|Birth Day:||January 5, 1942|
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He was born in the town of Sombor (present-day Vojvodina, Serbia) during World War II to a Bunjevac family, when that part of Yugoslavia was under Axis Hungarian occupation. He spent his childhood on the salaš (farm) of his maternal grandfather Stipan Kukuruzar; his other grandfather Franja was a coachman, tamburitza musician and bon viveur. After a brief adventure in local Sombor theatre, he headed for Belgrade, in age of 19, to enter the drama academy, and started singing in Belgrade kafanas to earn for living, and he found himself in this job. The engagement in Belgrade's "Union" hotel, meeting place of numerous journalists and bohemes, boosted his career; for almost 30 years, he would sing in "Union" whenever he visited Belgrade. His first solo concert was held at Kalemegdan terrace. In 1971, he recorded "Ej salaši na severu Bačke", the song he would be forever remembered for. From 1972, he performed with Janika Balázs' orchestra on Novi Sad's Petrovaradin fortress, a hallmark of tamburitza music.
In 1990, Croatian poet Drago Britvić and composer Siniša Leopold wrote a song "Svirci moji" (Musicians of mine) especially for Zvonko Bogdan, for him to perform at the traditional festival of tamburitza songs "Zlatne žice Slavonije" in Požega, Croatia. Because of the Yugoslavia crisis, Bogdan did not have a chance to make his performance, but Đuka Čajić stepped in and won the festival. It took more than a decade for Bogdan to perform the song before an audience. In the HRT show "Hit do hita" in April 2004, Zvonko Bogdan finally gave his premiere of "Svirci moji". Since then, it has become a regular song in his repertoire. Krunoslav Slabinac and Zlatni Dukati also recorded their version of this song, which became a tamburitza classic.
The most prominent Croatian tamburitza artists, such as Zlatni Dukati, Kićo Slabinac and Miroslav Škoro have recorded many songs that Bogdan wrote or is known for singing them. Zlatni Dukati made an album Starogradska pjesmarica in 1994, with many popular Bogdan's songs. Kićo Slabinac also started to sing tamburitza songs in the 70s and part of his repertoire is very similar to Bogdan's. Miroslav Škoro, who is an apprentice of Jerry Grchevich, has a habit to perform "Ej salaši na sjeveru Bačke" in almost every concert as dedication to Zvonko Bogdan.
Bogdan is also a prolific harness racer, and horses and affection for them are common themes in Bogdan's songs. He is considered one of the most successful racers of Vojvodina In 2001, at Zagreb's Hippodrome, he won the Hrvatski kasački derbi (Croatian Harness Race Derby), establishing a record that still stands.
During the past years, Zvonko Bogdan has written a few Croatian patriotic songs such as "Otvori prozor" (Open the Window), "Od Konavala pa do Zagore" (From Konavli to Zagora), "Markova čežnja" (Marko's Longing). In May 2003, at the Brodfest, an annual tamburitza festival held in Slavonski Brod, Zvonko Bogdan won the "Ruka slobode" award ("Hand of Freedom") for the song "Od Konavala pa do Zagore". The song lyrics were declared the most patriotic lyrics written for the Croatian tamburitza scene in 2002.
In 2004, Bogdan performed in Novi Sad for the Exit festival, mostly devoted to pop/rock, also held on Petrovaradin fortress; it was a tribute of new generations to the old bard and the site which was the cornerstone of traditional music.
Currently, Zvonko Bogdan is 80 years, 7 months and 12 days old. Zvonko Bogdan will celebrate 81st birthday on a Thursday 5th of January 2023. Below we countdown to Zvonko Bogdan upcoming birthday.