Friday, November 4, 2011


Like the rose that she was, Ana Štefok was born amongst thorns.  Trnje (Thorns) is south of the railway between the Sava and Sava and Ulica Heinzelova.  It was there, amongst the thorns, in a church where her clear soprano voice was first heard in public. 

Soon, she was being heard at festivals in Zagreb.  Her unforgettable performance of Balada with Ivo Robic in 1964 set her on the path to stardom.  In 1968 she sang Kemal Montena's "Molitva."  She became known for her songs in Kajkavian.  By 1970 in Opatija she sang "Želim malo nježnosti" (I want a little tenderness).

That little bit of tenderness was however lacking in her life and her career suffered because of that.  By 1989 Ana has withdrawn almost completely from her singing career, appearing only as an occasional guest in HRT's programs.

For the next several years Ana was taking care of her father, Francis Štefok from Donji Kraljevec, who was an invalid until he died in 2005.  The expenses of her father's illness was more than her 3500 kuna (about $650) per month pension could cover and she was left penniless and in ruinous debt until the end of her own life.

The media was fond of calling her the "Croatian Edith Piaf," or the "Croatian Connie Francis."  All that seems odd to me.  I remember Connie Francis, but I remember Ana Štefok better.  I liked them both, just it was that I listened more to Ana Štefok as soon as her recordings came around to us.  She was good. 

I see the media is already talking about this and that in her life.  Maybe so, maybe not.  If you think that she was rich please you think again and remember musicians were not paid so much in the time of her popularity.  They aren't paid so much today either.  Very few musicians have a lot of money.  I do know that she had something more than money.  I do know that she sometimes encouraged others to just be their best.  What else can you ask from anyone?  Remember her voice in church and then remember her voice for our people in Croatian language all over the world.

The same as many of you, I wept when the news came to me this morning that she died today at home in her tiny apartment in Zapruđe, just south of the Sava in Zagreb.  
Today I made little video with her "Hvala ti za Ljubav" in her memory.  "Hvala ti za Ljubav."  Thank you Miss Štefok for the love which you gave to all of us.

oh hvala ti, oh hvala ti za ljubav svu
za srecu tu
za svaki dan
za svaki san
za ljubav sto kraja
sto uvijek si tu

On english:
oh thank you, oh thank you for all the love
for every happiness
for every day
for every dream
for love to the end
I always have this

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,

Canovals a.k.a. Slavonac
4 studenog 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment