Ceca (singer)

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Ceca koncert ljubljana 2009.jpeg
Ceca performing in Ljubljana 2009
Svetlana Veličković

(1973-06-14) 14 June 1973 (age 45)
ResidenceBelgrade, Serbia
Years active1987–present
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
(m. 1995–2000)
Musical career
Associated acts

Svetlana Ražnatović (Serbian Cyrillic: Светлана Ражнатовић, pronounced [sʋětlana raʒnǎːtoʋit͡ɕ]; née Veličković/Величковић, [ʋělit͡ʃkoʋit͜ɕ] or [ʋelǐt͡ʃkoʋit͡ɕ]), known by her stage name Ceca (Цеца, [t͡sěːt͡sa]; born 14 June 1973) is a Serbian pop-folk singer.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Ceca was born Svetlana Veličković in the village of Žitorađa (Toplica District, Serbia) and lived with her parents, father Slobodan and mother Mira, until 1991, when she eloped to Switzerland with her boyfriend, Hajrudin Samardžić, at the age of 18. She has a younger sister named Lidija.[1]


Ceca had her first public appearance at the age of nine, in her hometown, and at the age of thirteen she sang in a hotel on the Montenegrin coast, while vacationing with her parents. Here, the acclaimed singer and accordion player Mirko Kodić noticed her, and helped her in recording her first studio album Cvetak zanovetak (The Little Nagging Flower, 1988). At the age of fifteen, she performed at the Ilidža Folk Music Festival in Sarajevo, at which her song "Cvetak zanovetak" won the competition, and became a hit. Ceca was mentored by Dobrivoje Ivanković, a composer and producer of folk music, who launched many careers in the 1970s and 1980s.

Her first two albums, Cvetak zanovetak (1988) and Ludo srce (Crazy Heart, 1989) were made in the traditional Serbian folk music style with some songs, such as "Volim te" (I Love You), having a more modern production. Pustite me da ga vidim (Allow Me to See Him), she quickly became a very popular teenage star and idol for many people in Serbia. Her third album, was a major hit in the former Yugoslavia. Ceca became the best-selling artist of the Belgrade TV's record label PGP-RTB and third best-selling female folk artist in Yugoslavia, behind Lepa Brena and Dragana Mirković. She continued in the same direction with her next album, Babaroga (1991) which included a music video for the song "Hej vršnjaci" (Hey Peers) composed of footage from her eighteenth birthday gala event.

At the age of 17, Ceca was cast in the role of Koštana, a gypsy singer and dancer, in Stojan Stojčić's directorial effort of Nečista krv (Impure Blood), a movie based on the works of Serbian playwright and novelist Borisav Stanković. Even though she had acted alongside actors such as Rade Šerbedžija, Ljuba Tadić, she felt that her role was unimportant and therefore asked for her scenes to be removed because of "low quality." The troubled production took years to complete and received poor critical reception upon its release in 1996.

She continued to work with Marina Tucaković, Dino Merlin and later with their young protégé Aleksandar Milić Mili, with whom she continues to work today. Her next three albums, Šta je to u tvojim venama (What Is In Your Veins?, 1993), Ja još spavam u tvojoj majici (I Still Sleep In Your Shirt, 1994) and Fatalna ljubav (Fatal Love, 1995), broadened her popularity and included hit songs such as "Nije monotonija" (It Is Not Monotony) and two covers of hit Hanka Paldum songs: "Tražio si sve" (You Wanted Everything) and "Volela sam volela" (I Loved, I Loved.) With a more modern production of music, music videos, and an evolving style, her popularity grew, as demonstrated by her 1996 album Emotivna luda (Emotionally Crazy) and 1997's Maskarada (Masquerade). The song "Nevaljala" (Naughty) from Maskarada became the number one hit in Serbia for seventeen consecutive weeks. Her recording schedule became erratic because of the birth of her two children, Veljko in 1996 and Anastasija in 1998, and having to deal with family tragedy.

She released her tenth studio album, Ceca 2000 (1999), which featured multiple hit songs: "Crveno" and two covers "Crni sneg" and "Sviće dan". Her eleventh album Decenija (Decade, 2001) had two hit songs, "Tačno je" (It's Correct) and the title track. Ceca's twelfth album was Gore od ljubavi (Worse Than Love), released in 2004, and her thirteenth studio album Idealno loša (Ideally Bad, 2006) contained the hit songs "Manta, manta" (Dizzy, Dizzy) and "Koža pamti" (Skin Remembers). In June 2006, she held a concert at Ušće in Belgrade in front of 120,000 people.[2] She released her fourteenth studio album Ljubav živi (Love Lives) in June 2011. In June 2013, she held a concert at Ušće in Belgrade in front of 150,000 people for her 40th birthday singing 47 songs for 4 hours, breaking her personal record.[3] In 2016 she released her fifteenth album, Autogram (Autograph, 2016).

