Music and Friends – Nostalgia for Dubrovnik in the Coronavirus Age

Total Croatia News

April the 30th, 2020 – Coronavirus. Isolation. Social distancing. Missed hugs. Missing people, at least one coffee with friends. From the bed to the kitchen and back is the typical distance made these days. The world is going virtual. All other things we are living through in these so deeply and radically different times.

The e-mail was quite short and adamant. It began with: ‘I told you that you would sing in public again”. (What?). It included, all quite dryly, the links to the score with and without the lyrics, a very brief explanation of the idea and the requirement to submit the part within 24 hours. That was all.

The message was from Djelo Jusic Jr., whose late father was one of the most popular authors of light music Croatia has ever had. Djelo Jr. is an accomplished musician and accompanist himself, born and raised in Dubrovnik. 

Coronavirus-induced confinement enhances emotions, nostalgia included.

”I felt so distant from Dubrovnik and my friends, wondering how they are, what they’re doing, missing their company, missing the spontaneous singing under the arches of the Rector’s Palace. The impact of the restriction of movement made it even worse. Everything felt so distant. So, this song came to my mind, many times over the days and all these years, actually, as it is precisely about nostalgia and to me is one of the four or five most beautiful songs dedicated to Dubrovnik ever written.”

Mario Nardelli, wrote the song ”Last night when I closed my eyes” exactly 43 years ago. Loosely, he wonders how are his friends doing, where they are at all, and is he going to see them ever again to share music and the dawns on the beach together. If he is never to come back home, his friends are asked to sing this very song occasionally as it is the only thing that can bring back happiness into their friend away in some distant and unknown land.

Djelo’s list of us to take part started easily: ”Last night…” was first performed in Dubrovnik by two of us on Djelo’s list: Sergio Gjivoje and Mario Romanovic, both living in the USA, 43 years ago!

”My wife Paula and I had done something similar for the disastrous floods in Gunja and other places some years ago, and this idea with ”Last night…” clicked in an instant. The experience taught me to allocate a part of the song to each participant and set a deadline for the submission of the material and nothing else. If you give them time, they would each have their remarks, questions, suggestions. This way, there is time for nothing but for pure emotion.”

When it came up on YouTube two days later, this proved so true. Not only inside me, but inside so many people who either commented or called in gratitude for the tears this little big undertake provoked. So here is the never rehearsed, just purely emotional memory of a number of us people from Dubrovnik scattered around the world to our friends and to our own memories of those unforgettable dawns on the beach.

We secretly hope this music inspires you to send your own most beautiful nostalgic thoughts to your friends back home and to share a song with them, even if only virtually, inside your heart.

Watch the video below:

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, follow our dedicated section.


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