A New One
ZAMA 001

When Vesna Petković was five or six years old, she would sit and play under the kitchen table, around which her family had gathered to cook and eat together. But what Vesna was waiting for was the moment when her mother would finally serve the cake and her father would start to sing. Before long, everybody would join in and a full-blown session would be underway. Little Vesna was so fascinated that she sometimes didn’t even notice the dawn was already breaking. And just as her family and neighbours once enchanted her, so too does she now enchant us. We stand in front of the stage, in thrall to her powerful, emotive songs.

Vesna Petković was born in Niš (Serbia) in 1974. She studied jazz voice in her home town and later at the Graz University of Music and Performing Arts, where her teachers included M. Murphy and S. Jordan. Young musicians from Western Europe dream of a place at this internationally renowned institute, and even the finest musicians of the Balkans regard Graz as the number one address. Vesna graduated with the Federal Ministry of Culture’s prestigious “Würdigungspreis” in appreciation of her achievements. Almost immediately, she started performing in musicals and soon met like-minded musicians who formed a group by the name of Sandy Lopićić Orkestar and embarked on a meteoric career – releasing two CDs that met with critical acclaim, especially for the vocals. Vesna played festivals and some epochal gigs, including the North Sea Jazz Festival. In 2000, Vesna got together with some of the best musicians of her home region (Serbia and Austria) to found her own band, all the while quietly writing and arranging the music that she now presents on this CD.

Influences from the musical cosmos of her childhood meld with the jazz she loved and studied. The little girl under the kitchen table and the experienced performer, the traditional music of her homeland and cutting-edge jazz, melancholy and unfettered lust for life – all these can be heard, indeed felt, on the album “A New One”. (Text by Maru)


Music: trad./arr. V. Petković
2. CCC
Music: V. Petković / arr. V. Kevrešan
Music& Lyrics : V.Petković / arr. V.Kevrešan
Music: trad./ arr. V.Petković/V.Kevrešan
Music: trad./arr. V. Petković/V. Kevrešan
Music: trad. / arr. V. Petković/V. Kevrešan
Music: trad/arr. V. Petković/V. Kevrešan
Music & Lyric V. Petković, arr. V. Kevrešan
Music: trad./ arr. V. Petković
Music: trad / arr. V. Petković/V. Kevrešan

artist's website

Vesna Petković speaks about her CD

The songs and melodies on this CD are a part of me and my background. But the influence of the other musicians and their attitudes to music also played an important role in the selection. The pieces were very challenging, but they also provided opportunities of finding new ways of playing and exploring unfamiliar territory together. Vanja Kevrešan, Milan Nikolić, Anđelko Stupar and I all lived together for a while, which was a wonderful way of getting to know each other not only personally but also musically, in countless sessions in our own living room.

I had moved to Graz in March 1996 to study at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts, where they were also students. My teachers included Mark Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton and Fritz Power. As a student, I worked with bands from a wide variety of different styles, which meant that I could explore the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau and Kurt Rosenwinkel. I also listened to recordings by Abbey Lincoln, Carmen McRay, Diane Reeves and Bobby McFerrin, which made a big impact on me. The fact that I had sung in a choir back home in Serbia for eleven years and had learned a lot about vocal music in that way has had a decisive influence on my style. As the vocalist in the Sandy Lopičić Orkestar I discovered traditional music all over again. It has lost none of the fascination that its beautiful melodies and rhythms have always held for me.

In “A New One“ I have tried to unite all these aspects. I hope that they will come across to the listener and that I have managed to achieve the balance I sought between structured composition, unconventional, lively interpretation and improvisation.

Vanja Kevrešan has a fine ear and a distinctive sense of rhythm. For instance, while recording “Zajdi, zajdi“ we had the extraordinary experience of immersing ourselves so completely in the melodies and rhythms that we forgot the world around us. Vanja also helped me with the arrangements.

Milan Nikolić brings the fattest sound I’ve ever heard from a double bass, and that, of course, was ideal for our recordings. The sound he makes with that instrument really is as near perfect as it gets.

What I especially admire about Anđelko Stupar is his sheer energy, which certainly comes across on “A New One“. His approach to rhythm is absolutely cutting-edge.

I have also included three more musicians in the project. Martin Harms on tenor and soprano saxophone. I have had the great pleasure of performing and recording with him on many occasions. He has a unique tenor sound that is incredibly intense and focused without being over the top.

Roland Wesp, with his talent for highly melodic improvisation, makes the piano sound great. I am absolutely thrilled to have him working on this project.

Dušan Novakov plays drums and percussion. It is always a delight to be accompanied by him: he always hits the spot and is technically perfect. You can admire his skills as a soloist on the track “niške devojke“.

