|Born||1 May 1955|
Bijeljina, Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (now Bosnia and Herzegovina)
|🎓 Alma mater||Mihajlo Pupin Institute|
|📆 Years active||1972–2001; 2017–present|
Rodoljub "Roki" Vulović (born 1 May 1955) is a Bosnian Serb singer-songwriter and former soldier known for his nationalistic pro-Serb music during the Bosnian War. While famous during the period of the war, Vulović has become more famous since the late-2010s with his songs and music videos during the war earning him a cult following on YouTube where they have gained millions of views and translated into several languages.
Vulović was born in Bijeljina on 1 May 1955. Vulović's grandfather comes from Montenegro. His father took part in World War II and was brought to Germany as a prisoner of war in 1941 and forced to work in Germany. His father only returned following the war in 1945. Vulović graduated from the Mihajlo Pupin Institute with a degree in Engineering Technology, after which he got a job as a graduate student at the school, where he began teaching. During his tenure, he taught up to eight subjects.
Vulović has a brother who lives in the village of Ortaci on Majevica, near the town of Ugljevik, a sister living in Belgrade, and a cousin who in the 1970s moved to the United States, where he continued his service in the army.
Rodoljub began his musical career in 1972, when he published his love songs, "Nemoj da me zaboraviš" (Don't forget me) and "Kristina". His first album, "Paša", was released in 1988. Vulović later performed concerts in many European countries with a large Serbian population. The record was released by the Belgrade-based company Jugo-ploče in the series "Young Talents", then Vulović won the music competition. In 1988, Vulović's second album "Pasha" was released thanks to the joint efforts of composer Milutin Zakhar Popovich and Vulović. The title song of the album was performed by Rodoljub and Milutin Popovich's wife, Gordana Lazarovich.
After the release of "Pasha" Vulović began touring particular European countries with a significant Serbian diaspora. During this tour, Vulović visited his cousin in the United States at a military base, where, in addition to the concert, a gala dinner was held. During a trip to Croatia in 1990, Vulović overheard two Croats from the talking insultingly about Serbs visiting the hotel. Since then, Vulović hasn't returned to Croatia and does not buy goods from there.
When the center of Bijeljina was decimated during the Bosnian War, Vulović's home on Gavril Princip Street was damaged. Vulović, much to the objections of his wife, enlisted in the 1st Sember Light Infantry Brigade. Vulović saw combat in Majevica and was reflected upon in his second album "Semberski junac" (Sember Heroes) with nine songs. Some of the songs were dedicated to his friends, brigade colleagues, and commanders of all three battalions of the Kikoru, Zoran, and Vlad brigades. All three were mentioned in the song "Junatsi from the 1st Sember Brigade" (Heroes from the 1st Sember Brigade). The rest were dedicated to all the other heroes of the Semberian defense. The album was reissued on audio and video cassettes, often in a pirated way. The distributor was the Army of the Republika Srpska with all profits from the album donated to wounded soldiers. The music videos were shown on television in Serbia.
After the album's success, Vulović enlisted into Garda Panteri, an elite paramilitary unit of the Bosnian-Serb military, commanded by Ljubiša Savić. His unit's local commander, Pero Čolić, commander of the 5th Kozar Light Infantry Brigade, allowed Vulović to continue his musical career. Čolić asked Roki to record an album about the fighters of his unit. Roki accepted the offer. The 5th Kozara Brigade played a crucial role in Operation Corridor and became famous throughout the country. Čolić visited Vulović four times and told a lot about his subordinates, as well as about their participation in the battles for the Serbian Passage in a later song "Junaci Kozarski" (Heroes of Kozar) with the active participation of his wife. Vulović did not serve in the Kozar Brigade and did not take part in any battles. Čolić personally told him the names of people and names of places mentioned in the song. In 1993, his iconic album, Panteri (Panthers) was released. While with Garda Panteri, he recruited fighters and was responsible for staffing.
In 1994, he released "Junaci Kozarski" (Heroes of Kozara), later releasing his last war album, "Crni Bombarder" (Black Bomber) in 1995. "Crni Bombarder" was followed by "Zbog Tebe" (Because of You). All the albums were recorded by the studio Ortaci in the village of Loznitsa on Maevitsa. These later albums completed a series about the war.
After the Bosnian War, Vulović accepted a job position as director of Mihajlo Pupin Technical School and lecturer at the Bijeljina Institute of Agriculture and Medicine, retiring in 2012. As a result of exposure on the internet, Vulović's songs have exploded in popularity in Western countries, particularly the United States, although there hasn't been a resurgence of popularity in the former Yugoslav states.
During this period, Vulović visited several countries in Western Europe and his applications for entry visas to the United States were denied several times. This was due to his anti-NATO and anti-Western songs.
