Living Your Dream in the Balkans - Balkan Life
Back in the early "noughties" I directed a multi-cultural broadcast media project here in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Basically I ran a pop music radio station.
Allied to the project was an "outreach" element, or community interaction component, where we would organise electronic music (read Trance, House, Techno) parties that formed a base to bring disparate young adults together.
Multi-cultural re-binding might be a better description. God that sounds pompous!
As usual I digress.
We used to bring club DJs from the UK to recreate the "music scene" that young people across Europe at that time were experiencing.
The music of Carl Cox, Pete Tong and Tijesto to name but a few.
Lights, Lazers, Dancers .... You know the thing.
Local youth here in BIH, were feeling isolated and ignored, but had a desire to feel "normal" and connected.
Those feelings are still prevalent all these years later sadly.
They came to our parties in droves.
I used to feel immense happiness to see our audiences just having a blast wherever and whenever we organised these events.
Electronic music can be quite uplifting even for an "older" chap like me.
Back to the story.
It must have been back in 2002ish, when I remember noticing two young guys who came to our gigs and kept hanging around the DJ booth, observing intensely, how these DJs we brought from the UK operated.
At the time it looked, to me, I have to say, quite sweet.
I had no idea at all back then, that many years later, both these young men would have developed into amazingly successful DJs in their own right and not just in their home town and country, but globally as well.
So here I am some 14 years later, talking to Mladen Tomić, one of those young men, and finding out, that contrary to local popular negative thought, that you CAN live your dream if you come from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He plays today in locations in Mexico, the United States, across Europe and is looking forward to performing in India and Japan.
That's quite something.
It's so hard to find dynamic, positive role models in the Balkans these days. They are the exception not the rule.
Mladen Tomić is, in my humble opinion, a role model.