Singer-Songwriters Zubac and Nešić: We See New Faces Thanks to the European Capital of Culture

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‘He is the author who works in the field of music, and I am a composer who works in the field of poetry in some way. We share the love for poetry and music’, this is how Nemanja Nešić, singer-songwriter from Novi Sad, sees his cooperation with his colleague Miloš Zubac.

The two citizens of Novi Sad are the reason why important festivals in the city have been organised – Zubac is in charge of the ‘Poezika’, which is being held for almost a decade, while Nešić is in charge of the ‘Youth Singer-Songwriter Festival’, which was held within the ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture’ for the first time. They had a joint performance in the Svilara Cultural Station on 20 November.
While commenting on Novi Sad singer-songwriter scene, Zubac and Nešić say that the festivals they started proved that there is a lot of talented young people who have the ambition and want to do this.
MILOŠ: The ‘Poezika’ Festival, proved, and proves each year that we have a lot of talented young people who create and who can become singer-songwriters.  Young talents from the former Yugoslavia show their interest. Of course, talents from Novi Sad send their applications as well. It is clear that there is a talent and a wish for creation, they should only be given the institutional support and space in order to make them leave their rooms and present their work to the audience. NEMANJA: There is a lot of youn people who create music. This is the reason why our pilot project ‘Youth Singer-Songwriter Festival’ has been launched. Our idea was to launch the project in order to encourage and bring to the festival the young who do not have a band or when there is a small chance to form one, who have their songs and play them at home, with a guitar or a piano. Very important part of the festival were workshops, during which Nemanja and Miloš, together with the young band formed during festival, created songs on the spot. The festival was the proof that there is a lot of young singer-songwriters, especially female ones, maybe even more than male ones among younger generations. Therefore, the ‘Youth Singer-Songwriter Festival’ presented many new faces.
– The ‘Youth Singer-Songwriter Festival’ was a part of the ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture’, programme arch launched within the preparation of Novi Sad for the European Capital of Culture. What do you think about this way of raising cultural capacities of the city?
NEMANJA: The ‘Kaleidoscope of Culture’ is a good thing since there is a lot of happenings at different locations in the city during a specific time frame. I love to make the balance in a sense that I would go for quality rather than quantity, which potentially can be a risk, when there is a lot of programmes. However, when we talk about the ‘Kaleidoscope’, it is great because it exists, since something of a high quality always appears in its programmes, something that can be promoted and planned as the product of the city over time. In addition to being good hosts and accepting people from abroad, Novi Sad has to pay attention to authors and give them a chance.

– Do we talk more about culture and pay attention to it, since there is more events in the city? Does anything change in that sense?
MILOŠ: Of course we talk more about it, and this is our obligation since our city is the European Capital of Culture. The title brings a lot of good things, some challenges as well. We will see what we have done after 2021, because I think that this will be the most important thing – how Novi Sad will exist and live after the title year. When we talk about the audience in Novi Sad, it is very open and kind for ones who come from abroad and that is a completely natural thing. It is the same when I perform in Sarajevo, Mostar and Zagreb – it is totally different kind of emotion.

There is less than two years left when Novi Sad will become the European Capital of Culture. How do you perceive the preparations?
NEMANJA: I think that the title Novi Sad has been given will enable the promotion of new faces within different projects. Maybe we lack a bit in contemporary classics, which is very popular in the world, such projects are very interesting for me, as a composer. The concert on the Mihajlo Pupin Boulevard, which is very visited by people who do not have a chance to listen to classical music often, especially in such attractive location, where everything looks better, is really a great thing. However, I have a critical opinion in a sense that I think everything can be done better, but it is good because it happens, and I would be sad if 2021 is the only reason why Novi Sad ‘woke up’. I hope that those activities will continue after the title year.
MILOŠ: There is a lot of events. I believe that people who work in the field of culture in Novi Sad do their best and I know how preparations of those who really do their best look like. I am just scared that a lot of events can lead to boredom, since people feel the need to see or experience something, which is a pity and nowadays, and I think that the problem lies in the Internet. There is a lot of people who consume art at the level of information, but not at the level of experience. They will ‘like’ some exhibition, but they will not experience it live. This is the problem and I would like people to reduce the use of the internet and to use it with more consciousness.

– During the last year, many cultural stations have been opened, and your concert is being held in of them, and it is also planned to take place in some other cultural spaces in the city. How do you perceive this?
NEMANJA: I like it a lot. The Svilara Cultural Station, Egység, LAB Cultural Centre – those are all good new spaces. Novi Sad is mainly focused on the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad, which has its history and the reason it exists, such as the Studio M. However, when I held concerts, I realised that, for example, younger audience did not know where the Studio M is, which was completely unbelievable. Tonight, in Svilara, we contribute to a charity project by the ‘Živeti Uspravno’ Centre for persons with disabilities, thus involving the people in the programme.
MILOŠ: I enjoy both cultural stations. I take my daughters to Egység on a regular basis, I really love the place, and I like to perform in Svilara. I support what people have done here with all my heart in terms of infrastructure. I support that they completely changed the purpose if the space and open them as cultural spacrs. I would not like this to change after the title year.


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