Ivan Šegedin Organising 23th Marco Polo Festival of Songs and Wine

A beautiful tradition continues.

The 23rd edition of Marko Polo Festival of Songs and Wine, founded and led by Ivan Šegedin, is getting closer. Ahead of the event, let’s meet the man who organises it, reports on July 18, 2018.

He was born on 27 May 1963, in a modest family of peasants. He attended an elementary school in Žrnovo, where he lives today and a high school in Korčula. He studied economy at the University of Dubrovnik. At the school in Žrnovo, he demonstrated a remarkable talent for acting and music through various activities: drama, folklore, and music groups, achieving great results and winning awards throughout the region. As a high school student, he founded The Rabbits band, which later broke up, prompting Ivan to found The Endemi band (which disbanded after eight years). For the PGP RTB records company, he recorded his first album with nine songs. In the meantime, he worked for HTP Korčula and the Gradina company.

One of his verses from the early 1990s, “with olives and vines, without guns and grenades, let God protect you from the war,” is remembered even today. Like many of his peers, he took part in the war as a volunteer on the battlefield, writing the song “Sons of Korčula”, for which he filmed a video in the Dubrovnik hinterland in 1993, together with other Croatian defenders.

In the numerous songs written during and after the Homeland War, he discovers many of the destinies which interested him. And many songs also reveal his own destiny. With that experience and his organisational abilities, respecting all the human values, traits and roots of the beautiful island of Korčula in liberated Croatia, in 1996 he organised the first International Marco Polo Festival of Songs and Wine, in which he invested all his assets, time, efforts and energy. That same year, the storm destroyed the stage, but not his will and energy.

At the time, crowds which are today visiting Korčula were seen only in dreams. At the first edition of the festival, his song “Korčula is a pearl of the sea” became a hit and a symbol of the island of Korčula and is still often sung at various occasions. Since then, the stage has changed its location several times (Hotel Park, parking lot on the old waterfront, summer cinema, and Plokata Square).

He married his wife Irena, who used to be a singer in Lumbarda. They have son Petar, who also sings. On Sunday, 22 July, he will perform together with his father Ivan, who says that he is happy that he was able to give his soul and life to the town and the island, which have a festival they can proudly compare with other similar festivals in the world.

He has written more than 300 songs and released over 20 albums. His songs are performed by various famous performers, such as: Vinko Coce, Neda Ukraden, Boris Babarović (Crveni Koralji), Vladimir Kočiš Zec (Novi Fosili), Tihana Sabati, Zoran Jelenković, Nenad Vetma, Nenad Kero, Klapa Kumpanji, Klapa Luka Ploče, Klapa Ošjak, Tamburitza band Slavonski San, Vesna Nežić Ružić, Marina Gradić, Zorica Andrijašević, Janja Jurić and many others.

Many of his songs are dedicated to the town of Korčula. He has participated in various festivals in Croatia, winning many awards: Melodies of Croatian Adriatic, Zagreb Fest, Melodies of Mostar, Melodies of Croatian South. He was the winner of the Evening of the winners of Croatian festivals, and he was especially honored to be able to greet Pope John Paul II with his song “Holy Father Protect Us” when the pope visited Žnjan in Split.

He has the status of an independent artist of Croatia and is a member of the Croatian Composers Society, Matica Hrvatska, the Pelješac-Korčula Cancer League, “My Sun” association for helping children with special needs, “Save the Hospital” association, for which he has organised numerous charity events and concerts, as well as many other associations. As the chairman of the Žrnovo-Postrana Local Committee, he has launched a series of initiatives to improve the community.

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This year's Marco Polo International Festival of Songs and Wine will be held at the Plokata Square in Korčula from 20 to 22 July. The Festival Board received 168 songs and selected 30 which cover the themes of Dalmatia, Korčula, wine, and love. The festival consists of two final evening and one international evening: “Songs and Wine”, “Easy Listening Melodies”, and “Melodies of Marco Polo”.

