Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Korni Grupa - same (1972) aka Put Za Istok @320

Having left INDEXI from Sarajevo, the keyboard player Kornelije Kovac moved to Belgrade where he formed KORNI GRUPA in 1968. He was led by ambition to compose "progressive" music, but the Yugoslavian public of the time still demanded lighter music, so the band started recording radio-friendly pop hit-singles. After several personnel changes, the first important line-up consisted of Kornelije Kovac (keyboards), Bojan Hreljac (bass), Vladimir Furduj (drums), Josip Bocek (guitar) and Dado Topic (vocals). At this time they managed to record several lengthy progressive compositions while maintaining their high-profile as popular hit-makers. The hit-single of 1970 "Trla Baba Lan" was a huge success, even internationally when French singer’s Dalida released its cover version. Topic left the band in 1971 when he founded another prog band in Zagreb - TIME. For a short time his replacement was a young singer from Sarajevo, Zdravko Colic, who soon dropped to pursue a successful solo career, becoming the biggest pop-star in Yugoslavia during the 1970s. The new vocalist soon became Zlatko Pejakovic and he led the final line-up of KORNI GRUPA which was to record three LP albums of prog rock prior to their break-up in 1974. The same year saw them appearing at the Eurosong Contest in Brighton, performing their hit "My Generation", while the winner was "Waterloo" by a Swedish quartet called ABBA. The style of KORNI GRUPA can be described as a cross between symphonic progressive rock and jazz fusion, not counting their pop singles discography. Of the Yugoslavian bands of the era, similar music style can be heard listening to INDEXI or TIME.
The first album "Korni Grupa" was released in 1972 and appeared to be the 4th (fourth) LP record of rock music issued in Yugoslavia ever! It was quite a revolutionary step keeping in mind the ambitious musicianship showcased on this album. The music was close to jazz-fusion with virtuosity playing by Kovac, Bocek and Pejakovic. This is one of the most important records of the entire Yugoslavian rock catalogue! The second album "Not An Ordinary Life" was recorded in Italy in 1974 and targeted the international market. The band was renamed THE CORNELIANS and the lyrics were sung in English, but it sold poorly. More important was the lesser creativity than on the debut. Here the sound was closer to symphonic prog, mirroring influences from YES for instance, but it often sounded empty and pretentious. Disappointed by a lack of success, Kovac decided to disband KORNI GRUPA after the last concert in Novi Sad, in November 1974. The third album "Mrtvo More" was released post-humuous as the first Yugoslavian double LP. The first record contained parts of their farewell concert in Novi Sad, while the second record was a sort of "best of" collection of their pop singles. KORNI GRUPA briefly reunited in 1987, with Dado Topic as singer, for a one-off gig in Zagreb, together with INDEXI, TIME, YU GRUPA, Drago Mlinarec and R.M. Tocak. A double LP "Legende Yu Rocka" (Jugoton 1987) was soon released as a document and this concert was repeated in Belgrade the same year.
For any serious prog fan, the first eponymous album of KORNI GRUPA is highly recommended as a pioneering effort of progressive music in ex-Yugoslavia, while the completists will find also many fine moments in other two albums, even though they are not essential. Worth mentioning is a compilation CD "Prvo Svetlo Neobicnog Zivota", issued 1996, which contains some of their first progressive compositons from 1969-70, which were not available on any previous release. (progarchives)

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Please live a comment


Anonymous said...

I have been looking for this album for a long time. My friend from the area told me about this one. For me this is one of the best works from eastern Europe.

rockanthology said...

surely, I agree with you