In recent days, fans of Zeljko Joksimovic have inundated Wiwi’s comments pages with messages of support for Zeljko’s ESC 2012 entry “Nije ljubav stvar” (Love is not a thing). He’s also on the bookies’ list of potential winners, and currently in a tight-race with Loreen to win our annual polls to determine who will win the final and the second semi-final. That encouraged Wiwi to have another listen to his entry, and he couldn’t help but notice one thing: as with every strong Serbian Eurovision song, there’s a wooden flute in the background.
If we rewind to 2004—when Zeljko represented a unified Serbia & Montenegro at Eurovision—we see the wooden flute taking center stage. For his performance of Lane Moje (“My Sweetheart”), Zeljko stays off stage for the first 43 seconds. In his place is a man who looks kind of like Jesus plays Serbia’s traditional wooden flute. It gave the song a folksy feel—and more than a bit of regional authenticity—helping catapult it to second place in a very difficult year that saw Ruslana win with “Wild Dances.” Along with Sakis Rouvas’ “Shake It,” which placed third that year, “Lane Moje” became the first song ever to earn more than 200 points and lose. It earned 263.
Three years later, at the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, Marija Serifovic—my favorite lesbian of Roma descent—stole the show with her emotional power ballad “Molitva.” For the first minute and a half, Marija’s voice dominates the soundscape. But after she sets the emotional tone for her act, she falls silent and a wooden flute blasts out from an audio recording. It didn’t make a visual impact, but it did make an audible one. “Molitva” won with 268 points—five more than Zeljko’s “Lane Moje” scored back in 2004.
With Zeljko returning to Eurovision in 2012, it’s only natural that he would resurrect the flute—and the Jesus look-a-like he teamed up with in 2004. This year’s entry “Nije ljubav stvar” (Love is not an object) includes both strings and a piano. But it’s the wooden flute at the 1:50 mark that lets Wiwi know Serbia is back with another potential winner.
It’s tough to purchase traditional Serbian wood flutes outside of Serbia. But for all the Eurovision 2012 contestants searching for one, you can purchase alternatives for as little as £3.50 on eBay.