At the very beginning of the first festival evening, the so-called “Wine Party” will be held, with an expert jury assessing the best wines, which will also be enjoyed by star performers, actors, and participant of the Festival. This year's 23rd edition will feature over 200 performers and is held under the auspices of President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović. “I am convinced that this year's festival will again confirm its success with great songs and a large number of participants and visitors and that it will contribute to the promotion of Croatian wines and Croatia's tourism,” said Kolinda Grabar Kitarović.

This year’s performers are: Vrijeme Ljubavi, Geronimo, Marko Žigmanović, Tina Roščić, Dario Darko Ciprijan, Lucija Rajnović, Camino Verde, Petar Dabelić, Joško Ševo Doc, Lejla Imamović, Živko Gašpar, Intrigo Band, Eli Žuvela, Giovanni Furlan, Kristina and Klapa Porat, Nenad Vetma, Zoran Jelenković, Mirko Švenda Žiga, Mia Reba, Dragana Kajtazović, Hrvoje Hegedušić, Ivan and Petar Šegedin, Ivica Šeperić, Nenad Kumrić Charlie, Tihomir Kožina, Cristina Lubiana, Božidar A. Kolerič, Mile Perkov, Dany Dandosa, Sergio Hrnić, and traditional singing groups Divna, Fumari, Nava, Kanela, Kumpanija, Geta, Kolura, Porat. They will be accompanied by the Metković Mandolin Orchestra.

Previous winners are:
1996 - Carlo Pedron (Italy), “Afrodita Korčula”
1997 - Vinko Coce, “Kad me nikad neće”
1998. - Vinko Coce, “Žmul vina”
1999 - Alen Vitasović, “Nisam bio za tebe”
2000 - Tereza Kesovija, “Sastala se stara klapa”
2001 - Đuka Čaić, “Evo rode”
2002 - Neno Belan and Fiumensi, “Ka'vanna”
2003 - Saša Lendero and Miha Hercog (Slovenia), “Sunce izlazi”
2004 - Alen Vitasović, “Ja dat ću sve”
2005 - Dražen Žanko, “Ljetna je noć”
2006 - Ivan Šegedin, “Rodi majko zemlji sina”
2007 - Yang Xiaoguang (China), “Nek je sretna China i Croatia”
2008 - Turbo Angels (Slovenia), “Riba ribi grize rep”
2009 - Matko Jelavić, “Kapetane”
2010 - Neda Ukraden, “Dalmacijom zagrljeni”
2011 - Luka Ploče, “Sama ti, sam san ja”
2012 - Next Time, “Posljednje od nas”
2013 - Libero Band, “Gori Noć”
2014 - Neda Ukraden, “Zovi me u 2 i 22”
2015 - Arti, “Viruj meni dušo”
2016 - Zorica Andrijašević Donna, “Izgubljene stvari”
2017 - Mirko Švenda Žiga, “Volim te Dalmacijo”

In addition to these winner, the festival has brought together many famous Croatian and international acts, such as: Tereza Kesovija, Vinko Coce, Milo Hrnić, Zorica Andijašević Donna, Kvartet Gorgonzola, Simona Wais, Kumpanji, Vlado Kalember, Alka Vuica, Vladimir Kočiš Zec, Zoran Jelenković, Emilija Kokić, Maja Šuput, Jasmin Stavros, Klapa Sv. Juraj, Tomislav Bralić and Intrade, Jacques Houdek, Nera Ban, Boris Oštrić, Dean and Dino Dvornik, Đorđi Peruzović, Ivica Percl, Toni Kljaković, Ilan Kabiljo, Šima Jovanovac, Branimir Mihaljević, Klapa Ragusa, Stijene, Klapa Greben, Klapa Ošjak, Nenad Vetma, opera singers Nikša Radovanović and Ivanka Boljkovac, Vedran Ivčić, Meri Cetinić, Stivideni...

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