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Mizar

From Unearthing The Music

Mizar in 1988. From left to right: Boris Georgiev, Sasho Krstevski, Goran Tanevski, Katerina Veljanovska, Gorazd Chapovski. Taken from Mizar's official website

Mizar (Macedonian: Мизар [miˈzar]) is a Macedonian band from Skopje. They are considered a cult band in North Macedonia and across the former Yugoslavian countries.

The group is notable for its self-titled debut album, as it was the first popular music album in the former Yugoslavian countries sung in the Macedonian language. The album was a major success and it is listed among the top ten rock albums ever released in former Yugoslavian countries.

Mizar was formed in 1981 in the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia. Because of the band's avant-garde sound and image, its Christian leanings and support for Macedonian self-determination, they were viewed with a certain degree of suspicion by the authorities. Still, the group received a great deal of media attention including numerous appearances on the national television. The 2014 documentary Mizar: The Star of Hope details the band's origins.

Name

The band is named after Mizar, a star used by desert travellers to orient themselves. The name was suggested by Panta Džambazoski, the band's first drummer.

Musical style

Mizar's musical style can be described as post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. Beside influences such as Joy Division, Mizar also incorporates elements of traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music. Another main part of their music is Goran Tanevski and Goran Trajkoski's vocals, based on Christian church chants.

Biography

Mizar's career can be divided in 5 periods (which the band refers to as "Revelations"), all of which featured different vocalists.

The First Revelation (Risto Vrtev)

Mizar were formed in 1981 in Skopje as an instrumental trio, with Gorazd Čapovski on guitar, Valentin Zabjakin on bass and Panta Dzambazoski on drums. In late 1981, Zabjakin left the band and was replaced by Ilija Stojanovski. Risto Vrtev joined on vocals soon after. In 1982, the group recorded a demo tape for Radio Skopje. This tape was sent to Jugoslovenski Rock Moment (also known as YURM), who wrote a short but glowing review of the tape. During 1983, the band was forced into a short hiatus due to the members' mandatory army service.

The Second Revelation (Goran Tanevski)

In 1985, when Mizar's members returned from the army, Čapovski attempted to form a band called Inola-X with Vrtev without success. Mizar then reformed with Goran Tanevski replacing Vrtev and a new keyboardist, Slobodan Stojkov. They began using elements of traditional Macedonian folklore and Byzantine music blended with post-punk, darkwave and gothic rock. Vrtev later founded Arhangel (Archangel) which was distinguished as the best rock act in Macedonia during the 1990s. Arhangel inherited certain features of Mizar but with a more conventional rock approach. In 1986, the band filmed a music video for the song "Stoj".

In 1986, the band played the Druga Godba festival in Ljubljana, but altercations within the band caused Dzambazoski and Stojkov to leave the group. They were replaced by Vencislav Smakjoski and Goran Trajkovski respectively. This lineup played at Festival Omladina, with Vladimir Kaevski on keyboards, and contributed two live tracks to the festival's compilation. Trajkovski would later be replaced by Sašo Krstevski, while Stojkov was replaced by Katerina Veljanovska.

In 1986 they recorded a few demos and were a support act for Laibach and Disciplina Kičme on their Yugoslav tour. In 1987 they received a distinction for their unique sound at a significant rock music festival held in Subotica.

They released their first, self-titled album, in 1988 with the following line-up:

  • Goran Tanevski (vocal)
  • Gorazd Čapovski (guitar)
  • Boris Georgiev (drums) (ex. Badmingtons)
  • Sašo Krstevski (bass)
  • Katerina Veljanovska (keyboards)

Goran Lisica-Fox was the album's producer. Besides their own songs, the album also included a cover version of the notable Macedonian folk song Zajdi, Zajdi under the title "Златно сонце" (Golden Sun). One of the best known songs from the album is "Девојка од Бронза" (Girl made of bronze).

By 1989, the lineup had stabilised to the following:

  • Goran Tanevski - vocals
  • Gorazd Čapovski - guitar
  • Ilija Stojanovski - bass
  • Žarko Serafimovski - drums
  • Vladimir Kaevski - keyboards

This lineup's first appearance on record was the Demoskop 1 compilation in late 1990, to which they contributed two tracks, "Veligden" and "Glas". Between October and December 1990, the band recorded their second album, Svjat Dreams, releasing it on 7 September 1991, the day before Macedonia split from Yugoslavia. The title of the record is inspired by the song Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics. On this album they covered the traditional song 1762 and a song written by Vrtev, Mizar's first single, titled "Дом" (Home).

