To�e Proeski: In memoriam

by Laura Gudim 95 views

To�e (Todor) Proeski, the Macedonian representative at the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest who died in a car crash on a Croatian motorway at the age of 26, was born in Krusevo, FYR Macedonia (then Yugoslavia) on 25th January 1981. Tose will be buried today at 13.00 in his native town of Krusevo. The parliament of FYR Macedonia has declared today a Day of Mourning for the country.

As singer of both pop and traditional music, he was often top of the charts for weeks on end in FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

Toše began his career when he decided to participate in the teenage festival Makfest in 1996. Following this public exposure, he was awarded in Prilep for his strong vocal capabilities, which led to his rise to fame when he participated in Makfest with the song Pusti me (Let me go) in 1997. His fan base quickly grew and he continued to participate successfulyin festivals such as SkopjeFest and OhridFest.

In collaboration with Grigor Koprov,one of thegreatest lyricists and composers of his homeland, Toše produced some of the greatest hits of his career such as Usni na usni (Lips on lips) and Sonce vo tvoite rusi kosi (The sun in your golden hair). His debut album Nekade vo nokta (Somewhere in the night) was released in 1999. In the summer of the same year, Toše performed his first solo concert in Skopje which, in spite of the rain, was unforgettable for all the fans.

In 1998, Toše took part in the Macedonian national Eurovision Song Contest SkopjeFest for the first time together with Megatim Plus, with the song Ostani do kraja (Stay until the end) he was placed 8th. In 2000, he tried once more, this time with the song Solzi pravat zlaten prsten (Golden ring made of tears), whichwas the public's favouritedespite overall finishing in third place, behind Karolina Gočeva and the winners XXL.

his second album Sinot bo�ji (The son of god) was released in the summer of 2000. The album brought some great hits, like Nemir (Restless), a duet with Karolina Gočeva, Vo kosi da ti spijam (Sleeping in your hair), Izlazi me ušte ednaš (Lie to me one more time), as well as Iluzija (Illusion)- which won the Grand Prix at the Slavianski Bazaar Festival in Vitebsk- and Tajno moja (Secret of mine)

Tose became hugely popular in all the former Yugoslavian republics winning the Oscar of Popularity and playing in one sell-out concert after the other in Serbia and Skopje. In 2001, Toše together with many other Macedonian artists toured Australia.

Toše's third album wasAko me pogledneš vo oči (If uou look into my eyes) in Macedonian and Serbian.

In 2003, the Serbian/Montenegrin music festival Beovizija, which the following year was to become the national pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, was launched. Toše won the competition with the song Čija si? (Whose are you?), which became a hit in all the former Yugoslav republics.

Not only a talented performer but a songwriter as well, Tošewrote several hits for himself including Ima li den za nas (Is therea day for us), Slusas li (Can you hear), Malecka (Little one) and Polsko cvjeke (Field flower). In 2004, Proeski composed Muza (Muse) which was a huge hit for Martin Vučić (FYR Macedonia's Eurovision Song Contest representative in 2005). In interviews, Proeski had stated that he has written over 100 songs but was waiting for the right moments to record them as they are still in demo form.

In 2004 Toše finally got the chance to represent his country at the Eurovision Song Contest in Istanbul, where his song Life , which was an English version of Angel si ti (You're an angel) which placed 14th.

Toše, a deeply religious person by nature, was also well known for his humanitarian work over the years. He played many charity concerts throught FYR Macedonia and wasthe Mother Theresa Humanitarian Award. In 2003 he became a Regional UNICEF Ambassador and the following yearhe was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.His song This world became the UNICEF anthem.

Toše signed a contract with Dallas Records so his next album could be released in Croatia and Slovenia. To establish himself in these countries, Toše recorded Krajnje vreme with Slovenian singer, Anja Rupel. In 2005, Toše's fifth album Po tebe (After you) was released all over ex-Yugoslavia. Po tebe, is one of the most successful Balkan albums ever. It has been topping music charts for months in FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The same year he had a mega hit with Tony Cetinski, the Croatian representative at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, with the song Lagala nas mala (She lied to us) which reached number 1 in FYR Macedonia, Croatia and the former Serbia and Montenegro. His latest work, Bo�ilak (Rainbow), is a compilation of 14 selected traditional Macedonian songs. The artist is backed up by a symphonic orchestra on the album. His last album in Croatian, Igra bez granica (Life without borders) was released last August.

Croatian singer Tony Cetinski , on hearing of the tragedy, had only good words to say about his one-time duet partner: "He was a man like I'd never met before, one of a kind. He had enough love and goodness for everything. We were so close that we even called one another ‘bruv'. Despite the fact that he was young, he was wise, modest, kind and good. He died far too young. We spoke every time he came to Croatia. Our work collaboration was the fruit of a friendship, not interest. I still can't believe he's gone. His tragedy goes to show the side of our work that people neither see nor understand. what risks we run every time we go out."

Toše's funeral will take place today at 13.00 in Krusevo. The parliament of FYR Macedonia has declared today a Day of Mourning for the country. The Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, has stated that parliament will not sit, and Reuters reported that citizens of Skopje were crying in the streets on hearing the tragic news from Croatia. Local radio and TV stations have benn playing Proeski's songs back-to-back.

"We all have been blessed with such a great singer and with his immense soul filled with love," President of FYR Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski, said.

"Macedonia and the Balkans lost an angel," said the head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Stefan.

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