Lepa Brena

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lepa Brena
Brena performing in the Kombank Arena, October 2011
Born Fahreta Jahić
(1960-10-20) 20 October 1960 (age 54)
Tuzla, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Other names Fahreta Živojinović
  • Singer
  • actress
  • talent manager
Years active 1980–present
  • Stefan (born 1992)
  • Viktor (born 1998)
  • Abid (1928–2010)
  • Ifeta (1933–2014)
Musical career
  • vocals
Associated acts
Website http://www.jednajebrena.com/

Fahreta Živojinović (Cyrillic: Фахрета Живојиновић, née Jahić; born 20 October 1960), known by her stage name Lepa Brena (Cyrillic: Лепа Брена), is a pop-folk and pop singer, actress, and talent manager, arguably the most popular singer of former Yugoslavia and the top-selling female recording artist from Yugoslavia with more than 40 million records sold.

Brena was born to Bosniak parents in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, grew up in Brčko, and has lived in Belgrade, Serbia since 1980. She identifies as Yugoslav and has called herself Yugonostalgic.[1]


1960–80: Early life and stage name[edit]

Lepa Brena was born in 1960 as Fahreta Jahić into a Muslim Bosniak family in the Bosnian city of Tuzla (then a part of Yugoslavia), but grew up in Brčko. Fahreta was the youngest child of Abid Jahić (c. 1928 – 22 October 2010) and Ifeta Jahić (15 April 1933 – 21 November 2014). 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" (Beautiful), creating the stage name "Lepa Brena".

1980–82: Slatki Greh and Čačak, Čačak[edit]

In early 1980, at the age of 19, Brena started singing with a band called Lira šou 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's first performance with Lira šou occurred on 6 April 1980 in the hotel TURIST in Bačka Palanka. Lira šou changed their name to Slatki Greh (Sweet Sin) in 1981. Brena and Slatki Greh premiered their first studio album, Čačak, Čačak, on 3 February 1982. It was named after the Serbian city of Čačak. The album was written mostly by Milutin Popović-Zahar, and the career-manager was Vladimir Cvetković.

Since her career began in 1980, she has become arguably the most popular singer of the former Yugoslavia, and a top-selling female recording artist with more than 40 million records sold.[2][3][4]

1982–84: Acting, Mile voli disko, and Yugovision entry[edit]

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. They would again team up with songwriter Milutin Popović-Zahar for their second studio album Mile voli disko (Mile Loves the Disco, 1982.) In addition to the title song, the album had a couple of other hit songs: "Duge noge" (Long Legs) and "Dama iz Londona" (The Dame From London.)

In 1983, Lepa Brena and Slatki Greh ended their collaboration with Milutin Popović-Zahar and Vladimir Cvetković. That same year Lepa Brena and Slatki Greh participated in Jugovizija (Yugovision), the Yugoslav selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, with the song "Sitnije, Cile, sitnije" (Less, Cile, Less.) The song was released on an extended play of the same name, along with another song. Their appearance on Jugovizja caused confusion among the audience, since the competition 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.

1984–86: Bato, Bato and major success[edit]

1984 saw Brena and her band begin a cooperation with a new manager and producer, Raka Đokić. Bato, Bato, their 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, they 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 musician outside their home country.

Their next three albums, Pile moje (My Dear, 1985) and Voli me, voli (Love Me, Love Me) and Uske pantalone (Short Shorts, both 1986) would propel her to the throne of the Yugoslav music scene.

Along with these albums, Brena 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 had become the most successful public figure in Yugoslavia.

1987–90: Hajde da se volimo films and Jugoslovenka[edit]

Brena's manager Raka Đokić came up with the idea that her seventh studio album should be followed by a movie in which she would play the lead role. This idea was successfully implemented in 1987 when the motion picture Hajde da se volimo was filmed. The movie 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.[5] During the premiere of the film on 24 October 1987, Brena met her future husband, tennis star Slobodan Živojinović.

Based on the success of the original, two sequels were produced: Hajde da se volimo 2 (1989) and Hajde da se volimo 3 (1990), which was followed by the studio album Boli me uvo za sve (I Don't Care About Anything.) Boli me uvo za sve also had multiple hit songs including "Čik pogodi" (Guess What), "Biće belaja" (There Will Be Trouble), "Tamba Lamba", and the title track.

