While many of us have been concentrating on the tight battle between Beovizija front-runners — Hurricane and Andrija Jo — a different kind of storm has been forming around another one of the participating acts in Serbia’s national selection for Eurovision 2020.

Bora Dugic and Balkubano “Svadba velika” lyric controversy

Well-known flutist Bora Dugic and his collaborator Balkubano have come under intense scrutiny over their entry “Svadba velika” (Big Wedding) and its questionable lyrics.

Initially, the duo told the story of a young bachelor seeking the approval of a woman in his village. However, if his plans did not succeed, he threatened to detonate a bomb which would kill her and her family — citing the argument of “if I cannot have her, then no-one can”.

The song found itself at the forefront of a contentious and ongoing debate over domestic violence in the Balkan republic, where between 30 to 40 women are killed annually as a result of such horrific incidents.

Local media and organisations react

Despite being published on YouTube for almost two weeks at the time of writing, it seems that the controversy only arose recently.

The main voice of criticism came from the Autonomni ženski centar Srbije, (Autonomous Women’s Centre of Serbia) who openly called for the disqualification of the entry from the contest.  In a statement translated from Serbian, the organisation asserts:

The song, “Svadba velika”,  should cease to be publicised and should be removed from all platforms of the Serbian national broadcaster. It is completely unacceptable to give space to a song whose text explicitly advocates the murder of a woman who said “no”, promotes the idea that a woman is either “mine or nobody’s” and falsely advertises the story told in the song as being one of true love.

Furthermore, the organisation goes on to highlight the continued struggle of women in Serbian society – especially concerning the issue of domestic violence.  They state that “Svadba velika” is not the first track to promote such messages, and they believe that it is of the utmost importance that the promotion and popularisation of such values is stopped as soon as possible, especially if it receives media coverage on numerous public platforms across Serbia.

In response to the media outrage and criticism from the Autonomous Women’s Centre, the national broadcaster of Serbia, RTS, issued a statement on the controversy. It reads as follows:

“The song “Svadba velika”, which was to be performed by Bora Dugic and Balkunbano, will remain in this year’s edition of Beovizija.  Having realised the severity of the inappropriate messages that can be inferred from the lyrics of the song, RTS came to an agreement with the lyricists, whereby the text of the song “Svadba velika” will be changed.

The authors of the text, who attempted to convey a humorous tone with the composition, were unable to find an adequate method of doing so and therefore apologise, reaffirming that this was not their intention [to promote such a negative message].

RTS would like to state clearly that it stands firmly on the side of combating against any kind of violence against women”.

Bora Dugic and Balkubano “Svadba velika” — New Lyrics

As stated above, RTS and the lyricists of the controversial composition came to an agreement that the content should be changed, so as to allow the duo to continue competing in the contest.  On Wednesday 19 February, the new version of “Svadba velika” was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of the Serbian broadcaster. The old version has been removed.

Here are the lyrics for both versions of the song – loosely translated from the Serbian language into English:

Original lyrics

I brought a bomb, I brought one my dear
Because I love you like crazy
Because I love you like crazy
I came with my best man
I came with my friend
To ask for your hand in marriage
And your father’s blessing

If you say no, if you say no, if you say no
I will blow everything up
If you say yes, if you say yes, if you say yes
We’ll have a big wedding

I brought a bomb to show everyone
That no-one else is allowed to have you
I brought a bomb, the biggest in the world
To blow myself up
And the whole planet too

Revised lyrics

I brought a ring
Glittering and beautiful
To ask you, the most beautiful in the world
I came with my best man
I came with my friend
To ask for your hand in marriage
In front of your father

If you say no, if you say no, if you say no
My heart will ache
If you say yes, if you say yes, if you say yes
We’ll have a big wedding

I brought a ring
The diamond is real
When you look at it, it spins within your head
Your blue eyes, your hot lips
If I kissed them, that’s all they would want

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you agree with the actions taken by the Serbian broadcaster? Or do you think that a harsher stance should have been taken? Let us know your opinions in the comments below,

Read more Serbia Eurovision 2020 news here

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Metalvision Song Contest
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Metalvision Song Contest

Well, that is certainly a “revamp” if I’ve ever seen one… ^^

Imagine the re-written lyrics included any swearwords, i.e. f-bombs instead of actual bombs. Then they’d have to revise it again if they actually got to compete at Eurovision (which I doubt they will).

