts in one day. Lepa Brena set a record by holding thirty-one concerts consecutively at Dom Sindikata, and seventeen concerts consecutively at the Sava Center. On 24 July 1990 Brena was lowered with a helicopter at Levski stadium in Sofia (Bulgaria) and held her most attended concert with an audience of 100,000 people.
Besides her career as a singer, she is one of the founders of Grand Slam Group and Grand Production (formerly Zabava miliona/ZaM) since 1998.
In 1994, after a nearly three-year break, Brena recorded her first solo album Ja nemam drugi dom (I Have No Other Home), and held a famous "Concert in the Rain" at Tašmajdan stadium which was attended by 35,000 people. After that, she recorded two more solo albums: Kazna Božija (God's Punishment, 1995) and Luda za tobom (Crazy For You, 1996).
Lepa Brena and Slatki Greh released their twelfth and final album together in 2000: Pomračenje sunca (Solar Eclipse.)
After eight years of absence from making music, Lepa Brena returned in 2008 with a studio album, Uđi slobodno... (Enter Freely....) The album contained ten new songs, nine of which were written by Brena's old song-writer Marina Tucaković and Aleksandar Milić Mili. She then released her sixteenth album, Začarani krug (Magic Circle), in 2011. Both albums were major successes.
Her wedding to Serbian tennis star Slobodan Živojinović on 7 December 1991 was a supreme media event throughout the then-still-existing Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The lavish ceremony took place at Belgrade's InterContinental Hotel. The level of interest in the event was such that Brena's manager Raka Đokić even released a VHS tape of the wedding. Their very public relationship has been providing steady fodder for various yellow media publications ever since. The couple has three sons - Filip (Brena's step son), Stefan (born 1992) and Viktor (born 1998). In the late 1980s and early 1990s ethnic tensions started rising in Yugoslavia and eventually led to the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Brena was one of the main tabloid targets at the time, as she was an ethnic Bosniak who recorded songs about Serbia, sang and spoke in the Serb ekavian dialect and married a Serbian man. Several tabloids claimed she had converted from Islam to Serbian Orthodoxy and had changed her name from Fahreta to Jelena. She denied those claims intensely and has never publicly spoken about her religious beliefs although she was raised a Sunni Muslim.
She broke her leg in a skiing accident in November 1992 and it took six months for her to heal.
On 23 November 2000, her and Slobodan's older son Stefan was kidnapped. After they paid a ransom of 2,500,000 deutsche mark in cash, he was released, having been held for five days. She has resided in Belgrade since 1980 and currently lives there with her husband, while their sons are attending schools in America.
After her marriage, she moved to the United States and ceased cooperation with Slatki Greh. However, in 2000 they recorded another album together Pomračenje sunca, their last album to date. After the debacle and family drama, she went on hiatus once again, for eight years.
Brena and her husband have a home in Coconut Creek, Florida, where they lived during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. She also has an apartment in Monte Carlo and another townhouse on Fisher Island, also in Florida. In 2010, Brena and her husband purchased a five bedroom villa with an in-ground heated pool on one of Miami's islands. Purchase price of $1.6 million in cash.
In October 2010, her father Abid Jahić was severely injured when a bus hit him as he walked in the city of Brčko. He was transported to a hospital in Tuzla where he died on 22 October 2010 aged about 82 years. He was buried in a Muslim funeral three days after his death. Brena and her two siblings, along with their mother and other family members and citizens of Brčko attended his funeral.
Brena was hospitalized on 27 July 2012 when she complained of pain and was diagnosed as having venous thrombosis, a blood clot. She remained in the hospital for three days, then was released. A similar incident occurred in 2004 when a blood clot in her hand was removed. In August 2012, she was forced to cancel three months of scheduled concerts to deal with further complications with her illness.