Their eighth studio album Četiri godine was released on 1 October 1989 and contained the controversial song "Jugoslovenka" (Yugoslavian Woman) with Bosnian rock musician Alen Islamović. The music video for the pop-folk song "Čuvala me mama" was filmed on the Croatian island Lopud.

Lepa Brena and Slati Greh held more than 350 concerts yearly,[6] and would often hold two concerts in one day. They set a record by holding thirty-one concerts consecutively at Dom Sindikata, and seventeen concerts consecutively at the Sava Center.[7] On 24 July 1990, Brena was lowered with a helicopter at Levski stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria and held her then-most-attended concert with an audience of 110,000 people.[8] While she was in Bulgaria in July 1990, she met with the Bulgarian mystic Baba Vanga.

1991–93: Breakup of Yugoslavia, marriage, and motherhood[edit]

Brena and Slatki Greh released their second-to-last album together: Zaljubiška (I Fell in Love), in 1991.

In the turbulent years of 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.[9]

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 Živojinović's first child, a son Stefan Emerald, was born in New York City on 25 May 1992.

Brena broke her leg in a skiing accident in November 1992 and it took six months for her to heal.[10] Her manager and producer Raka Đokić died suddenly on 30 October 1993.[10][11]

1994–99: Ja nemam drugi dom and Grand Production[edit]

In 1994, after a three-year hiatus, Brena premiered her first solo album Ja nemam drugi dom (I Have No Other Home), and held a famous "concert in the rain" on 13 June 1994 at Tašmajdan stadium which was attended by 35,000 people.[12] After that, she recorded two more solo albums: Kazna Božija (God's Punishment, 1994) and Luda za tobom (Crazy For You, 1996). In the mid-90s she had many popular songs; "Kazna Božija", "Luda za tobom", "Sve mi dobro ide osim ljubavi" (Everything Is Going Well For Me But Love), "Izdajice" (Traitor), "Moj se dragi englez pravi" (My Dear is Pretending to Be English), "I da odem iza leđa bogu" (Even If I Went Behind God's Back), "Ja nemam drugi dom" (I Have No Other Home), "Dva dana" (Two Days), and "Ti si moj greh" (You Are My Sin), among others. The music video for "Ti si moj greh" had an ancient Egyptian theme, with Brena dressed as a pharaoh.

On 30 March 1998, her second son Viktor Ernesto was born and, in December of that same year, Brena became co-founder of the record label Grand Production, which was formerly known as Zabava miliona or ZaM, for short.

2000–07: Pomračenje sunca, kidnapping of son, and hiatus[edit]

After her marriage in 1991, 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.

Photo of Lepa Brena, taken in 2007.

On 23 November 2000, her and Slobodan's elder son Stefan was kidnapped by members of the Zemun clan mafia. After they paid a ransom of 2,500,000 deutsche mark in cash, he was released, having been held for five days.[13] She has resided in Belgrade since 1980 and currently lives there with her husband, while their sons are attending schools in America. In a 2014 interview, she stated that she is still healing from the trauma of the incident.[14]

After the debacle and family drama, she went on hiatus once again, for eight years, living between Belgrade and the American city Miami, Florida with her family. 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 and the cost of $1.6 million.

2008–11: Musical comeback, controversy, and father's death[edit]

After eight years of absence from the music business, Lepa Brena returned in 2008 with a studio album, Uđi slobodno... (Enter Freely....)[15] 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.

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 was engaged in war against Bosnian and Croat forces. That combined with the fact that she herself was a Muslim woman, born in Bosnia, who married a Serb, moved to Serbia, and gave her two children Serbian names. Croatian and Bosnian protesters were angered that she was performing in their countries and called her a "traitor" and "četnikuša" (a derrogatory form used by Bosnians and Croats for pro-Serbian people, literally, Chetnik supporter). 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.[16][17][18][19][20]

Press conference in Romania, March 2012

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.[21] She later regarded the months after her father's death as the most emotionally difficult time of her life.

