“Did I ever tell you that I loved you?!
That I love you every day, every hour, every moment…”
The sudden death of Karlo Metikoš on 10th December, 1991, as well as the turbulent beginning of the 90s, substantially changed the context of her work. In the years that followed she organised a series of concerts dedicated to Karlo, a tradition which has continued to this day.
The first of these concerts, entitled “The rhythm of the rain” (“Ritam kiše”), after a hit by Matt Collins (Karlo Metikoš), was held on the first anniversary of his death, in 1992, in the concert hall Istra in the Zagreb Youth Theatre (ZKM). This project, a kind of Karlofest, directly involved about fifty artists, which, at the time, was unprecedented in the music scene. Many generations of musicians gathered at the concert – from Arsen Dedić, 4M, Crveni koralji, to Neno Belan, Dino Dvornik and Psihomodopop – confirming Karlo’s ubiquity in Croatian music, first as a singer and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer, and then as a pop music songwriter and producer. The audio recording of this concert was released in 1994 as the album The rhythm of the rain, and in the following year it won the Porin award for best compilation album outside of classical music.
In the following years, from December to December, singing in honour of Karlo, Josipa kept changing the concept of this traditional concert delight.
“Concert in honour of Karlo Metikoš” (“Koncert u čast Karla Metikoša”) from 1994 (released on CD and awarded the Porin for best female vocal performance) was the beginning of Josipa’s collaboration with maestro Igor Kuljerić. With his arrangements, written for the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of HRT, he breathed new life into Karlo’s compositions. Their collaboration continued in 1997, when they worked together on the concert remake of the rock opera Gubec Beg. This project was realised as a sort of combination of music and acting.
On the tenth anniversary of Karlo’s death, in 2001, Josipa, in the same concert hall, with ten candles on the stage, performed with a band of musicians of the younger generation (Gojko Tomljanović ‒ keyboards, piano, organ; Josip Grah ‒ trumpet, accordion; Borna Šercar ‒ drums, percussion; Davor Ivelić ‒ bass guitar; Robert Vnuk ‒ guitar). A part of the audio recording from this concert, together with excerpts of the concert recordings from Ljubljana’s Križanke and Maribor’s Lent Festival, was released in 2002, on a double CD edition entitled Josipa Lisac LIVE. (Her first live album came out in 1992 ‒ Live in Lap.)
On Karlo’s birthday, 8th February, 2005, Josipa once again recalled his songwriting work. The idea for the concert was to combine Karlo’s compositions from Gubec Beg with songs from world-famous musicals. Thus, along with arias from Gubec Beg, she chose the works of some of the most important composers of musicals: S. Sondheim, K. Weill, L. Bernstein and others. This was again accomplished with the Symphony Orchestra and Choir of HRT, under the direction of maestro Tonči Bilić, all together on the stage of the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb.
The following December, her loyal fans lured her back to the stage of the Croatian National Theatre for the “Concert of love” (“Koncert ljubavi”). This time, with the help of theatre director Dora Ruždjak-Podolski, Josipa dressed her songs in the colours of the four seasons, which, at the same time, served as the framework for Josipa’s appearance and the entire stage design of this extraordinary evening. The film recording of “Concert of Love”, from a performance at HNK in 2006, was released on DVD the following year and represents Josipa’s first DVD release. It won the Porin award for best video recording (director Ivan Miladinov).
On Valentine’s Day, 2009, 17 years after the first concert was held in honour of Karlo Metikoš, at the Zagreb Youth Theatre it was, once again, a Day for Love. As in 1992, the first anniversary of Karlo’s death, life was in fact celebrated with music. Officially called “Day of love” (“Dan za ljubav”), this concert was all the more special in that it also served to promote Josipa’s new studio album, I live my way (Živim po svome). The event was characterised, as was the album, by appearances from renowned guests from the worlds of classical and jazz music: David Gazarov and Joe Kaplowitz on piano and local jazz giant Boško Petrović.
The occasion of the 20th anniversary of Karlo’s death was marked by the release of Story (Priča) (2011) ‒ a comprehensive box set which collected together Karlo’s memoirs, which were published in 1971 by Plavi vjesnik under the title For two suitcases of glory (Za dva kovčega slave), musical scores of 27 of his compositions Book of songs (Knjiga pjesama), and a double CD Matt Collins ‒ The Ultimate Collection of 40 original recordings. The promotion for Story, as an art performance with the pertinent title “Life is just a bridge” (“Život je samo most”), took place in the theatre Kerempuh (formerly Varieté) ‒ the same place where our rock pioneer, at Prvi pljesak (a musical competition) singing “some American songs”, started his impressive musical career and life story. The art performance was composed of a commemorative documentary about Karlo, a dance performance by the ensemble of Snježana Abramović, verses from the poet Sonja Manojlović and anecdotes which were shared with the audience by Karlo’s friend and collaborator Ivica Krajač. Josipa provided the finishing touch with an impressive performance of “Jana’s madness” (“Janino ludilo”), accompanied by the pianist Željko Vlahović.
Not parting from the tradition of organising concerts in memory of Karlo Metikoš and his work, Josipa, expressing herself through music, conveyed messages of love and asked us to not forget our loved ones. At concerts she is often known to say: “Every time we must start afresh… Tomorrow again we must start afresh…” Telling us that every day is a new struggle, she doesn’t forget to point out that beauty and struggle are condensed into challenges, new opportunities and still undiscovered worlds.
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