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Darko Rundek (January 30, 1956) is a Croatian rock singer, songwriter, poet, and actor. His music career started in the early '80s, as the frontman of the world music influenced rock band Haustor. Living in France since 1991, he recorded five albums with various musicians from different parts of the world: Apokalipso, U širokom svijetu, Ruke, MHM A-HA OH YEAH DA-DA and Plavi avion.
Haustor was formed in 1979 by Srđan Sacher (bass), and Darko Rundek (guitar and vocals), with Zoran Perišić (drums) and Ozren Štiglić (guitar). Damir Prica (saxophone), Nikola Santro (trombone), and Zoran Vuletić (keyboards) completed the original Haustor line-up. They were open to reggae, Latin American music and African music influences and were one of the top bands of the rock scene in Yugoslavia, performing numerous concerts to thousands of spectators.
The band released four studio-recorded albums during the 80’s: Haustor in 1981, Treći Svijet (Third world) in 1984, Bolero in 1985 and Tajni Grad (Secret Town) in 1988; three singles: 'Moja prva ljubav' (My first love) in 1980, 'Zima' (Winter) in 1981 and 'Radio' in 1982. The live album Ulje je na vodi (Oil on the water) was recorded in 1982 and released in 1995, and 81-'88 (a 'Best of' compilation) was released in 1995.
Darko Rundek started his solo career in 1995 at the Croatian music festival Fiju Briju before an audience of 10,000 people, where he presented new musical material which was to be developed during the following series of concerts throughout Croatia.
With strong support from the record company Jabukaton, the album Apokalipso (apocalypse+calypso) was recorded in 1997 with a multitude of instruments and musicians. The album was stylistically very diverse, viewing the post-communist era with irony and poetry. Apokalipso was the music event of 1997 in Croatia. It won 5 Porins (song of the year, hit of the year, best male singer, best video clip, best vocal collaboration), and 4 Black Cats (song of the year for Apokalipso, best rock singer, best rock collaboration, best video clip).
The album U širokom svijetu turns more towards folkloric influences. Mandolin, bag pipes and tin whistle enhance the eclectic style of the songs. The global sound is more acoustic. The atmosphere is intimate and more introspective. The band which recorded it became more stable, and toured in Croatia and other ex-Yugoslavian countries.
The Ruke album grew out of the need to develop ideas in collaboration with other musicians through improvisation and exchange. Isabel, Đani Pervan, Dušan Vranić and Vedran Peternel started working on Darko Rundek's new songs; Isabel's mill in Burgundy in France, with her collection of exotic instruments, providing the perfect working environment. One year later, the album was recorded and simultaneously released by record labels Menart in Croatia and Metropolis in Serbia. Some songs are co-signed by different members of the group. On the promotion tour the band was completed with three more musicians and gradually developed into Darko Rundek & Cargo Orkestar.
Darko Rundek & Cargo Orkestar
The project initially stemmed from Darko Rundek's songs which are intrinsically poetic and rich in images. They also incorporate a musical tradition with a potential for accepting diverse influences, firstly Balkan music, Central European music and Mediterranean, then reggae, Latin American, eastern and African music.
Isabel (Swiss violinist), Đani Pervan (percussionist), Dušan Vranić (pianist), Vedran Peternel (sound-designer) and Darko, undertook a ten-day improvisation session in Isabel’s converted watermill on the outskirts of a small Burgundian village. When they finally laid down their instruments, they had the basis of the album Ruke (documented by the camera of Biljana Tutorov, whose video projections have become a feature of Cargo Orkestar’s concerts). Trumpetist Igor Pavlica (Darko’s old collaborator from the Haustor and solo periods), Emmanuel Ferraz (trombone player), and the bass player Bruno Arnal, joined Cargo Orkestar for the promotional tour in 2002.
In 2004 Ruke was published by Piranha Musik – Berlin, and distributed in 25 countries. The live album Zagrebačka magla came out in 2004 under the Menart-Zagreb label, and Mhm A-Ha Oh Yeah Da-Da was published in 2006 by german record label Piranha. For the concerts, Cargo mixes new and old from the rich repertoire of Rundek songs, always retaining a challenging and unpredictable atmosphere. The informal and open feel is as remarkable in small concert halls as it is in large stadiums.
Theatre, film and radio
In 1982 Darko Rundek obtained his diploma in theatre Directing from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb with his graduation performance of America Hurray! by J.C. Van Italie. He went on to direct a number of plays (They say the Owl Once Was the Baker’s Daughter; Three Slaps, Satires from Hekuba, No, Ballads of Petrica Kerempuh...), and also appeared occasionally as an actor. Darko’s principal role in the theatre remains that of composer, with more than 30 productions to his credit, ranging from intimate children’s theatre to international touring performances.
Darko Rundek has written and produced much film music, and has occasionally appeared as an actor (Doctor Kljaić in A View from Eiffel Tower, by N. Vukčević; Karlo in 100 minuta Slave, by D. Matanić; Youngster in The Eagle (Orao), by Z. Tadić, Marjan film). He played Herman in J. Burgerfor’s film Ruins (Ruševine), for which he was awarded best male film actor in Slovenia.
Between 1982 and 1991, Darko Rundek directed around 50 radio-plays and documentaries for the drama department of radio Zagreb, for which he also wrote the music. Some of these represented radio Zagreb at various international festivals: Prix Italia, Premios Ondas and Prix Futura.
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