STA, 4 February 2021 - Marko Brecelj, an activist singer-songwriter best known internationally as the founder and frontman of the iconic progressive rock band Buldožer, died on Friday, aged 70, the Koper-based newspaper Primorske Novice has reported.
Brecelj was a Sarajevo-born performer and political activist who remained active and provocative until the very end despite his grave illness. News of his supposed death made headlines in July 2021 before it turned out to be the result of a misunderstanding.
He released his only solo album Cocktail in 1974 in collaboration with acclaimed composer Bojan Adamič (1912-1995), before founding Buldožer, a rock band inspired by Frank Zappa's music.
Released in 1975, Buldožer's first album Pljuni Istini u Oči (Spit into the Eyes of Truth) was a sensation in the former Yugoslavia. It sold out fast but the record company would not reissue it due to "inappropriate and controversial" material.
Employing satire and black humour, the band's concerts were veritable performances inviting applause as well as provoking shock and condemnation and they were often officially or unofficially banned by the Communist regime of the time.
Brecelj released a total of two albums and one soundtrack with Buldožer, contributing the socially charged and subversive lyrics for them before leaving the band.
He later worked with various artists and bands. In the 1990s he took over as the head of a youth culture, social and multimedia centre in Koper and founded the Association of Friends of Moderate Progress.
In his recent years he was known for his provocative protest performances such as sending paper planes to the US Embassy in Ljubljana to protest against the Iraq war and NATO, or silencing the bells of the Koper cathedral on Assumption Day by glueing tapestry over the bell clappers.
When former Koper Mayor Boris Popovič was still in office, Brecelj would kneel down and start praying every time he stumbled upon the mayor, whom he called a "democratic despot".
He thus established "soft terrorism" as a style of artistic activism. He was due to perform at Vžigalica gallery in Ljubljana on Culture Day next week.
He repeatedly run in the Koper mayoral elections and was elected to the town council in 2003.
In 2019 Brecelj won the Ježek Award, an accolade given out annually by RTV Slovenija to celebrate creative and witty radio and television oeuvres and achievements.