Tom
Guest
Tom

This song needs Jelena Tomasevic (Serbia 2008) ….

Tajikistan
Guest
Tajikistan

Unfortunately not caring about the lyrics is half of the problem…

Most Eastern European don’t give a ____ about the lyrics, and that just worsens the issue of violence against women if even the official broadcaster seems to be turning a blind eye…

Like I said before, the issue of domestic violence is 10x worse in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

If I am reading the original lyrics correctly, then the protagonist is going to blow the whole planet up so we should all be concerned.

Metaphors in songs have to be allowed otherwise the world will become a big, dreary ball of sanitisation. And censorship is more frightening than free speech in my world.

But I do realize I am writing this from a (more) developed country who doesn’t have sexism embedded in its culture. So if there are major problems in Serbia, it’s definitely the right thing to do to sanitize the song.

Tajikistan
Guest
Tajikistan

I think the comments on here show two things: – Too many people are trying to be edgy bois and acting like this issue is funny just to be edgy and get a bit of outrage towards them – The comment section (and the website itself but that’s not related) is too Western Europe centric and don’t realise how serious and normalised the issue of violence against women is in Eastern Europe/former Communist states (my country Lithuania has the highest rate in the European Union). Thank god to the people who raised the issue with the broadcaster, otherwise it would… Read more »

xohxoh
Guest
xohxoh

Who thought this was a good idea in the first place? A clown, lit rally a clown.

Escf
Guest
Escf

Well, that escalated quickly lol

Tajikistan
Guest
Tajikistan

So threatening to kill a woman because she doesn’t like you is ok?

Denis
Guest
Denis

Spreading positivity, are you?
Yeah, don’t think that’s going well for you mate..

Luxe
Guest
Luxe

This is so typically Serbian, here in Serbia women are just sexual object and nothing else.

Roki
Guest
Roki

You have got to be joking xD xDxD

Marseille
Guest
Marseille

It boggles the mind that these lyrics were greenlit by the broadcaster in the first place. Absolutely disgusting, they should be disqualified, not given a light slap on the wrist.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

And the people who allowed the song to enter the competition should kicked out too.

halseyswhxre21
Guest
halseyswhxre21

This is gonna place last anyway.

West
Guest
West

I think the only way to make this awful thing funny would be if at the woman’s home there would be police waiting for him to arrest him and the last part of a song would be about him sitting in jail and the woman having a big wedding with someone else.

Somebody
Guest
Somebody

It’s like as if someone cares about this lol.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Serbia usually have at least one somewhat provocative song per year in their selection, and this one is a doozy. It’s obviously trying to be funny, but it fails miserably. I don’t really know how anyone can defend or how they got away with leaving it in the selection for so long. And just as a precaution: no, this isn’t a mark against the entire country of Serbia, just the broadcaster for letting it get this far (although if incidents against women like those described in the song happen 30-40 times a year, Jesus Christ). No, I’m not some overly… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

You don’t have a right to lecture anyone, pal

Nobody Important
Guest
Nobody Important

As if anyone would care if this song got disqualified.

Tommy
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Tommy

Sorry this has to be said but….. classic trash Balkan men

No One
Guest
No One

I wonder… if the lyrics were about a man asking another MAN to marry him but still keeping the same violent intent, would people still write stupid comments like the ones below? Would people still treat them as “ridiculous” or as a “hyperbole”? Not be taken seriously?
Just asking.

