Zdenko Runjić was one of the most important and famous songwriters
of modern Croatian music. He was born in Gračin, near Slavonski
Brod, on the 26th of October 1942. Although his family
came from the dalmatian hinterland, they fled during the WW2, as
famine and poverty was prevalent, and they were looking towards
better life for their children.
They return to
the Split area in 1945., as the war ends. Runjić finishes his
primary and secondary education is Split, as well as earning his
degree in electronic in 1967, at the University of Split. Oddly
enough, he never received any formal musical education, and was
self-taught in many of his musical skills.
He spent much of
his career as the editor in chief of Radio Split (1960.-1976. and
1979.-1992.), as well as being the director of the publishing house
MEI-INTERFEST. This house published yearly records commemorating each
year’s edition of The Split Festival of music, a prestigious event
for Yugoslavia and the surrounding nations, which manages to preserve
that prestige to this day.
He ran the
festival from 1988. until 1992. as the creative director, but this
relationship ended in strife due to creative differences. In the most
Dalmatian (Croatian move ever, showing the infamous dišpet*,
a trait he often showcased in his songs, Runjić started his own
festival, The melodies of the Croatian Adriatic in 1993. This
festival rose in popularity immensely, even though in it merged with
the Split festival in 2003., with Runjić at the helm once again.
The words and
melodies he produced was enjoyed by all, but available only for few
Croatian artists to perform. The most famous one by far is Oliver
Dragojević. Legends of the Croatian music industries, such as the
celebrated Chansonsängerin Tereza Kesovija, legend of popular music
Mišo Kovač, most famous alternative Croatian singer Josipa Lisac,
iconic singer-songwriter Ibrica Jusić, the queen of Dalmatia Doris
Dragović, Goran Karan, Meri Cetinić, Jasna Zlokić and some others.
Out of the 700
songs he made, 200 of them were made from Oliver Dragojević. As much
as Runjić’ melodies made Oliver, Oliver’s voice and
interpretation made Runjić. The song “Galeb I ja” (“The
seagull and I”) is considered on of the most beautiful songs of all
time, in former Yugoslavia and more. Runjić was offered millions by
stars like Neil Diamond for this composition, but he trusted no one
as much as he did Oliver.
“Skalinada”, depicting the famous “Skalinada” (stairs) of
Marjan Hill, became a sort of an anthem of Split and Dalmatia,
because of it’s compelling story and strong Mediterranean motives,
which we all identify ourselves with. His legacy is immense in
Dalmatia, as he was the orchestrator of the soundtrack of our way of
life, and the thanks we owe him cannot be measured.
He left this
world on the 27th of October 2004., dying from a stroke
that came as a result of the heart attack he was recovering from.
Croatia and other former Yugoslavian countries mourned dearly. His
daughter, Ivana Runjić, gathered many songs he wrote before his
death, but had no chance of publishing yet. These songs are presented
yearly, as a part of the “Runjić Nights”, a festival in Split,
dedicated to preforming, rearranging and celebrating his music and
A personality trait that can not easily be put into words. Many
Croatians and Dalmatians in particular are incredibly mischievous and
stubborn in their nature. We enjoy petty squabbles and fights; we
love being right and have to prove it any chance we get. Runjić
understood this treat deeply, as it was a part of his personality and
of the stories he conveyed in his works.
https://lastavica.hr/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/zdenko-runjic-intro.jpg475800lastadminhttps://lastavica.hr/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/logo.pnglastadmin2020-05-15 14:05:342020-05-15 14:05:35Zdenko Runjić - a collective memory of Dalmatia
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