Thanks to my neighbor and good friend, Paul – who hails from the UK – I have had the opportunity to take in the annual spectacle known as the Eurovision Song Contest, something I’ve read about for years in British music publications. Most of the offerings, unfortunately, are fairly forgettable, but I will always have a fond spot in my heart for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s contribution to the 2008 contest, “Pokušaj,” by the artist, Laka:
Especially within Eurovision’s vapid, escapist context, I found myself taken with the song’s peculiar hat trick of combining several teaspoons of nutty flavor with big fistfuls of soaring pop anthem – one of the few distinctive pieces of songcraft offered that year, in my humble opinion.
And yet I found myself to be the only one in the room who was genuinely excited by this song and the group’s exuberant performance. I recall sending this video clip to a few of my more musically-inclined friends shortly after the event only to face universal derision. Am I the odd man out here? Sally Field asks that you please like the tune.
Elvir Laković Laka
15 March 2019
Laka and the Eurovision Song Contest
Elvir Laković Laka was born in 1969 in Goražde (Bosnia and Herzegovina). He attended music school where he was studying guitar, but he disliked the school’s teaching methods and views towards music, and then subsequently quit the school. Laka recorded his first song, “Malo Sam Se Razočar’o,” back in 1998. This song made him famous nationally. In 2004, he moved to New York, where he tried to start a band, but returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina unsuccessful and disappointed after two-and-a-half years. Short time after, he then released his first solo album Zec in 2007 – and soon followed Eurovision.
Back in 2008, Laka was internally chosen by the Bosnian and Herzegovinian National Broadcaster, BHRT, to represent the country in the contest, which was held in Belgrade. The title of his entry was Pokušaj. Laka finished 9th in the semi-final and in the grand final he came 10th with 110 points.
He was also the spokesperson reading out the results from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009 and again in 2012.