50 years since the release of Šerbedžija’s first album Ne daj se, Ines

27. 06. 2024

The first concert of the 72nd Ljubljana Festival at the Križanke Summer Theatre will feature the legendary musician Rade Šerbedžija, who is also one of the biggest acting names from the former Yugoslavia. We have seen him in Hollywood blockbusters such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, X-Men: First Class and Mission: Impossible 2. As a musician, he has entertained audiences in Slovenia on numerous previous occasions with his group Zapadni Kolodvor. This latest concert, on 28 June, promises to be another unforgettable evening.

He will perform a broad selection of songs from his extensive catalogue, dating all the way back to 1974, the year he released his first album. As always, he will intersperse his songs of “love, friendship and feelings” – which can be variously characterised as hits, evergreen favourites, “old town songs” (starogradske pesme) and chansons – with interludes of prose and poetry. He will be joined on stage by the pianist and composer Vasil Hadžimanov, the guitarist and improviser Miroslav Tadić and the violinist and singer Yvette Holzwarth. Another guest of the evening will be Jure Ivanušič, with whom Šerbedžija performs regularly around Europe.

The concert will also feature two surprise guests, whose names will remain secret for the time being. But it is no secret that the legendary Hollywood actor will be singing at Križanke for his friend and fellow actor Milena Zupančič. “She has promised to come . . . Even if she doesn’t, I will sing for her . . . I want to help her return as soon as possible and inspire us again with her endless talent,” says Šerbedžija of the Slovene acting legend.

This year marks 50 years since the release of his debut album Ne daj se, Ines (Don’t give up, Ines), the title track of which is a nostalgic song of love and a farewell to youth. Written by the famous singer-songwriter Arsen Dedić, the song was first interpreted by Šerbedžija, with his distinctive and charming voice, and has now effectively become a standard. “Even before we recorded that song, people adored it at live concerts,” remembers Šerbedžija. “Then over the years they ‘stole’ it from us, with the result that it is no longer ours. Now it belongs to the audience and, in a way, to itself. It has simply become a legend and a kind of trademark of youth.”

In the days before Friday’s big concert, Šerbedžija told us: “The song Ne daj se, Ines is a hymn to youth, for which Arsen and I can take equal credit. He wrote it, but I took it out on the road, among people who wanted real emotions, sincerity, love… It is part of the setlist at every concert we play. It has become perhaps the most enduringly popular hit from the former Yugoslavia, a song could be said to connect and unite our disunited nations. My friend Vlado Kreslin is also an essential guest at all my concerts … Even when he’s not there, he’s still somehow with me… That’s how it is with true friendships.” Could this be a clue to the identity of one of Rade Šerbedžija’s two surprise guests?