In 2009, Bosnian and Croatian people protested her concerts in Sarajevo on 30 May and in Zagreb on 13 June. The reason behind the protests were pictures printed of her in 1993 during the Bosnian War wearing the uniform of the Army of Republika Srpska in her besieged hometown, Brčko. The Army of Republika Srpska were Serbs who were ethnically cleansing Bosniak and Croat populations. That combined with the fact that she herself was a Muslim woman, born in Bosnia, who married a Serb, moved to Serbia, gave her two children Serbian names and allegedly legally changed her Muslim name "Fahreta" to the Serb name "Jelena" (which she denied.) Croatian and Bosnian protesters were angered that she was performing in their countries and called her a "traitor" and "četnikuša". The concerts went ahead as scheduled with no incident and she claimed the uniform was from the set of a 1990 music video for her song "Tamba Lamba", in which she wore a similar uniform while filming at a zoo in Kenya for the movie, Hajde da se volimo 3. Although, when compared side by side, the uniforms are different. Brena also claimed she was only in Brčko in 1993 to rescue her parents.
- Čačak, Čačak (1981)
- Mile voli disko (1982)
- Bato, Bato (1984)
- Pile moje (1985)
- Voli me, voli (1986)
- Uske pantalone (1986)
- Hajde da se volimo (1987)
- Četiri godine (1989)
- Boli me uvo za sve (1990)
- Zaljubiška (1991)
- Ja nemam drugi dom (1994)
- Kazna Božija (1995)
- Luda za tobom (1996)
- Pomračenje sunca (2000)
- Uđi slobodno... (2008)
- Začarani krug (2011)
- 17th studio album (2013)
- Tesna koža (1982)
- Nema problema (1984)
- Kamiondžije opet voze (1984)
- Hajde da se volimo (1987)
- Hajde da se volimo 2 (1989)
- Hajde da se volimo 3 (1990)
- Në orët e vona (1982)
- Jugovizija (1983)
- Kamiondžije 2 (1983)
- Jugovizija (1986)
- Obraz uz obraz: Novogodišnji special (1991); TV film
- "Lepa Brena u Centralnom Dnevniku 6:14 - 6:19". YouTube. May 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Brena, bre". Vreme. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Lepa Brena biografija". Story. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Vlasnici muzike i stranih priznanja". Blic. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Hajde da se volimo 1 (1987) - domaći film". Dodirnime. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Lepa Brena: Ja sam obična žena koja oko sebe ne stvara nikakvu medijsku pompu". Svet. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Lepa Brena u Centralnom Dnevniku 2 dio". YouTube. May 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "DEŠAVALO SE DA PUKNEM I KAŽEM OVO JE KRAJ, NE MOGU VIŠE, ALI IZBROJIM DO DESET I NIŠTA OD RAZVODA!". Svet. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2012.
- "Lepa Brena official website". JednaJeBrena. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- M. Majstorović (22 December 2010). "Press Daily". Pressonline.rs. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Lepa Brena u Centralnom Dnevniku 1 dio". YouTube. May 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Prokletstvo uspeha". Vreme. 7 December 2000. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- "Lepa Brena sahranila oca u Brčkom". Kurir. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- "Lepa Brena završila u bolnici zbog tromba". SvetPlus. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "LEPA BRENA ZAVRŠILA U BOLNICI!". Smedia. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- "Lepa Brena tri meseca ne sme da nastupa". SvetPlus. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- "Lepa Brena u uniformi Vojske Republike Srpske u Brčkom". 24sata. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Branitelji dijele slike Lepe Brene u srpskoj uniformi". Jutarnji. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Ne želimo Brenu, pjevala je za četnike!". Dubrovacki. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Zbog ovoga Lepu Brenu ne žele u BiH". Dalje. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Lepa Brena nije četnikuša". ReginalExpress. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "Do kraja godine novi album: Bora Čorba piše pesme za Lepu Brenu". SvetPlus. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
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- Official website
|New title||Serbian Oscar Of Popularity
The Female Folk Singer of the Year