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Svetlana Ražnatović (née Veličković; Serbian Cyrillic: Светлана Ражнатовић née Величковић, pronounced [sʋětlana raʒnǎːtoʋit͡ɕ] née [ʋelǐtʃkoʋit͡ɕ]; born 14 June 1973), better known under her stage name Ceca (Serbian Cyrillic: Цеца, pronounced [t͡sěːt͡sa]), is a Serbian turbo-folk singer. Born in Prokuplje and raised in the nearby village of Žitorađa, she rose to fame in 1988 with her debut album Cvetak zanovetak (Nagging Flower). Over the course of her career, Ceca has sold close to four million records and has held some of the biggest concerts by a Serbian singer, making her one of the most successful regional performers.
Ceca performing in 2006
14 June 1973
(m. 1995; his death 2000)
Despite her immense popularity, she is also deemed controversial, mainly because of her marriage to career criminal and commander in the Yugoslav Wars, Željko Ražnatović Arkan, as well as for her own legal issues and political involvements.
Life and careerEdit
At the age of thirteen, Ceca was discovered by acclaimed folk singer and accordion player Mirko Kodić, while singing at a hotel during her family vacation on the coast of Montenegro. With his help, she was signed to PGP-RTB and released her debut album, Cvetak zanovetak (Nagging Flower), in 1988 and won the Ilidža Folk Music Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the title song. Ceca was then mentored by Dobrivoje Ivanković, a folk composer and producer, who launched careers of many singers in the 1970s and 1980s. Upon her second record, Ludo srce (Crazy Heart) in 1989, she became a popular teenage star. With her third album, however, she became one of the label's leading folk performers and third overall in Yugoslavia, behind Lepa Brena and Dragana Mirković.
In 1993 she released Šta je to u tvojim venama (What Is It In Your Veins) with the popular song Kukavica (Coward) written by Marina Tucaković and Aleksandar Radulović, followed by her first concert at Tašmajadn in Belgrade. At the age of 17, Ceca was also cast in the role of Koštana, a gypsy singer and dancer, in Stojan Stojčić's film adaptation of Nečista krv, a movie based on the works of Serbian playwright and novelist Borisav Stanković. Her infamous performance was eventually cut out from the movie, which received poor critical reception upon its release in 1996.
Following the release of her 2001 album Decenija (A Decade), Ceca held a concert in June 2002 at the Marakana stadium. In 2006, she performed at Ušće in Belgrade, allegedly, for 120,000 people. She outdid that success in June 2013, with her second Ušće concert in front of 150,000 people.
Ceca was appointed the honorary president of the Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) formed by her late husband, Željko Ražnatović (Arkan). She has not been politically active and claims to have only accepted the position in honor of her deceased husband. After clashing with the president of the party, Borislav Pelević, on many issues, Ceca withdrew herself from politics completely.
On the night of 17 March 2004, Ceca and Kristijan Golubović (close associate of Arkan) gathered demonstrators in front of the government building in Belgrade to speak about the situation in Kosovo and the burning of more than 300 Serbian Orthodox churches in Kosovo.
Ceca is the president of the "Third Child" humanitarian fund. Her organizations prime goal is to increase the birthrate in Serbia and to help families who already have three or more children. She has held several humanitarian concerts raising money for food, clothing, and sundries to benefit the Serbs in Kosovo, after the 2004 unrest in Kosovo in March 2004.
Marriage and motherhoodEdit
While performing for the Serb Volunteer Guard (SDG), a paramilitary force also known as Arkan's Tigers, in Erdut on 11 October 1993 during the ethnic Balkan conflict in the former Yugoslavia, she met her future husband, Željko "Arkan" Ražnatović, the unit commander and a career criminal, through pop singer Oliver Mandić. When the Party of Serbian Unity (SSJ) was formed, she was asked by Arkan to perform. He was married at the time, and the divorce that ended that marriage was finalized two months before their wedding. Arkan proposed to Ceca on 7 January 1995 and they married a month later, on 19 February. Ceca's parents were initially against the marriage. Their wedding was broadcast on television, made headlines in newspapers, and was portrayed by Serbian media as a "Serbian fairytale". They had two children, a son, Veljko, in 1996 and daughter, Anastasija, in 1998. Arkan was shot on 15 January 2000 in a Belgrade hotel by four gunmen. Despite having been shot in the head, he remained alive for a brief period of time, but died in Ceca's arms in the backseat of the car that was taking them to the emergency room. After fifteen months of mourning, she made her first public appearance in April 2001 in a television interview.
"A part of me died that day... I will always love him, and only him, I'm sure of that...", she said in the interview.
When the Serbian reformist Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić was assassinated on 12 March 2003, prompting Serbian authorities to launch Operation Sabre. Ceca's Belgrade home was raided as part of the crackdown on the network of criminals and nationalists behind the assassination. The raid led to a thorough investigation. She was arrested on 17 March 2003 and charged with illegal possession of multiple firearms. Ceca was one of dozens of people detained in the crackdown and she spent three months in prison. She claimed the firearms were brought to the house by her late husband.
In 2011, Ražnatović pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of euros from the transfers of players from the football club FK Obilić, which she inherited from her late husband, and again illegal possession of eleven weapons. Ceca had sold fifteen players of FK Obilić to several international football clubs (such as Fenerbahçe). Serbian state prosecutors accused her of taking for personal use an illegal share in the sale of fifteen players. Ceca denied having been involved in any kind of illegal activities, saying that her late husband was responsible for FK Obilić and that the eleven illegally possessed weapons found in her home also belonged to him. Under a plea bargain, Ražnatović was ordered to spend eight months under house arrest, avoiding the maximum sentence that the charges against her could have carried, 12 (twelve) years in prison.
Ceca is officially banned from entering Croatia due to being proclaimed persona non grata. In one interview she stated that because of that, she always remains careful while picking her travel routes.
- 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)
- To Miki, To (1990)
- Babaroga (1991)
- Kukavica + Tašmajdan (1993)
- Hala Pionir (1995)
- Marakana (2002)
- Live Ušće (2006)
- London MIX (2005 )
- C – Club (2012)
- "Beauty and the beast". Guardian. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2004.
- "Ceca "zapalila" Ušće, pevala za 150.000 ljudi".
- "Ceca & SSJ" (in Serbian). Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- "Žitije sa pevanjem i pucanjem". Vreme. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2005.
- "Serbian Pop Diva Investigated Over Soccer Transfers". rferl. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Vulliamy, Ed (29 March 2011). "Serbian singer Ceca charged with embezzlement". London: The Guardian.
- "Serbian pop singer Ceca, widow of warlord Arkan, avoids jail term". Guardian. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Ceca u kućnom pritvoru". RTS. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- "Ceca, Persona Non Grata u Hrvatskoj 'Mogu se samo nasmijati na njihove zabrane, nisam se nimalo potresla. Moja brojna publika iz RH uvijek nađe put do mene'". jutarnji.hr. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ceca Ražnatović.|
- Ceca on Twitter – Ceca Ražnatović – Official Twitter account
- Ceca-Official – Official site
- Facebook page Official Facebook page
- Ceca-Online – Ceca Ražnatović – Fan site + forum
- Ceca.rs – Ceca Ražnatović – Largest Ceca fan site in Serbia
- Observer interview by Adam Higginbotham
- Ceca Lyrics – Ceca Lyrics