Part of Vulović's popularity online is the peculiarity of the style of his music videos. Vulović shot the videos himself including panoramas of Semberija and Kozara on a UTVA 75, which belonged to the Panther Brigade. The videos often show villages destroyed after the war and abandoned by soldiers and civilians showing the impacts of the war. A clip in "Kućni Prag" (Threshold of the House) showed the ruins of a burnt house, where a kitten walked and meowed miserably.
Vulović typically wears aviator glasses in his music videos and is often shown standing in place with the focus of the camera on him as he sings the song accompanied by B-roll footage of Serb soldiers being deployed or engaged in fighting.
Songs of Heroes
Vulović's has made songs in honor of commanders and colleagues who fought alongside him during the war. Among them are:
- Commander of the 2nd Battalion, Major Zoran Lopandic ("Zoran, Zoran")
- Commander Kikore ("Hey, Kikore")
- Commander Vlad (mentioned in the song "Yunatsi" from the 1st Sember Brigade)
- Mirko, company commander in the detachment of Mitar Maksimovich (song by Mirko the Duke)
- Commander of the 2nd Sember Brigade Major Gavrilovich ("Gavrin Brigade")
- Captain Lubisz "Mauser" Savich ("Mauser")
- Several fighters of the 5th Kozar Light Infantry Brigade, including Velka Milankovic ("Ballad of a Hero")
- Colonel Pukovnice ("Čolić")
- General Ratko Mladic ("Generale, Generale")
Vulović regards several nationalities, Russians, Greeks, and Slovenes as allies of Serbs. He considers Bosniaks good people if they are not provoked. He is neutral towards the Albanians, whose problem in Republika Srpska is not acute, and is also contemptuous of the French, who betrayed the Serbs in World War I, sending them completely useless weapons and supplies. Vulović describes Croats and Germans as the worst people. Firstly, he accuses them of genocide against Serbs during the First World War and considers them prone to violence; secondly, he accuses them of unleashing world wars of trying to incite Croats against Serbs.
Vulović has stated that he hopes to visit Russia. The only western European country he hasn't visited is Spain. He greatly admires Josip Broz Tito and Vladimir Putin. And has stated his support for Russia's annexation of Crimea.
He opposes Serbia joining the European Union, believing that both Boris Tadić and Tomislav Nikolić did not take into account the views of the people.
Regarding the possible secession of Republika Srpska and disintegration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he believes it will happen without conflict and in a peaceful manner.
Vulović's wife Jelica is a philologist and has written several songs with her husband. Vulović has two children, a son, and a daughter. Jelica appears in the music video for "Chujte Srbi svijeta" (Hear, Serbs of the world). His son starred in the music video for "Gavrina Brigade" and his daughter starred in the music video for "Pavlovic Chuprija" (Pavlovic Brigade) and sang in some of her father's songs as a backup vocalist among them being "Panteri".
Jelica has described her husband's songs stating, "Since the occupation of Serbia by the Turks, we have been cursed in the following story: Serbs will always be at enmity with each other. It was like that during the first uprising - the death of Black George, in World War I [there were many Serbs in the Austro-Hungarian army], in World War II - partisans and Chetniks. And only in the defensive Patriotic War of 1992-1995 did the old curse lose its power: then everyone – both monarchists and communists – rose together to defend the existence of their eternal and long-suffering people and bravely fought shoulder to shoulder. Rodoljub and I felt this transformation of our divided people into one, subordinate to national interests and the consciousness of a common future. The songs of Rodoljub, which strengthened the spirit of our soldiers, served holy unity."
He is fluent in French and Italian with relatively good knowledge of German enabling him to have conversations in German, which he was taught by his father.
- Kristina (1972)
- Napustićeš me ti (1972)
- Paša (1988)
- Semberski junaci (1992)
- Panteri (1993)
- Junaci Kozarski (1994)
- Crni bombarder (1995)
- Zbog tebe (2000)
- Otadžbini na dar (2001)
- U srcu te čuvam“ (2018)
- Ne plači“ (2020)
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- Baja Mali Knindža
- Lepi Mića
- "Roki Vulović je zvijezda interneta". RTV BN (in Serbian). July 25, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2022.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
- "Роки Вулович, прославленный певец Республики Сербской". Senica (in Russian). December 6, 2015. Retrieved May 7, 2022.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
- "ZVEZDA ŽIVI NA INTERNETU Iz Rusije su ljudi dolazili samo da me intervjuišu, gledali su me kao čudo". Blic (in Serbian). 25 July 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2022.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
- "Роки - певец во стане сербских воинов". Zavtra (in Russian). October 26, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2022.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
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Category:1955 births Category:Living people Category:People from Bijeljina Category:Serbs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Category:Bosnia and Herzegovina people of Montenegrin descent Category:Yugoslav musicians Category:Pop-folk singers Category:Bosnia and Herzegovina turbo-folk singers Category:People of the Bosnian War Category:Serbian nationalists Category:20th-century Bosnia and Herzegovina male singers Category:21st-century Bosnia and Herzegovina male singers
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