“Moj Brat” – Arsen Dedic (1966)

Moj Brat

Although the “Split Festival” in 1966 received mixed reviews from music critics at the time, the consensus was that Arsen Dedic, a man of music, a wonderful poet, and an inspired composer, shone brightly and accurately at the event.

Following the rendition of the song “Moj brat,” the prevailing sentiment among the audience in the Split hall was that Yugoslavia had better composers than vocal soloists from that moment onward. Out of the 20 songs performed (out of the 200 initially submitted to the competition), which were expected to combine elements of the Adriatic musical style with other entertainment-oriented components, as per the festival’s guidelines, only Dedic’s composition fully met the festival’s criteria, while all the others fell short.

Moj Brat
Split Festival 1966 / Photographer: Stjepan Shimic

However, to the dismay of everyone in the audience, the best, most comprehensive, and most impressive performance of the festival, the composition “Moj brat” (music and lyrics by Arsen Dedic, arranged by Nikica Kalogjera), was only awarded third place!

The jury’s decision is even more deserving of condemnation if we take into account that Dedic composed this song according to his characteristic poetic style for top achievements. Few people know that the song was inspired by the difficult life path of his own brother, Milutin Dedic, who, unlike Arsen, led a diverse life. Milutin lived for some time in Belgrade, initially doing hard physical work and residing in shacks. Later he became a painter, art historian, scholar, and a famous figure in Belgrade’s bohemian scene. That’s why, later on, journalists who were well-acquainted with the artistic souls of both Arsen and his brother Milutin, publicly declared that “there’s no need to read any biography about the painter Milutin; just listening to the 1966 song should help everyone understand the kind of person he was.”

Арсен Дедиќ
Arsen Dedic – Photo taken from “Jukebox” no. 5 of 03/09/1966

Arsen Dedic was the first composer who had the courage to insert his “I” into one of the titles of his music releases, specifically in the LP “Chovjek kао ја” (A man like myself). Moreover, he was the first performer in Yugoslavia to sing openly and impartially about his own brother at a prestigious and top-tier festival. This act demonstrated the depth of his poetic talent and his ability to beautifully describe his brother’s life, portraying him as a bohemian with an endlessly creative spirit and a restless soul.

What God did not give to Arsen (the gift of painting), his brother had, and conversely, what Milutin did not have (the gift of poetry), Arsen had! All that Arsen did not get to sing, his brother Milutin wrote and painted.

After the Split Festival in 1966, Arsen Dedic’s departure to France, possibly due to the disappointment of the jury’s decision, must have been a significant moment in his career. Whether it was a temporary expression of anger or a genuine plan to stay forever in France, his eventual return to Zagreb allowed him to continue his successful career in music.

split 66
Festival’s poster

In memory of the two artists – Arsen and Milutin Dedic, in memory of some distant times, in memory of boundless brotherly love, tears, and emotions, let’s listen to the song “Moj brat” from 1966 with the beautiful lyrics, written by the diligent hands and the brilliant mind of the masterful Arsen Dedic:

(Croatian language)
„Ko zna gdje si, na kojem od mora,
Ko zna gdje si, na kojem od kopna,
Da li sam ili negdje ko i mi imaš dom,
Uvijek voljan da daš sve nizašta,
Dal te sumnjiva društva još vode,
Da im pričaš i vino im plaćaš,
Ko da znam..
Moj brate…“

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