Croatian Music Guide: Dino Dvornik

Dino Dvornik
Image by Index

Dino Dvornik is one of the most prolific Croatian musicians. He was a singer, songwriter, and producer and was considered an “enfant terrible” of the Croatian music scene. Unsurprisingly, Enfant Terrible is also the name of his fourth album, released in 1997.

Dino started his first band China Wall when he was 17, along with his older brother Dejan. Its name was inspired by a very big building complex in Split, locally called Kineski zid (Chinese Wall), where his family lived in the 1980s.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Dino Dvornik’s early days

Dino’s first independent record was simply called Dino Dvornik. This album was issued in 1989 and is considered to be the first example of funk music in Croatia and surrounding Balkan countries. The record carried 8 songs and was made during only 80 hours of recording, which by industry standards is very low.

Apparently, it was all the time that Dino could afford to book at a music studio. This record proved Dino’s immense talent and creativity. The record was a huge hit and sold 750.000 copies.

His next record Kreativni Nered (Creative Mess) was released only a year later. Dino planned on a big regional tour, which was canceled due to the Croatian War of Independence, aka the “Homeland War”.

During this time, Dino suffered from depression. He also used drugs, considered an unavoidable part of the music scene at the time.

Priroda i društvo (Nature and Society), released in 1993, didn’t repeat the success of his debut record. However, it was notable for the song Rušila sam mostove od sna (I’ve broken the bridges of sleep), performed with another iconic and charismatic Croatian artist Josipa Lisac.

[Read: Croatian Music Guide: Josipa Lisac]

Dino Dvornik - King of Croatian Funk
Image by CDM

Dino’s recognition outside of Croatia

In 1995, Dino released a single called Afrika (Africa), which is notably one of his most beloved songs. Many of his hits can still be heard on Croatian radio stations, but Afrika is special.

At the time, electronic music was still in its infancy. Afrika was considered to be progressive for its fast rhythm, beats, and use of electronic sounds. It has been recognized by many European house and techno DJs.

Afrika was a part of the album Enfant Terrible. Dino was awarded a Porin for a hit of the year for Afrika. Porin is a Croatian version of a Grammy award.

Enfant Terrible was followed by two more original albums: Big Mamma in 1999 and Svicky in 2002, but they did not repeat the success of his earlier records.

What followed was a creative gap of sorts. In 2006, Dino invited television cameras into his home, another “first” for him. The reality show was modeled after the American reality show The Osbournes and featured his wife Danijela and daughter Ella. It was the first reality show of that kind to be filmed and produced in Croatia.

Two years later, determined to make a comeback, he was working very hard on his next record titled Pandorina kutija (Pandora’s box). According to his friends and family, Dino was very nervous and under a lot of stress, worried about whether his audience will approve of his new music.

Before releasing the new album, the uncrowned king of Croatian funk music died in his sleep on September 7, 2008, due to a lethal combination of anxiety and anti-depressant medication.

Pandora’s box was published posthumously and won several awards, including the Porin for record of the year. After his death, Dino was also awarded a lifetime achievement award.

A little more about Croatian king of funk

Dino Dvornik was native to Split. Split people are known for being nostalgic.

If you enter the town of Split via Poljička cesta, you may notice a large mural dedicated to Dino Dvornik and his father Boris Dvornik. The writing in the mural says:

No more Boris, no more Dino

The sea withdrew, the rock has crushed

Much smaller the Split stage appears to be now.

Boris Dvornik was one of the most talented and fruitful Croatian actors. Boris and Dino died within 6 months of each other. Both of them are very well-known and loved in the city of Split, and each of them are icons in their own way.

5 Dino Dvornik songs to get you started

1. Tebi pripadam (I belong to you)

2. Rušila sam mostove od sna (I’ve broken the bridges of sleep) with Josipa Lisac

3. Afrika (Africa)

4. Ništa kontra Splita (Nothing against Split)

5. Hipnotiziran (Hypnotized)

View our other Croatian music guides

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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