After the release of the band's second album, Tanevski left the group and was replaced by the vocalist Nora, but soon, by the end of the 1991, the band split. Tanevski got involved in organising concerts, Kaevski revived his old band Kiborg, and Čapovski left for Australia. There he formed Kismet in 1993, which is considered a sort of continuation of Mizar's work due to a similar music style. In 1999, Serafimovski and Tanevski reissued Mizar on CD under the title Svedožba, with bonus demo and live tracks, including a never-before-heard, darker version of the song "Svjat Dreams" recorded in 1989 with Tanevski on all instruments and two unreleased live tracks, "Čifte Čamče" and "Samo eden mig". Also included were a live version of the Svjat Dreams album track "Veligden" and three tracks from Svjat Dreams 1762-1991. The live tracks were recorded at a concert at Kuršumli An in 1990. In 1999, Čapovski returned to Macedonia and contributed two tracks to a tribute album dedicated to Mizar, which was released in 2001. In 2002, Kismet released an album called "Dreaming". The band broke up in that year.

The Third Revelation (Goran Trajkoski)

In 2001 a tribute album named Tribute to Mizar was released. It was a collection of Mizar cover versions by some of the most notable groups in Macedonia incl. Majakovski, the black death metal band Syniac and others. Two years later, Mizar's first two albums were re-released on CD solely for the Macedonian market, but the record quickly spread across the countries of former Yugoslavia. Beside the albums, the CD also contained demos and live recordings.

Mizar was reunited in early 2003 with their former member Goran Trajkoski as a vocalist, with whom they released the single: "Почесна Стрелба" (Gun Salute). That summer they played at the Exit festival in Novi Sad and in the alternative club Močvara in Zagreb. The entrance tickets included give-away records featuring the new single. The following year a new album titled Terrible Beauty (is born) came out. During 2005 Mizar toured the former Yugoslavian countries.

During the summer of 2006, another of Mizar's former singers, Goran Tanevski replaced Goran Trajkoski. In the beginning of November of that year Mizar played in Belgrade and announced their new album featuring Tanevski as a vocalist. The album, Pogled na cvetnata gradina was completed and released in 2007.

The Fourth Revelation (Harmosini)

In 2010, Tanevski left Mizar once more and was replaced by the Byzantine choir Harmosini. The album Deteto i beloto more was released in 2010. The album contains a re-recording of "Hoden že" from Mizar's debut album.

In 2014, they were selected as the support band for Simple Minds' concert at the Kale hall in Skopje. Their new album, Šarena Krava (Coloured Cow) was announced at that concert. Šarena Krava returns the band to its punk rock roots, removing all traditional Macedonian instruments and patriotic lyrical themes. Harmosini have been replaced with Jana Burčeska, the second female singer in the history of Mizar since Nora Stojanovic's brief tenure with the band in 1991. One song from the album, "Nebo", was released on the Balkan Under the Radar vol. 2 compilation in 2014.

The Fifth Revelation (Viktorija Ivanovska)

On 26 June 2015, the documentary Mizar: The Star of Hope was released, featuring interviews with members of early Mizar lineups and discussing a hitherto-unknown period in the life of the band: its beginnings in 1981. Before the documentary, it was believed Mizar formed in 1983.

To this day, Čapovski has remained the only constant member of Mizar since its formation in 1981.

Band members

Current band members (2014)

  • Gorazd Čapovski (guitar)
  • Zoran Origjanski (drums)
  • Pece Kitanovski (bass guitar)
  • Jana Burčeska (vocal)
  • Vlatko Georgiev (keyboards)

Former band members

  • Valentin Zabjakin (bass) 1981-1982
  • Ilija Stojanovski (bass) 1982-1987, 1989-1991
  • Boris Georgiev (drums) 1988-1989
  • Žarko Serafimovski (drums) 1989-1991
  • Vladimir Kaevski (keyboards) 1987, 1989-1991
  • Slobodan Stojkov (keyboards) 1985-1987
  • Panta Džambazoski (drums) 1981-1986
  • Risto Vrtev (vocal) 1982-1985
  • Goran Trajkoski (bass) 1987 (vocal) 2003-2006
  • Vencislav Smakjoski (drums) 1986-1987
  • Sašo Krstevski (bass) 1988
  • Harmosini (male Byzantine choir) 2009-2013
  • Goran Tanevski (vocal) 1985-1991, 2006-2009
  • Katerina Veljanovska (keyboards) 1987-1989
  • Eleonora Stojanovic (vocal) 1991


Discography

  • 1988 - Mizar
  • 1991 - Svjat Dreams
  • 2003 - Juda (single)
  • 2004 - Terrible Beauty (is born) (Kobna Ubavina)
  • 2007 - A View to the Flower Garden (Pogled Kon Cvetnata Gradina)
  • 2010 - The Child and the White Sea (Deteto i Beloto More)
  • 2014 - Coloured Cow (Šarena Krava)

External links

Text adapted from Wikipedia