Mizar (band)

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Mizar
Мизар
Origin Skopje, Macedonia
Genres Dark folk, avant-garde, dark wave
Years active 1981-1982
1985-1991
2003-present
Labels Helidon
Avalon
Associated acts Padot na Vizantija
Arhangel
Badmingtons
Members Gorazd Čapovski
Zoran Origjanski
Pece Kitanovski
Jana Burčeska
Past members Goran Trajkoski
Risto Vrtev
Boris Georgiev
Valentin Zabjakin
Panta Džambazoski
Goran Tanevski
Katerina Veljanovska
Eleonora Stojanović
Slobodan Stojkov
Ilija Stojanovski
Sašo Krstevski
Žarko Serafimovski
Vlatko Kaevski
Harmosini, (male byzantine choir)

Mizar (Macedonian: Мизар [miˈzar]) is a Macedonian rock band from Skopje. They achieved a status of a cult band, especially in Macedonia and across the Western Balkans.

The group is notable for its first self-titled album, as it was the first popular music in Western Balkans record in Macedonian language. The album was a major success and it is listed among the top ten rock albums ever released in Western Balkans.

Mizar was formed in 1981 in the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Because of the band's avant-garde sound and image, its Christian leanings and support for Macedonian self-determination, they were viewed with certain degree of suspicion by the former authorities. Still, the group received great media attention including numerous appearances on the national television.

Name[edit]

The band got its name after Mizar which is a guiding star for orientation of travelers in the deserts. The name was given by Panta Džambazoski.

Mizar music[edit]

Mizar's musical style is post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. Beside influences such as Joy Division for instance, Mizar also uses elements of Traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music. Another main part of their music is Goran's (both Tanevski and Trajkoski) vocals which are based on Christian church chants.

Story of the Mizar[edit]

In their long history Mizar has had 3 Revelations, all of them with different singers.

The First Revelation (Risto Vrtev)[edit]

Mizar were formed in 1981 in Skopje as an instrumental trio of Gorazd Chapovski on guitar, Valentin Zabjakin on bass and Panta Dzambazoski on drums. In late 1981, Zabjakin left the band and was replaced with Ilija Stojanovski. Risto Vrtev joined on vocals soon after. In 1982, the group recorded a demo tape for Radio Skopje. They then sent this tape to Jugoslovenski Rock Moment, who wrote a short but glowing review of the tape. The band then had to break up shortly after due to the members' Army commitments.

The Second Revelation (Goran Tanevski)[edit]

In 1985, when the members of Mizar returned from the army, Chapovski attempted to form a band called Inola-X with Vrtev, but it didn't work out. Mizar then reformed with Goran Tanevski in place of Vrtev and a new keyboardist, Slobodan Stojkov. They started to use elements of the traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music blended with post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. This phase of Mizar is known as Мизар - Второ Откровение (Mizar - The Second Revelation). Vrtev later founded Arhangel (Archangel) which was awarded as the best rock act in Macedonia during the 1990s. Arhangel inherited certain features of Mizar but with a more conventional rock approach which is why Arhangel was sometimes referred as the Rock Mizar. In 1986, the band filmed a music video for the song "Stoj".

In 1986, the band played the Druga Godba festival in Zagreb, but altercations within the band caused Dzambazoski and Stojkov to leave the group. They were replaced by Vencislav Smacoski and Goran Trajkovski respectively. This lineup played at Festival Omladina, with Vladimir Kaevski on keyboards, and contributed two live tracks to the festival's compilation. These tracks are the first appearance of Mizar on record. Trajkovski would later be replaced by Sasho Krstevski, while Stojkov was replaced by Katerina Veljanovska.

In 1986 they recorded a few demos and were a support act for Laibach and Disciplina Kičme on their Yugoslav tour. In 1987 they were awarded for their unique sound at the most significant rock music festival which was held in Subotica.

They released their first, self-titled album, in 1988 with the following line-up:

The producer was Goran Lisica-Fox. Beside their own songs, the album also included a cover version of the notable Macedonian folk song Zajdi, Zajdi under the title "Златно сонце" (Golden Sun). One of the best known songs from the album is "Девојка од Бронза" (Girl made of bronze).