2012–14: Health problems, Narodne pesme, and 18th studio album[edit]

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 October 2004 when a blood clot in her hand was removed.[22][23] In August 2012, she was forced to cancel three months of scheduled concerts to deal with further complications with her illness.[24]

Beginning in 2012, Brena started recording sessions for two studio albums. The first, Izvorne i novokomponovane narodne pesme (Original and Newly-Composed Folk Songs), an album of centuries-old Bosnian folk songs and sevdalinkas, and folk songs from countries surrounding her native Bosnia, including Serbia and Macedonia, was released in December 2013.[25] She also covered a couple songs that were originally released in 1970s Yugoslavia. Brena dedicated the album to her mother Ifeta, who sang folk songs to her when she was a child.

Her eighteenth studio album featuring all new songs, will be released in 2014. The first single off the newest album, "Ljubav čuvam za kraj" (I Save Love for the End), premiered on 28 December 2013 on Radio Pingvin.[26][27][28] She premiered the second single "Zaljubljeni veruju u sve" (Those Who Are In Love Believe Everything), with lyrics written by Hari Varešanović, on 12 January 2014.

On 19 December 2013, Brena, along with Dragana Mirković, Severina, Haris Džinović, Aca Lukas and Jelena Karleuša, was a guest at a humanitarian concert by Goran Bregović at the Olympic Hall Juan Antonio Samaranch in the Bosnian capital city Sarajevo for the Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[29] Brena arrived in Sarajevo two days before the concert so that she could enjoy the city with friends before the concert.[30] She said in an interview: "Sarajevo has suffered and survived so much, I'm really glad to see positive people and happiness in this city".[31]


Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]





Tours and concerts[edit]


Residency concerts[edit]


  1. ^ "Lepa Brena: Nisam ni Hrvatica ni Srpkinja, ja sam Jugoslavenka ...". 
  2. ^ "Brena, bre". Vreme. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Lepa Brena biografija". Story. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Vlasnici muzike i stranih priznanja". Blic. 3 December 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  5. ^ IMDB
  6. ^ "Hajde da se volimo 1 (1987) - domaći film". Dodirnime. 30 March 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Lepa Brena: Ja sam obična žena koja oko sebe ne stvara nikakvu medijsku pompu". Svet. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6_L4R-YWGs
  9. ^ "Lepa Brena u Centralnom Dnevniku 1 dio". YouTube. May 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Lepa Brena u Centralnom Dnevniku 2 dio". YouTube. May 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "Lepa Brena official website". JednaJeBrena. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Prokletstvo uspeha". Vreme. 7 December 2000. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Otmica djeteta trajno ju je razboljela!". Dnevnik. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  15. ^ M. Majstorović (22 December 2010). "Press Daily". Pressonline.rs. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  16. ^ "Lepa Brena u uniformi Vojske Republike Srpske u Brčkom". 24sata. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Branitelji dijele slike Lepe Brene u srpskoj uniformi". Jutarnji. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Ne želimo Brenu, pjevala je za četnike!". Dubrovacki. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Zbog ovoga Lepu Brenu ne žele u BiH". Dalje. 22 May 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Lepa Brena nije četnikuša". ReginalExpress. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "Lepa Brena sahranila oca u Brčkom". Kurir. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  22. ^ "Lepa Brena završila u bolnici zbog tromba". SvetPlus. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "LEPA BRENA ZAVRŠILA U BOLNICI!". Smedia. 31 July 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Lepa Brena tri meseca ne sme da nastupa". SvetPlus. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  25. ^ "Lepa Brena objavila novi album! Poslušajte sve pesme!". Alo. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "Lepa Brena najavila novu pesmu i odala tajne!". Kurir-info. 27 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Pogledajte Breninu novu frizuru!". Alo. 26 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  28. ^ "NOVOGODIŠNJI HIT: Poslušajte novu pesmu Lepe Brene". Kurir-info. 28 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  29. ^ "Lepa Brena gost na koncertu Gorana Bregovića: Zajedno pevaju za Rome". Svetplus. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  30. ^ "Lepa Brena u duhu Orijenta: Oduševila sarajevsku publiku!". Svetplus. 20 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  31. ^ "Drago mi je kada vidim sreću u Sarajevu". Blic. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 

External links[edit]

New title Serbian Oscar Of Popularity
The Female Folk Singer of the Year

Succeeded by
Radmila Manojlović