It was a hot summer in 1982. One of those holidays that one remembers all their life. We were young, full of life, enthusiasm, joy, good will. It was in a country that doesn't exist today: Yugoslavia. We traveled with a train packed with 'strangers', as we used to call them, from Skopje To Belgrade. No place to sit, we were squashed near the toilets, for eight hours. A few boys and girls, no boyfriends or girlfriends. That year I allowed my younger brother to come with us, for the first time.
We were in a band, and the drummer Toni was in love with one of the girls - she ignored him, of course:-).
We were sitting on the floor, next to the toilet door, and the bass-player, Tinko was sitting opposite of Toni. The girl (whose name I forgot) was sitting next to Tinko, and Toni was watching them. Eventually, the girl fell asleep and leaned her head on Tinko's shoulder. He then hugged her around the shoulder, otherwise there was no place for his hand.
But that was it! Toni jumped and started a fight with Tinko. Because of that hug. In a square meter, packed with us, squashed by the strangers. Ridiculous!
Eventually, we came to Belgrade and decided to meet somewhere on the seaside, I believe Split. We would hitchhike to there, in couples or groups. No mobile phones those days. We decided to meet at the main square of the city, wherever it was. and so we did, two days later. Everyone started arriving during the second day and we stayed a few days there. then, we hitchhiked our way slowly towards the north: Split Zadar, Rijeka, Umag.
Of course, we were camping. We only had one tent, for the belongings and girls, the boys slept outside.
W spent the days on the beach, having amazing fun. There were in total about ten of us.
I remember the day when Shani was laying in the sun, but instead of getting nice red colour, he only got some red stripes along his body. It was so funny to watch. Emil came with his guitar and said to me - I've got here some chords; could you put some melody over them? I took my own guitar and in no time 'Ballad' was born. Emil was my best friend in those time. So I named the tune Ballad For The Friendship (Балада за Пријателството), and only here in UK, when publishing it on CDbaby, I decided to call it to simply Balada.
It was fitting that John Hudson plays the piano on this recording - my best friend here in UK for many years.