Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stronger Than Anything

Stronger Than Anything as performed live at The Vancouver Rowing Club with The Funky Orkestar's Timothy Van Cleave on vibes on March 04. 2011.

The story of this song begins long time ago before the death of the Yugoslavian president Tito. The country was in peace and the idea of "brotherhood and unity" was still strong. This idea is much similar to The Multiculturalism here in Canada, and perhaps that is one of the main reasons I love this country so strongly.

However, as Tito was growing older and sicker there were rumors of what Yugoslavia will become after him. The tensions between Croats and Serbs I was hearing at the time was growing stronger and I just couldn't believe it. For God's sake, my sister is half Croatian half Serbian! I always believed that we are all one and the same, we are South Slavs and I loved the fact that Yugoslavia had all those diferent cultures and places and dialects and religions. That I believed was what makes Yugoslavia special and unique and was proud of that. The rumors were however stronger and stronger and as much as I didn't want to believe it I recorded somewhere at the back of my concience that the war everybody was talking about could in fact happen. So at one inspiring moment I wrote this song under the strong belief that nothing can break what's right - and that is Yugoslavia as it was - a melting pot of cultures, the richness of humanity in itself. It does not matter what culture we are, what religion we follow, what colour our skin is, what sexual orientation we have. The strength of humanity is in unity - not in separation.

Also, the song was about the power of good against war as the ultimate evil.

The original lyrics in the chorus were saying: "... We are so much stronger than them, the soldiers don't have the power for breaking us..."

The war eventually really happened, in spite of my naivity. Needless to say, it was a real low kick I and majority of people on the Balkans could hardly survive! The population is emotionally wounded and you can still see it on people's faces. It felt as though the evil is winning, but the song was still going strong. A couple years ago I reconnected with a girlfriend of mine who I was very good friend at the time and who I sang this song in a duet with. She moved to Bosnia before the war, and after the war she moved back to my hometown. I could only imagine what she was going through. When I sent her the link to my website and the news about my new CD, she sent me an email saying : "I'm so happy you included this song on your album. The whole time througout the war I was singing it (with the original lyrics) and I trully believe it helped me through the whole nightmare!"

Aside from that, in my own personal turmoils in the years after I moved to Canada, this song really helped me go through it all.

Today, it looks like the times are the hardest as they ever were. The circle is closed. We will always need songs like this. The vibraphone player Timothy Van Cleave I was lucky to meet and now play with said to his followers and friends: "Take a listen. This song migh change your life". What else should an artist expect? I am the happiest guy on earth, and hope more people will feel the power of this song.

And in spite of everything, I now know that the war in Yugoslavia didn't happen because most Croats hated Serbs because of their religion, nor because muslims in Bosnia hated Croats and Serbs. It was a doing of highest political will of the world that took advantage of the extremists on every side in Yugoslavia for globalization and economic imperialism. It was also the fastest way to switch from "common property of communism" to "private property of capitalism" and have a small corrupted group of people in power become reach beyond belief!

I still hope and strongly believe, and in fact I'm sure that the good will prevail and that we are in fact stronger than anything! It always is althought at times it might seem the evil is stronger. My feeling about Yugoslavia, for example, is proving every day. The Balkan countries are still very dependent on each other and normal people deeply feel the connection that still exists and is growing stronger. I'm looking forward to seeing what form this will take in the future.

The good is stronger than anything!


  1. It is indeed a very courageous song :)

  2. I enjoyed your blog. Because you are a forward thinker you might enjoy this news site

  3. Hello RB,

    First of all congratulations on a successful first gig and, as I expected, I note that you have more to follow - no surprise there. Thanks for all the videos, wish I could have been there.

    Second, I would like to say how grateful I am for the story behind 'Stronger than Anything'. The song is helping me through some very difficult times. First, during the illness and death of my mother and then the mental illness of my sister, who is a chronic alcoholic as well. Currently I am fighting for justice for myself and colleagues regarding our contract of employment. You can imagine the pressure and stress.

    Tomorrow I go before our School Governors to put our case to them. I must admit that I am terrified; I don't want to let anyone down. So, you can guess what I will be playing all the way into work tomorrow. The song and the backgound to it will, I hope, help me to remain 'Stronger than Anything.'

    Thanks again,

  4. Hello RB,

    We won our case. It was a very hard struggle carrying on for hours and I was utterly exhausted by the end. So, things have gone the way I had hoped. It has been a bitter conflict, with some individuals taking the matter personally, and it was never meant to be. We now have to begin rebuilding broken bridges. To that end I have asked my friends and colleagues not get excited about winning and to allow the other side their dignity. I think that compassion is called for rather tham victory signs if we are to repair those bridges quickly.

    It was a stressful journey to work but I kept playing your song. During breaks in negotiations I kept chanting the words to myself and recalling the story behind them - what I went through yesterday was nothing in comparison and it helped to keep things in perspective.

    Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts.

    Take care,