Vrti, vrti kolo k’m to mene
Vrti kolo k’m to mene.
A bajća će a bajća će k’m to tebe
A bajća će k’m to tebe
Bajća će ti, bajća ce ti kupi nesto
Svilen z’b’n i šamiću
Bajća će ti, bajća će ti dade srce
Celo srce i dušata

A traditional song from Pirot (southern Serbia). My grandmother used to sing it at home while she was cooking, and my two sisters and I have continued this tradition. The lyrics are in the old, original dialect.

Vatiše kolo niške devojke.
Vatise kolo niške devojke.
Da idam, mila mamo, da gledam,
da idam, mila mamo, da gledam.
Na čelu kola Ivkova snaša
Na čelu kola Ivkova snaša
Da idam, mila mamo, da gledam,
da idam, mila mamo, da gledam.
Niške devojke na Palilulsku češmu.
Niške devojke na Palilulsku češmu.
Da idam, mila mamo, da gledam,
da idam, mila mamo, da gledam.
Ivkova snaša, lepotinja naša
Ivkova snaša, lepotinja naša
Da idam, mila mamo, da gledam
da idam, mila mamo, da gledam.

A traditional song from my home town of Niš. A young man sings the praises of the pretty girls dancing around an old well. He asks his mother to let him go out and watch them dance. The original is always played in 7/8 time. We have spiced it up a little with an “Afro feeling“ and a combination of 12/8, 4/4 and 7/8 rhythms.

Kaži Kaži libe Stano, Što si zamislena ?
Da li pari nemaš Stano ili ljubov nemaš.
Sve si imam libe Dime samo ‘edno nemam
Samo ‘edno nemam Dime od srce poroda.
Jas ќe odam libe Stano do Soluna grada
Ќe ti kupam libe Stano dete pozlateno
Nego sakam libe Dime dete pozlateno
Koga nema da mi kaže od srze majčice!

A young couple talking: Stana is sad, but not because of lost money, as her friend Dime thinks, nor even because of a lost love, but because she can’t have any children. Dime wants to comfort her and tells her the story of the “golden child“ he wants to buy for her in Thessaloniki (Serbian: Solun). But Stana declines his offer. She doesn’t want a child that will never truly be able to call her “mother“. KaŽi kaŽi is a traditional song from Macedonia. It is played in 4/4 time with underlying 3/8 3/8 2/8 patterns. The accent on the fourth beat gives the arrangement more scope to breathe and develop.

Stani,stani, slnce,slnce.
Ne se žuri, slnce, slnce.
Spi još ne svanuvaj,
Da mi dragi ne ode
Da mi dragi ne ode.
Ne,ne ne svanuvaj
Pusti neka spi

The song begins in 7/8 sequence with a three-part vocal element that runs throughout the piece like a leitmotif. The solos (incl. Martin Harms) run over the ostinato; Vanja Kevrešan breaks the pattern to conclude his solo in 11/8 time.

Zajdi zajdi josno sonce,
zajdi pomrači se
i ti, jasna, le mesecino
zajdi, udavi se.
Crnej goro, crnej sestro,
dvajta da crnejme.
Ti za tvojte lisja,le,goro
Jas za mojta mlados’.
Tvojte lisja, goro , sestro
Pa ќe se povratat
Mojta mlados’,goro,le, sestro
nema da se vrati.

Set, set, bright sun
Set with waning light
And you, bright moon,
Set and sink into the waters
Darken, my sister the mountain, darken,
Our brightness is fading
For you have lost your leaves
And I have lost my youth
Your leaves, my sister the mountain,
Will return again
My youth, sister,
Will never return

I got the inspiration for this piece from a traditional Serbian dance called “Kolo“. “CCC“ is played in 7/8 time with lots of rhythm changes, including a vocal solo and solos by Vanja and Martin. The song ends with a coda that has an “Afro-Feeling“ and is one of my favourite compositions.

This song is played throughout the regions of former Yugoslavia. It is also known as “Žute dunje“ and exists in many variations. I first heard it as a waltz.

The idea of a melody line sung unisono by three voices culminating in a three-part polyphony is typically Serbian. The song is in 7/8 time.

Stay, for a minute
stay a little bit more.
I thought for a while
That you will not go.
I’ve lost the game
Like a thousand times before
So stay for a minute,
Stay a little bit more.
Com’ closer my dear
I have lot of things to tell you.
Stay for minute or two.
Please, tell me what went wrong?
I want to know the reason

Kad bi ove ruže male
Za bol srca moga znale
Pustile bi suzu koju
Da ublaze tugu moju
Al’ne znaju al ne znaju
Ko je uzrok mome vaju
Samo onaj dobro znade
Što bol srcu mom zadade

If these small roses knew
How deep is my sorrow
They would shed a tear
To alleviate my grief
But they don’t know, they don’t know
Who is the cause of my sorrow
Just that one knows
Who inflicted my heart with sorrow

We have given a New Orleans groove to this folk song.



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