Esad Arnautalić

Born: February 28th, 1939, Sarajevo (Yugoslavia, nowadays Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Died: December 4th, 2016, Sarajevo (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Nationality: Bosnian

In the 1960s, Esad Arnautalić worked as a producer and arranger for RTV Sarajevo, the Bosnian branch of the Yugoslav national broadcaster. As such, he invented the formula of the popular annual Vaš Šlager Sezone music contest, which was first staged in 1967. He worked as a composer and arranger with many of Yugoslavia’s most well-known artists, including Pro Arte, Krunoslav Slabinac, Radojka Šverko and Kemal Monteno. Several of his compositions participated in music competitions, including the Split Festival and, of course, Vaš Šlager Sezone. Later onwards, Arnautalić substituted Radivoje Spasić as the conductor of the RTV Sarajevo Orchestra.

In the 1970s, on two occasions, the Yugoslavian Eurovision pre-selections were won by artists from Bosnia-Herzegovina: Zdravko Colić with ‘Gori vatra’ (1973) and Ambasadori with ‘Ne mogu skriti svoju bol’ (1976). On both occasions, Esad Arnautalić accompanied the representatives to the international festival, staged in Luxembourg (’73) and The Hague (’76) respectively, as their conductor. In 1993, Arnautalić made a surprise return to the contest, conducting the first ever Bosnian Eurovision entry, ‘Sva bol svijeta’, in the Eastern European pre-selection (organized for the new EBU member states in Central and Eastern Europe), staged in Ljubljana. Probably, Arnautalić replaced Sinan Alimanović, who, because of the ongoing war in Bosnia, was unable to escape his country. The aforementioned song, performed by the group Fazla, succeeded in qualifying for the international Eurovision finals in Millstreet (Ireland). There, however, the Bosnian entry was conducted by host MD Noel Kelehan.

In due course, a more extensive biography of Esad Arnautalić will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1973: Gori vatra
1976: Ne mogu skriti svoju bol

1993: Sva bol svijeta