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|Birth name||Alija Islamović|
17 August 1957 |
Sokolac, PR Bosnia and Herzegovina, FPR Yugoslavia
|Origin||Bihać, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia|
|Genres||Pop-rock · Rock · Pop-folk|
|Instruments||Bass, vocals, guitar|
|Associated acts||Bijelo Dugme, Divlje jagode, Srčani udar, Lepa Brena, Indira Radić|
Alija "Alen" Islamović (born 17 August 1957) is a Bosnian musician and singer. Islamović is best known as the vocalist for the bands Divlje jagode from 1979 to 1986 and Bijelo Dugme from 1986 to 1989.
Islamović was born to Bosniak parents in Sokolac, a hamlet approximately five kilometres from the city of Bihać, found in the northwestern part of today's Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until Islamović was two and a half years of age his family lived in Sokolac. However, when his father found work in Bihać the whole family moved to the city. Islamović first accessed music through his brother who brought a gramophone home in the late 1960s.
He learned to play guitar guided by his elder brother, and in 1974 he began playing bass guitar in a band called Bag. He started singing because his brother had lots of LP records so he was able to learn the lyrics.
Soon, Islamović's local popularity grew as did his band's gig activity and he performed many concerts in the local region. In addition to Bihać, Bag performed in places like Prijedor, Drvar, Sanski Most, and Banja Luka, earning decent sums of money that way. He fancied music of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Bijelo Dugme.
When his band dissolved, Alen started playing football in Jedinstvo from Bihać, then a second league club. After he served the army, Sead Lipovača invited him to Divlje jagode. Start with Divlje jagode was very difficult, but it eventually paid off as the band became very successful hard rock act throughout many parts of Yugoslavia. They were so promising that in April 1984 (when Željko Bebek left Bijelo Dugme) Alen turned down Goran Bregović's offer to sing in Bijelo Dugme (this was partly result of his fear that Bebek might return to Dugme), and Divlje jagode (now called Wild Strawberries) where one step away from becoming world-famous. But, everything failed, Divlje jagode fell apart and Alen returned to Bihać and decided get a traditional job and forget about the music. But then came another offer from Goran Bregović (when Tifa left Dugme) and this time Alen accepted.
At the time, vocal capabilities of the last singer of Bijelo Dugme were questioned when it came to comparasion with former two singers. Goran Bregović reportedly invited Alen to join the band mainly for his healthy lifestyle (he allegedly stated that he had enough of drunkards and drug addicts).
Goran was right, and Alen didn't let fame get to him. After each tour he returned home to Bihać where he'd run his bar, fish, and play table tennis. In 1989 he left the Bijelo Dugme tour without notifying anybody from the band. He returned home in order to cure a kidney problem he developed on the road, forcing the cancellation of the rest of the tour. Although it seemed like minor postponement at the time, it actually turned out to be the end of Bijelo Dugme. Soon the war started and the band went into 15-year hiatus.
After getting back to good health, Islamović initially used this time off to record a 1989 solo album Haj, nek se čuje, haj, nek se zna. Except for the title song, the record received a lukewarm public response and was soon forgotten. When the war started in Bosnia, he fled Bihać for Zagreb. He is still active and performs mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and occasionally in the neighbouring countries as well. Islamović also plays gigs throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where he is popular amongst the gastarbeiter communities from the former Yugoslavia. His repertoire consists mainly of Bijelo Dugme songs, he is regarded as one-man tribute band to Bijelo Dugme.
Alen took part in a duet with turbofolk singer Indira Radić on her album Pocrnela burma (2002). The song they recorded together, "Lopov", went on to become a huge commercial hit. He would later do two more duets with her: the 2007 song "Imali smo, nismo znali" for her album Lepo se provedi and again for a single in 2011 called "Ljubav stara".
Islamović released the song "Mrtvo hladno" in February 2005 and the full album of the same name was released on April 2005 with a Canadian band called "Srčani Udar" (English translation: "Heart Attack"). The album featured 11 songs and a DVD bonus with two music videos and a 30-minute documentary "in the making".
In October 2006, Islamović joined Željko Bebek and Tifa in a Bijelo Dugme tribute band called "B.A.T. Together", they performed on numerous stages around the world between 2006 and 2010. B.A.T.'s 2006 U.S.-Canadian tour was filmed for a documentary titled B.A.T.: Balkan Rock Nostalgia, directed by Branislav R. Tatalovic.
During 2012, a new single, "Heroin", along with two music videos, was released. It was written by Dejan Djurković Englez, lead guitar player of "Srčani Udar". This was an announcement for Islamović's next studio album.
On August 15, 2013, Islamović appeared at the Belgrade Beer Fest, with Kad bi bio Bijelo Dugme band, performing Bijelo Dugme songs, as well as his own solo material. This was his first large Belgrade show after many years, and second in front of thousands of people, after Bijelo Dugme concert at Belgrade Hippodrome in 2005.
In 2014, Islamović released his new studio album entitled Alcatraz. This was his first new material since 2005, and album Mrtvo Hladno with "Srčani Udar". The album was released on March through City Records.
Islamović, along with Goran Bregović, united once again in June 2014, for a Bijelo Dugme live concert at Ljubljana. What was initially planned as a 40th-anniversary reunion tour throughout entire region, came down only to the two of them, after financial disagreement with other members. After successful show in front of more than 10,000 people, entire tour is planned, in Europe and United States, with Islamović and Bregović as only members.
In 2017, Islamović, along with Tifa, Bregović, and Bregović's Wedding and Funeral Orchestra, reunited for a United States tour under the Bijelo Dugme moniker. They played in Chicago on 23 November 2017, Atlanta on 24 November 2017, and New Jersey on 25 November 2017.
Islamović currently lives in Bihać. He is married and has two daughters. He funded the making of the Una Gem Tennis club in Bihać and is president of it.
with Divlje Jagode
with Bijelo Dugme
- Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo (1986)
- Mramor, kamen i željezo (1987)
- Ćiribiribela (1988)
- Turneja: Sarajevo-Zagreb-Beograd (2004)
- Ko ne poludi ,taj nije normalan (2016)
with 4 Asa
- "Ljubavna priča iz Dubrovnika" (2002)
- "Live (2003)"
- "Nakon svih ovih godina" (2004)
with Srčani Udar
- Mrtvo hladno (2005)
- Haj, nek se čuje, haj, nek se zna (1989)
- Gdje je moj rođeni brat (1992)
- Hitovi (1994)
- Bauštelac (1994)
- Nema meni bez tebe (1995)
- Live Eurotour (1996)
- Samo nebo zna (1999)
- Divlje Dugme (2000)
- Istok, zapad, sjever, jug (2001)
- Hitovi za sva vremena (2005)
- 30 godina sa vama (2011)
- Alcatraz (2014)
- "Jugoslovenka" - with Lepa Brena on her album Četiri godine (1989)
- "Lopov" - with Indira Radić on her album Pocrnela burma (2002)
- "Imali smo, nismo znali" - with Indira Radić on her album Lepo se provedi (2007)
- "Ljubav stara" - with Indira Radić on her album Istok, sever, jug i zapad (2011)
- "Obećaj mi" - with Sanja Doležal (2011)
- "Još se branim ćutanjem" - with Milica Pavlović (2016)