Mladen Dragovic & The MD's (Drummers' Day 2016)

Drummers’ Day 2016, Atelje 212 (Belgrade)

There are a lot of praises to be held for my friend, colleague and above all, my childhood hero – Dragoljub Đuričić. He managed to pull the 4-th Drummers’ day in a row, which, in our living conditions and our government’s blind eye on culture, is an unthankful task. Being a machine of a man that he is and a guy who always went head-first through a wall to accomplish his plans, I had no doubt that he’ll manage it again.

It was a big project that included many legends of Yugoslavian music scene: Dragoljub Đuričić (Leb i Sol), Slobodan Stojanović Kepa (Smak), Dragan Jankelić Điđi (Bijelo Dugme), Boban Đorđević (Generacija 5), Lav Bratuša (Darkwood Dub), Ivan Fece Firchie (EKV), Uroš Šećerov; also younger guys: Igor Malešević, Marko Kuzmanović, Srđan Dunkić Johnny, Dragan Krstić Gaga, Goran Milošević, myself, and a lot younger – Đurađ Đuričić.

It is the first time I’ve performed a song from my album live with a band, so I was a bit nervous how it’s gonna sound and how people are gonna react to it. The musicians in my band (wittily named The MD’s), namely Vladimir Dragović, Marijo Pajić, Nenad Paunović – were a great bunch of talented, young, inspirational people and we’ve worked together many times, but never as a fusion jazz band. We’ve performed only one song, Element, and it made it even more exciting that we only had five minutes to be good at it. The people were pleased, as much as I can say from one applause, and most importantly – we’ve survived!

It has been a real festival of music and rhythm and for me a chance to finally get to know all of my childhood idols. As I’ve had finished my performance early, I had time to chat with them in between the perfomances, and the conversations occupied my attention so much I forgot I should’ve been on the stage for the final song with Dragoljub’s fantastic group of drummers and percussionist – The Balkan Avalanche and many other famous Serbian musicians that came there just for that one song.
That was an embarrassing and a sad moment I will probably try to forget.

The short afterparty in the Atelje 212 buffet was the summary of the entire day; it was cheerful, relaxed and exciting at the same time. All the drummers were there and all the musicians that were helping out, to name a few: Aleksandar Sedlar (who, I think, played at least one of the instruments in every part of the show) and Nenad Stefanović Japanac on the bass among many others who have joined on the (infamous) final song.

I hope that this show is going to continue to grow in the next few years and become a serious international event where young drummers come to acquire knowledge and experience and I hope to be a part of it’s “growing up”.

(Photos: Željka Dimić)

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