Alen Islamović was born in Sokolac to Bosniak parents, a hamlet approximately five kilometres from the city of Bihać, found in the northwestern part of today's Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until Islamović was two and a half years of age his family lived in Sokolac. However, when his father found work in Bihać the whole family moved to the city. Islamović first accessed music through his brother who brought a gramophone home in the late 1960s.
He learned to play guitar guided by his elder brother, and in 1974 he began playing bass guitar in a band called Bag. He started singing because his brother had lots of LP records so he was able to learn the lyrics.
Soon, Islamović's local popularity grew as did his band's gig activity and he performed many concerts in the local region. In addition to Bihać, Bag performed in places like Prijedor, Drvar, Sanski Most, and Banja Luka, earning decent sums of money that way. He fancied music of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Bijelo dugme.
When his band dissolved, Alen started playing football in Jedinstvo from Bihać, then a second league club. After he served the army, Sead Lipovača invited him to Divlje jagode. Start with Divlje jagode was very difficult, but it eventually paid off as the band became very successful hard rock act throughout many parts of Yugoslavia. They were so promising that in April 1984 (when Željko Bebek left Bijelo dugme) Alen turned down Goran Bregović's offer to sing in Bijelo dugme (this was partly result of his fear that Bebek might return to Dugme), and Divlje jagode (now called Wild Strawberries) where one step away from becoming world famous. But, everything failed, Divlje jagode fell apart and Alen returned to Bihać and decided get a traditional job and forget about the music. But then came another offer from Goran Bregović (when Tifa left Dugme) and this time Alen accepted.
At the time, vocal capabilities of the last singer of Bijelo dugme were regarded inferior to the band's former two singers. Goran Bregović reportedly invited Alen to join the band mainly for his healthy lifestyle (he allegedly stated that he had enough of drunkards and drug addicts).
Goran was right, and Alen didn't let fame get to him. After each tour he returned home to Bihać where he'd run his bar, fish, and play table tennis. In 1989 he left the Bijelo dugme tour without notifying anybody from the band. He returned home in order to cure a kidney problem he developed on the road, forcing the cancellation of the rest of the tour. Although it seemed like minor postponment at the time, this actually turned out to be the end of Bijelo dugme. Soon the war started and the band went into 15-year hiatus.
After getting back to good health, Alen initially used this time off to record a 1989 solo album Haj, nek se čuje, haj, nek se zna. The record received a lukeworm public response and was soon forgotten. When the war started in Bosnia, he fled Bihać for Zagreb. He is still active and performs mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and occasionally in the neighbouring countries as well. Islamović also plays gigs throughout Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where he is popular amongst the gastarbeiter communities from the former Yugoslavia. His repertoire consists mainly of Bijelo Dugme songs, he is regarded as one-man tribute band to Bijelo Dugme.
Alen took part in a duet with turbofolk singer Indira Radić on her album Pocrnela burma (2002). The song they recorded together, "Lopov", went on to become a huge commercial hit. He would later do two more duets with her: the 2007 song "Imali smo, nismo znali" for her album Lepo se provedi and again for a single in 2011 called "Nemam kucu, nemam krova".
In 2005 he took part in three large farewell concerts of Bijelo Dugme.
He also played rhythm guitar and sang in the band "4 Asa" with Vlado Kalember, Slavko Pintarić-Pišta, Rajko Dujmić, and Jurica Pađen.
Alen released the song "Mrtvo hladno" in February 2006 and the full album of the same name was released on 30 October 2009 with a Canadian band called "Srčani Udar" (English translation: "Heart Attack"). The album featured 11 songs and a DVD bonus with 2 music videos and a 30 minute documentary "in the making".
In October 2006, Islamović joined Zeljko Bebek and Mladen-Tifa Vojicic in Bijelo dugme tribute band called "B.A.T. Together", they performed on numerous stages around the world between 2006 and 2010. B.A.T.'s 2006 U.S.-Canadian tour was filmed for a documentary titled "B.A.T.: Balkan Rock Nostalgia", directed by Branislav R. Tatalovic.
Islamović will release his second album with Srčani Udar in 2012, entitled Heroin.
Read more about this topic: Alen Islamović
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