We know a lot about Eurovision; this is knowledge we want to share with you. Therefore we’d like to bring you a blast from the past. Back to 2006, the Bosnian entry, Hari Mata Hari with “Lejla”.
Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest
The Bosnian participation in the Eurovision Song Contest has not been a success story so far. With a 7th place for Dino and Beatrice in 1999 and a 9th place for Deen in 2004, Bosnia and Herzegovina was not quite the country to be afraid of. Something had to change.
On February the 9th, 2006, RTBiH (Radio Televizija Bosná i Herzegovina) announced that Hari Varešanović was going to represent the country in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens. Hari was the singer of the famous Bosnian group Hari Mata Hari. The group was going to join Hari on stage in Athens. On the 5th of March, during a live television show, the song “Lejla” was presented to the audience.
Hari Mata Hari
Hari Varešanović grew up in Vratnik, one of Sarajevo’s oldest towns. He recorded his first song “Zašto da ne uzmem nju”. In 1979, Hari joined the group Zov. Furthermore, Varešanović sang with the group “Ambasadori“, with whom he became a professional singer. After serving his military service he recorded a solo album called “Zlatne kocije”. That was in 1984. In September 1985, Hari Varešanović, won a song contest and founded the music group “Hari Mata Hari”. That same year, they released their first album. In 1986, Pierre Zalica – “Badzo” and Zoran Kesic left the group. They were replaced by pianist Adi Mulihalilović and bass guitarist Neno Jeleč, who would eventually be replaced by Željko Zuber. Their 1986 album, “Ne bi te odbranila ni cijela Jugoslavija”, won the award for best album of the year. They took part in Jugovizija, the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1986. They became 5th with “U tvojoj kosi” and in 1987 they gained the 14th place With the song “Nebeska kraljica“.
In 1988, Hari started filming for the production company Jugoton in Zagreb. The album “Ja te volim najviše na svijetu” has sold over 300,000 copies. The next album “Volio bih da te ne volim” sold over 500,000 copies.
The break-up of Yugoslavia and the wars that followed left a mark on the group’s career. In 1991, Edo Mulahalilović left the group to start his own career. At the end of 1991, the group released another album. After that album, most of the activities stopped, due to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In late 1994, the group released their next album, while they were refugees in Germany. This album was made by Harry and Izo only. It was only in 1997 or 1998 when the group reunited. The group consisted of (except Harry and Izo) Karlo Martinović, Miki Bodlović, Adi Mulihalilović and Emir Mehić. They returned to the music scene with an album of greatest hits, released in 1998.
In 1999, Hari Varešanović was selected to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Eurovision Song Contest. However, he was disqualified due to problems with the song’s status. Hari sold the song “Starac i more” to Finland in 1997. Finnish singer Janne Hurme recorded the song in Finnish, called “Sydänveri“. Together with Hank Paldum, Hari recorded the duet “Crni snijeg” in 2001. In the same year, the album “Baš ti lijepo stoje suze” was released with a couple of hit songs. In 2002, the song “Ruzmarin” became an instant hit. Hari Mata Hari was one of the 6 finalists at the Croatian Radio Festival. Also, in 2002, Hari Mata Hari won the Davorin Award for Song of the Year with “Kao domine”. In 2003, Hari Mata Hari took part in the Croatian Radio Festival twice again. At the Festival of Split, the group competed with the song “Zakon jačega”. Later that year, the band released their next album, entitled “Zakon jacega”. In 2006, Hari Mata Hari was asked again to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Eurovision Song Contest.
The song “Lejla” was a love song. It was a typical Balkan ballad. No miracle, as it was composed by Željko Joksimović, who also was successfull as a singer for Serbia and Montenegro in 2004. The lyrics were written by Fahrudin Pecikoza and Dejan Ivanović. Pecikoza also wrote the 1993 Bosnian entry “Sva bol svijeta” ánd the disqualified entry “Starac i more” for Hari Mata Hari. The lyrics of the song can be found here.
Although Finland was the clear favorite to win the contest, it was also clear that Bosnia and Herzegovina was going to do well. And the country díd! The first twelve points coming in were for Bosnia and Herzegovina. No less than nine (!!) countries gave it their ‘douze points’. With a total of 267 points, Bosnia and Herzegovina had its best score ever: a 3rd place. So far, this is still the best score.