Milye
Guest
Milye

As a Serbian, RTS should be embarrassed for allowing such a song to compete. Until yesterday I never knew what the song talks about since it was so bad I stopped listening to it after 20 seconds. They deserved to be disqualified

Milye
Guest
Milye

Wth I don’t hate my country, I love my country more then anything and that’s exactly why I’m disgusted by RTS, they are embarrassing us

Denis
Guest
Denis

Better question is why did RTS even allow the submission as it was? They knew there would be controversy with the lyrics, that it would be seen as promoting violence. That wouldn’t be allowed in any of the national selections, and surely RTS wouldn’t want to be seen as a broadcaster promoting violence? RTS should have either said no thanks to the song or stuck with it all the way as it is, since they selected it after all.. Song wise speaking it probably wasn’t intended to mean harm, it is sort of black Balkan humour that works in the… Read more »

Una
Guest
Una

Absolutely!!! I agree with everything here.

Milan
Guest
Milan

Me too (no pun intended).

Milye
Guest
Milye

He didn’t say that.
And what’s wrong with listening to fuego?

Milye
Guest
Milye

Who stayed anything about Jelena Karleusa. Velika svadba is a disgusting song itself so what’s the deal? No one in Serbia wants them to represent us and they have more dislikes then likes on their song. Hurricane will represent us hopefully.
Btw not every fast pop song is generic, eurovision wouldn’t be fun if all songs were ballads.

Joe
Guest
Joe

His two biggest targets last year were Arcade and Soldi, he has no right to talk.

Joe
Guest
Joe

You’re comparing a song about murdering a bride and her family to a woman who’s advocated for LGBT rights and against animal abuse? Are you nuts?

Joe
Guest
Joe

To quote Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, “I’ve got no more use for this guy.”

Una
Guest
Una

The problem with violence against women is that it is so normalized and embedded in our cultures. No culture is immune from it. Some hide it better than others. And not just emotional violence. Women get killed and the perpetrators get away with homicide. Entire families and multiple generations within the same family can be affected and their quality of life virtually ruined because of one person’s action. Now I can see that this cr*ap of a POS of a song advocates for violence against women. While Sanka ZAA Serbia 2016 with “Shelter” was against it. Way to go Serbia.… Read more »

Una
Guest
Una

And this song is DQ for me. No need to listen.

Milye
Guest
Milye

I support your comment from Serbia and the song is absolutely disgusting it self, no one in Serbia wanted them to represent anyway, they have more dislikes then likes, too bad they aren’t disqualified and RTS allowing this song to compete is completely embarrassing and unprofessional

Denis
Guest
Denis

It’s not even a good song. It’s pure kitsch and trash. The worst of Balkan music!

Colin
Guest
Colin

Well, I said this was my least favorite song of all NFs and I gave it a rare rating of 0/10. It was due to primitive content (I mean, they tried to make it sound humorous, but I didn’t feel it was), and also the fact that I dislike its instrumental and tone. With lyrics changed from straight-up creepy to generic and dumb, I may up my rating to 1/10. It’s awful either way, but having him blow up everyone for being refused is just rock bottom.

Idan Cohen
Guest
Idan Cohen

I’m usually against the PC culture of today (simply because it’s a tool for the global left to shut people mouthes), but I agree on this one.

I bought a bomb – marry me or i’ll blow everything up? yeah, what a way to propose..

Hector
Guest
Hector

Yeah, like those lyrics were intended to be taken literally…

Una
Guest
Una

How professional? Really? They had to change the f*ck*in* insulting and violent lyrics. That’s no better solution. Why did they make those lyrics in the first place anyway? Why did the broadcaster accept those lyrics in the contest? They want to save face. All the them. There’s *nothing* good about changing the words.

xoxo
Guest
xoxo

lmao you literally use “go support your Eleni Foureira Fuego and shut up” as your only argument, come up with something new and try again girl

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

#troll

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

The main problem is surely that the entire tone of the song change now, right?
Most people can see the original lyrics aren’t intended seriously and are full of hyperbole and ridiculous imagery. The new lyrics do seem more in-line with a typical, commonplace romantic song.

The original lyrics (in English at least) did not advocate murder of the woman at all.

