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Turbo-folk is a musical genre based on a mixture of Serbian folk music with modern pop music elements (and even elements from the Puerto Rican reggaeton and the Jamaican dancehall at times), with similar styles in Greece (Skyladiko), Bulgaria (Chalga), Romania (Manele) and Albania (Tallava). Having mainstream popularity in Serbia, and although closely associated with Serbian performers, the genre is widely popular in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Montenegro.


According to this persuasion, turbo folk and Serbian involvement in Bosnian and Croatian conflicts would become inextricably linked from then on.[2] This left-wing section of Serbian and Croatian society explicitly viewed turbo folk as vulgar, almost pornographic kitsch, glorifying crime, moral corruption and nationalist xenophobia. In addition to making a connection between turbofolk and "war profiteering, crime & weapons cult, rule of force and violence", in her book Smrtonosni sjaj (Deadly Splendor) Belgrade media theorist Ivana Kronja[3] refers to its look as "aggressive, sadistic and pornographically eroticised iconography".[4] Along the same lines, British culture theorist Alexei Monroe calls the phenomenon "porno-nationalism".[5] However, turbo-folk was equally popular amongst the South Slavic nations during the brutal wars of the 1990s, reflecting perhaps the common cultural sentiments of the warring sides.[4]

Graffiti against Ceca turbofolk music in Imotski, Croatia: "Turn off all the 'Cecas'/Light up the candles/Vukovar will never/Be forgotten"

Anto Đapić (former mayor of Osijek, and national leader of the right-wing Croatian Party of Rights) has declared "as long as I am mayor, there will be no nightclub-singers [cajki] or turbofolk parades in a single municipal hall".[6]

The resilience of a turbo-folk culture and musical genre, often referred to as the "soundtrack to Serbia’s wars",[7] was and to a certain extent still is, actively promoted and exploited by commercial TV stations, most notably on Pink and Palma TV-channels, which devote significant amount of their broadcasting schedule to turbo-folk shows and music videos.

Others, however, feel that this neglects the specific social and political context that brought about turbo-folk, which was, they say, entirely different from the context of contemporary western popular culture. In their opinion, turbo-folk served as a dominant paradigm of the "militant nationalist" regime of Slobodan Milošević, "fully controlled by regime media managers".[8] John Fiske feels that during that period, turbo-folk and its close counterpart Serbian pop-dance had a monopoly of officially permitted popular culture, while, according to him, in contrast, Western mass media culture of the time provided a variety of music genre, youth styles, and consequently ideological positions.[9]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ An umbrella term covering Balkan; Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Romanian, Greek, and Turkish music.
  2. ^ "In These Times 25/07 -- Serbia's New New Wave". Inthesetimes.com. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Film Criticism". Filmcriticism.allegheny.edu. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Komentari". Nspm.rs. Retrieved 23 April 2017.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Central Europe Review - Balkan Hardcore". Ce-revieww.org. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Catherine Baker, "The concept of turbofolk in Croatia: inclusion/exclusion in the construction of national musical identity"" (PDF). Eprints.soton.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  7. ^ Gordana Andric (15 June 2011). "Turbo-folk Keeps Pace with New Rivals". Balkaninsight.com. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Explore Taylor & Francis Online". Maney.co.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  9. ^ John Fiske, Television Culture, February 1988, ISBN 0-415-03934-7


External links[edit]