Private life[edit]

Svetlana lived at home until her move to Switzerland in 1991, aged 18.[1] While performing for the Serb Volunteer Guard (SDG), a paramilitary force also known as Arkan's Tigers, in Erdut on 11 October 1993 during the Croatian War, she met her future husband, Željko "Arkan" Ražnatović, the unit commander and a career criminal, through pop singer Oliver Mandić. When the Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) was formed, she was asked by Arkan to perform.[4] He was married at the time, and the divorce that ended that marriage was finalized two months before their wedding. Arkan proposed to Ceca on 7 January 1995 and they married a month later, on 19 February. Ceca's parents were initially against the marriage. Their wedding was broadcast on television, made headlines in newspapers, and was portrayed by Serbian media as a "Serbian fairytale". They had two children, a son, Veljko, in 1996 and daughter, Anastasija, in 1998.[5] Arkan was shot on 15 January 2000 in a Belgrade hotel by four gunmen. Despite having been shot in the head, he remained alive for a brief period of time but died in Ceca's arms in the backseat of the car that was taking them to the emergency room. After fifteen months of mourning, she made her first public appearance in April 2001 in a television interview.

"A part of me died that day... I will always love him, and only him, I'm sure of that...", she said in the interview.

Public image[edit]


Ceca was appointed the honorary president of the Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) formed by her late husband, Željko Ražnatović (Arkan). She has not been politically active and claims to have only accepted the position in honor of her deceased husband. After clashing with the president of the party, Borislav Pelević, on many issues, Ceca withdrew herself from politics completely.[1]

On the night of 17 March 2004, Ceca and Kristijan Golubović (close associate of Arkan) gathered demonstrators in front of the government building in Belgrade to speak about the situation in Kosovo and the burning of more than 300 Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo.[1]

Despite having a significant fanbase in Croatia, Ceca is officially banned from entering this country due to being proclaimed persona non grata. In one interview she stated that because of that, she always remains careful while picking her travel routes.[6]


Ceca is the president of the "Third Child" humanitarian fund. Her organizations prime goal is to increase the birthrate in Serbia and to help families who already have three or more children. She has held several humanitarian concerts raising money for food, clothing, and sundries to benefit the Serbs in Kosovo, after the 2004 unrest in Kosovo in March 2004.[1]

Legal issues[edit]

Reformist Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić was assassinated on 12 March 2003, prompting Serbian authorities to launch Operation Sablja. Ceca's luxury Belgrade home was raided as part of the crackdown on the network of criminals and nationalists behind the assassination.[7] The raid led to a thorough investigation. She was arrested on 17 March 2003 and charged with illegal possession of multiple firearms. Ceca was one of dozens of people detained in the crackdown and she spent three months in prison. She also claimed the firearms were brought to the house by her late husband.[citation needed]

In 2011, Ražnatović pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of euros from the transfers of players from the football club FK Obilić, which she inherited from her late husband, and again illegal possession of eleven weapons. Ceca had sold fifteen players of FK Obilić to several international football clubs (such as Fenerbahçe). Serbian state prosecutors accused her of taking for personal use an illegal share in the sale of fifteen players. Ceca denied having been involved in any kind of illegal activities, saying that her late husband was responsible for FK Obilić and that the eleven illegally possessed weapons found in her home also belonged to him.[8] Under a plea bargain, Ražnatović was ordered to spend eight months under house arrest, avoiding the maximum sentence that the charges against her could have carried, 12 (twelve) years in prison.[9][10]


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • To Miki, To (1990)
  • Babaroga (1991)
  • Kukavica + Tašmajdan (1993)
  • Hala Pionir (1995)
  • Marakana (2002)
  • Live Ušće (2006)
  • Live Ušće 2 (2013)

Remix albums[edit]


  • Sve O Ceci... (All of Ceca...) (1993)
  • Svadba Decenije (Wedding Of The Decade) (1995)
  • Impure blood... (1996)
  • Usce Live DVD (2006)
  • Making Of "Gore Od Ljubavi" (2004)
  • Ceca specijal (Ceca Special) (2012)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Beauty and the beast". Guardian. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2004.
  2. ^ http://www.svet.rs/vesti/estrada/ceca-raznatovic-okupila-vise-fanova-na-uscu-od-madone
  3. ^ "Ceca "zapalila" Ušće, pevala za 150.000 ljudi".
  4. ^ "Ceca & SSJ" (in Serbian). Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Žitije sa pevanjem i pucanjem". Vreme. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2005.
  6. ^ "Ceca, Persona Non Grata u Hrvatskoj 'Mogu se samo nasmijati na njihove zabrane, nisam se nimalo potresla. Moja brojna publika iz RH uvijek nađe put do mene'". jutarnji.hr. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
  7. ^ "Serbian Pop Diva Investigated Over Soccer Transfers". rferl. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  8. ^ Vulliamy, Ed (29 March 2011). "Serbian singer Ceca charged with embezzlement". London: The Guardian.
  9. ^ "Serbian pop singer Ceca, widow of warlord Arkan, avoids jail term". Guardian. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Ceca u kućnom pritvoru". RTS. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2011.

External links[edit]