Remembering Oliver Dragojević: Croatia Honors Iconic Singer on 4th Death Anniversary

Daniela Rogulj

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Photo: Ivo Cagalj/PIXSELL
Photo: Ivo Cagalj/PIXSELL

The famed and favorite Croatian singer forever closed his eyes in the early morning hours of July 29, 2018, following a tough battle with lung cancer discovered in August 2017.

Oliver Dragojević left behind his wife Vesna, sons Dino, Davor, and Damir, five grandchildren, and numerous bereaved colleagues and fans. The day of his death was proclaimed a national day of mourning, and for his final farewell in Split on July 31,  2018, tens of thousands of people paid their respects in a spectacle that will be remembered and recounted for many years to come.

Hajduk Split fan group Torcida said goodbye to the musician by lighting a flare with Oliver’s image from the bell tower of Sv. Duje, and for the last time, Oliver embarked on his final journey to his hometown Vela Luka with hundreds of boats decorating the sea. Oliver was buried in Vela Luka on August 2, per his wishes, and locals paid their respects for days, leaving flowers in front of the home where he was born.

Oliver’s wife Vesna penned an emotional letter to the singer on the 4th anniversary of his passing:

“Our dear dida. We are all here. 14 of us. Your friends are also here today. Lots of them. Today is a day for songs, not for crying,” she began.

“Everyone is contacting us, and your fans are coming. They are talking in all languages, and I nod my head; I assume they are praising you. You left us a big burden. Now they have shifted to me. You know I have been skillfully avoiding it.

I’ve painted more pictures of myself in one year than in my whole life. Today is a big concert. I know you’d enjoy playing and drinking, but they’re doing it for you this time. Lots of young people and your old friends.

I know you don’t like all this pomp about you. We’re just observers, and we’re not part of the organization. I know what you’d say, but I won’t say anything. There’s nothing new with us. We continued as we lived with you. If we ever meet, you’ll pay us for this. We love you until the end of our lives,” Vesna concluded.

Vesna and Oliver met in the summer of 1973 and married just ten months later, in March 1974. She stayed with him until his death. Oliver once even admitted that he would not have married Vesna if they had met after he became famous as he would have thought she was with him for money.

On July 29, the now traditional “Trag u beskraju” concert will be held on the Vela Luka waterfront to honor the Croatian singer. Many Croatian musicians will perform his most popular songs.

Schedule of events for July 29

09:00 Wreath-laying at the local Sv. Rok Cemetary
10:00 Recital at Sv. Josip Church
Performers: Matija Cvek & Ante Gelo & Sequentia Quartet
21:00 Concert “Trag u beskraju” on the waterfront in Vela Luka with a live broadcast on HRT1
Performers: Zorica Kondža, Doris Dragović, Tedi Spalato, Petar Grašo, Petar Dragojević, Eli Žuvela, Iva Ajduković, Jure Brkljača, Matija Cvek, Igor Drvenkar, Alen Đuras, Sabrina Hebiri, Dino Jelusić, Marko Kutlić, Stjepan Lach, Lorena Bućan, Josip Palameta, Dino Petrić, Bruna Oberan, Sequentia Quartet

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