Una
Guest
Una

Briekimchi, I am sorry that I have to tell you that violence against women is embedded in culture and “forgiven” and “lessened” through the use of imagery and traditions and sayings/proverbes and such. So embedded that some people have difficulty identifying violence. Or if they identify it, it’s become so normalized anyway that it becomes less and less important. Thus more violence, more victims.

Milan
Guest
Milan

If it’s a robot, I can only say they are making quite good robots today!

Milan
Guest
Milan

Definitely, he threatens to kill himself too (and says so in the lyrics). Thus, the song does not promote violence AGAINST WOMEN, it just promotes violence – which is, of course, bad enough, but turning it into some kind of violence-against-women story is ridiculous. Less violence also means less violence against women. Also, the way this is phrased in the article ( “if his plans did not succeed, he threatened to detonate a bomb which would kill her and her family”) is completely misleading (“and himself” is missing). RTS, too, should have stated that it stands firmly on the side… Read more »

Carola
Guest
Carola

You do realise that violence can be emotional too! Telling a woman that you will blow up everything if she doesn’t say yes to your proposal is all kinds of wrong. The fact that you’re threatening to blow up yourself makes it even worse.

It’s anti-woman end of.

Your argument is basically like when uninformed people say “all lives matter” in response to the “Black lives matter” movement.

Milan
Guest
Milan

After having thought of your comment, I see your point, thanks for the explanation. The song is, as you say, all kinds of wrong – the violence is not the only problem there, but the implication of gender inequality (while such words from a man can pass off as “black Balkan humour”, as someone here had put it, a woman expressing the same intentions would be considered mentally unhinged). Although I still maintain that the song does not advocate violence against women, besides being overtly aggressive, it implies that a woman has less right to a choice. So, let me… Read more »

Cookie Nation
Guest
Cookie Nation

It promotes violence in general and violence against women in particular as it normalises the fact that a woman’s legit choice of rejecting a man is a fair cause for her and more people to be killed. Its like you are just being a psyco but still the burden of your choices are on women because they are supposed to be there just to fullfill your needs. The sooner a society is aware of this, the better.

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

So the broadcaster allowed the submission as it was, with those lyrics. Bye bye. Enough is enough. Not to mention they should be disqualified period. I will never ever support Serbia in ESC again. It’s the broadcaster that actually participates, and it’s a song contest. And isn’t there some Eurovision rule that prohibits violent messages, hatred, homophobia? There is one about politics, alas, it is not always enforced. The same criteria should apply to national selections too. RTS people thought those lyrics were acceptable. Not to mention that their capital was bxxmbed 20 something years ago. Unbelievable.

Milye
Guest
Milye

Yes, RTS should be embarrassed for what they allowed in but they probably didn’t even actually listen to it, they choose just because of a big name, Bora Dugic. I’m not defending them but hating the whole country because of a one song in nf is not ok + There was a never song about homophobia and politics, it seems like you’re just looking for all the reasons to hate on Serbia and other participants are not guilty for RTS allowing this to compete

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Lol, they should resign, all of them. This is beyond embarrassing. In fact, “embarrassing” is a compliment. I don’t believe that whoever accepted the entry hadn’t listen to the song and read the lyrics before allowing it in the competition. Sanremo this year had this whole component about standing up to violence against women. That song is pure hatred, in a super traditional cultural package of gender, wedding, all with a Balkan sound, right.

Milye
Guest
Milye

Yes, I agree. Song is beyond bad itself, lyrics just killed it even more, I really don’t even know how they allowed such a bad song with violent lyrics to compete, they should be disqualified but other 23 artists are not guilty for it

Whisker
Guest
Whisker

Indeed, the other participants are not guilty BUT it is so problematic to be in the position to support the blameless, that is the other participants in this case, when they are part of a competition that is organized by the broadcaster who allowed this entry. This is a competition among broadcasters. They should do the honorable thing and disqualify that entry, and apologize, to say the least.

Milye
Guest
Milye

If it is so bad stop watching it, you’re annoying

Loin dici
Guest

The new lyrics are simple but beautiful. I like it.