Ceca

Svetlana Ražnatović (née Veličković; Serbian Cyrillic: Светлана Ражнатовић, née Величковић, pronounced [sʋětlana raʒnǎːtoʋit͡ɕ]; born 14 June 1973), better known by her stage name Ceca (Serbian Cyrillic: Цеца, pronounced [t͡sěːt͡sa]), is a Serbian pop-folk singer. Referred to as the “Serbian Mother”,[a] she is renowned for her raspy vocals and emotional delivery, and is recognized as one of the most successful Serbian singers of all time.[1][2]

Life and career

Born in Prokuplje and raised in the village of Žitorađa, at the age of 15, Ceca rose to prominence as a recording artist for PGP-RTB with her debut album Cvetak zanovetak (1988), receiving the song of the year award for the title track at the Ilidža Folk Music Festival. She achieved further commercial success and acclaim in the 1990s by collaborating with song-writing duo Marina Tucaković and Milan Radulović on her signature hits, such as “Kukavica” (Coward), “Volela sam, volela” (Loved, I Have Loved), “Beograd” (Belgrade) and “Nevaljala” (Naughty). After releasing her best-selling album to date, Decenija (2001), she held a sold-out concert at the Belgrade’s Marakana stadium in 2002.[3] Nevertheless, she managed to surpass that success in 2006 by performing at Belgrade’s Ušće in front of more than 100,000 fans.[4][5] Ceca has released sixteen albums to date.

Next to singing, Ražnatović also starred as Koštana in the film adaptation of Borisav Stanković’s novel Impure Blood, but was eventually cut out from the picture due to poor critical reception. She has served as a judge on the televised singing contests Pinkove Zvezde (2014–2016) and Zvezde Granda (2021–present).[6]

Ceca was married to career criminal and paramilitary commander in the Yugoslav Wars, Željko “Arkan” Ražnatović, with whom she has two children. Their wedding, which was broadcast internationally, was portrayed as the “Serbian fairytale” by the local media.[7] Many also think that Arkan’s influence significantly contributed to Ceca’s success.

However, despite her popularity, Ceca has been known as the subject of controversies.[8] Following the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić in March 2003, Ražnatović was arrested for illegal firearm possession as a part of the police Operation Sabre and subsequently spent 121 days in commitment.[9][8] In 2011, Ražnatović, who had pleaded guilty, was also charged for embezzlement from the transfers of football players as the head of her husband’s club, FK Obilić, and was sentenced with €1,5 million fine and to a year in house arrest.[10][11][12] Moreover, due to her legal issues, Ražnatović is officially banned from entering Croatia, being proclaimed persona non grata.[13] Ceca has also been involved in politics by serving as the honorary president of the Party of Serbian Unity before Arkan was assassinated.

Discography

Studio albums
  • Cvetak zanovetak (1988)
  • Ludo srce (1989)
  • Pustite me da ga vidim (1990)
  • Babaroga (1991)
  • Šta je to u tvojim venama (1993)
  • Ja još spavam u tvojoj majici (1994)
  • Fatalna ljubav (1995)
  • Emotivna luda (1996)
  • Maskarada (1997)
  • Ceca 2000 (1999)
  • Decenija (2001)
  • Gore od ljubavi (2004)
  • Idealno loša (2006)
  • Ljubav živi (2011)
  • Poziv (2013)
  • Autogram (2016)

Tours

  • Šta je to u tvojim venama Tour (1993)
  • Ceca Tour ’94 (1994)
  • Fatalna ljubav Tour (1995)
  • Decenija Tour (2002)
  • Ceca Tour ’05 (2005)
  • Grom Tour (2006-10)
  • Ljubav živi World Tour (2012-13)
  • Poziv Tour (2013-16)
  • Autogram Tour (2016-20)
  • The best of Ceca Tour (2021)

Notes

  • Official website (partial archive)
  • Ceca discography at Discogs
  • “Arkan & Me”, The Observer interview dated 4 January 2004


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