By 1989, the lineup had stabilised to the following:

  • Goran Tanevski - vocals
  • Gorazd Chapovski - guitar
  • Ilija Stojanovski - bass
  • Zharko Serafimovski - drums
  • Vladimir Kaevski - keyboards

This lineup's first appearance on record was the Demoskop 1 compilation in late 1990, where they contributed two tracks, "Veligden" and "Glas". Between October and December 1990, the band recorded their second album, Svjat Dreams, releasing it on 7 September 1991, the day before Macedonia split from Yugoslavia. The title of the record is inspired by the song Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. On this album they covered the traditional song 1762 and a song written by Vrtev, the first singer of Mizar titled "Дом" (Home).

After the release of the band's second album Tanevski left the group and was replaced by the vocalist Nora, but soon by the end of the 1991 the band split. Tanevski got involved in organising concerts, Kaevski restored his old band Kiborg, while Čapovski left for Australia. There he formed Kismet in 1993 which is considered a sort of continuation of Mizar's work because the musical style was similar. In 1999, Serafimovski and Tanevski reissued Mizar on CD under the title Svedozhba, with bonus demo and live tracks, including a never-before-heard darker version of the song "Svjat Dreams" recorded in 1989 with Tanevski on all instruments and two unreleased live tracks, "Chifte chamche" and "Samo eden mig". Also included were a live version of the Svjat Dreams album track "Veligden" and three tracks from Svjat Dreams 1762-1991. The live tracks were recorded at a concert at Kurshumli An in 1990. In 1999, Čapovski returned to Macedonia and contributed two tracks to a tribute album dedicated to Mizar, which was released in 2001. In 2002, Kismet released an album called "Dreaming". The band broke up in that year.

The Third Revelation (Goran Trajkoski)[edit]

In 2001 a tribute album named Tribute to Mizar was released. It was a collection of Mizar cover versions by some of the most notable groups in Macedonia incl. Majakovski, the black death metal band Syniac and others. Two years later the first two albums of Mizar were re-released on CD solely for the Macedonian market, but the record quickly spread across the countries of former Yugoslavia. Beside the albums, the CD also contained demos and live recordings.

Mizar was reunited in early 2003 with their former member Goran Trajkoski as a vocalist, with whom, first they released the single Macedonian: "Почесна Стрелба" (Gun Salute). That summer they played at the Exit festival in Novi Sad and in the alternative club Močvara in Zagreb. The entrance tickets included give-away records featuring the new single. The following year a new album titled Terrible Beauty (is born) came out. During 2005 Mizar toured ex-Yugoslavia, August 2005 Mizar toured Croatia together with Croatian gothic band from Zagreb - Phantasmagoria, with its leader Tomi Edvard Sega. That was Jadran Tour - Pula (Viva La Pola! festival), Zadar (Maya Pub), Split (O'Hara Club), Dubrovnik (Lazareti) and in the beginning of November they visited Serbia and Montenegro playing in Pančevo, Belgrade and Kragujevac.

After Trajkoski[edit]

During the summer of 2006 the former Mizar vocalist Goran Tanevski replaced Goran Trajkoski. In the beginning of November that year Mizar played in Belgrade and announced their new album featuring Tanevski as a vocalist. The album Pogled na cvetnata gradina was completed and released in 2007.

In 2010, Tanevski left Mizar again and was replaced by the Byzantine choir Harmosini. The album Deteto i beloto more was released in 2010. The album contains a re-recording of "Hoden že" from Mizar's debut album.

In 2014, they were selected as the support band for Simple Minds' concert at the Kale hall in Skopje. Their new album, Šarena Krava (Coloured Cow) was announced at that concert. Šarena Krava returns the band to its punk rock roots, removing all traditional Macedonian instruments and patriotic lyrical themes. Harmosini have been replaced with Jana Burčeska, the second female singer in the history of Mizar since Nora Stojanovic's brief tenure with the band in 1991. One song from the album, "Nebo", was released on the Balkan Under the Radar vol. 2 compilation in 2014.

On 26 June 2015, the documentary Mizar: The Star of Hope was released, featuring interviews with members of early Mizar lineups and discussing a hitherto-unknown period in the life of the band: its beginnings in 1981 until 1986. Before the documentary, it was believed Mizar formed in 1983. This article has since been updated with the correct information.

To this day, Čapovski has remained the only constant member of Mizar since its formation in 1981.

Discography[edit]

Band members[edit]

Current band members (2014)[edit]

Former band members[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]