Above photo thanks to Eli Grba of Alabama!
Folk Streams Popovich Brothers Movie website:
"THE POPOVICH BROTHERS OF SOUTH CHICAGO is a portrait of a family of musicians in the heart of the Serbian-American community of South Chicago, and especially, the five Popovich brothers who made up the most famous and well loved tamburitza ensemble in the U.S. The film demonstrates the powerful role music plays in Serbian communities, the loving force it exerts on all members there and the tension that could unravel the cohesiveness of these communities when second and third generation, college-educated Serbians opt for professional lives in other cities. The film also chronicles some difficult developments in the life of these musicians who have been playing together since 1926, when their mother sent them off as children on a tour to play for the isolated Serbian mining and steel mill communities of the West and Midwest."
THEY WERE PURE GOLD!+++++++++++++++
Knez Jakovac of St. Louis, Missouri, wouldn't give me any peace until I made a special page for the Popovich Brothers of Chicago. Believe me, he didn't have to prod much as I've always been a HUGE fan of the whole family, their values and their unabashed love of their Serbian heritage ever since I can remember.
Why, we were THRILLED here in Pittsburgh when Daniella married our "Winnie," because we finally had Popovich genes in the East too! Add Marco Trbovich and his Mitca and we've been flying ever since! What gems they have proven to be....
The Popovich Family consisted of five brothers and five sisters born to Serbian immigrants in Globeville, Colorado. Because their father Nikola (from Lika) was a roving miner and also worked on the railroads, the family naturally moved a lot, and lived in small towns throughout Colorado, Nevada and Utah.
While growing up, the boys learned how to play the tamburitza and even when working in the steel mills in Chicago, were able to supplement their income by playing at weddings, christenings, zabavas, etc.
But as Knez says, having the Popovich Brothers appear guaranteed the success of any occasion. EVERYONE loved their playing, singing and Serbian soul.... their Srpstvo. They electrified any building or picnic grounds where they ever appeared. Everyone was GUARANTEED a good time if they were playing.
One of their most stirring moments occured when they appeared outside of the theater that was showing "THE FIGHTING CHETNIKS," sending chills and goosebumps up and down the arms of the people waiting in line to buy theater tickets to the movie starring Philip Dorn.
1975 Photo with "adopted brother," Pete Mistovich
Today, only "Little Soph" (Sophie) remains of the original 10 siblings.
Granddaughter Ljubi Hayden in Chicago area speaks:
"Deda lived with my parents and my sister and brother at 'the house' and our childhood was filled with so many family memories, Slava, gatherings and MUSIC. We had the best of it and I wouldn't trade that time for anything. I just love your website and have passed it on to my sons and their families to enjoy."
The Popovich Brothers WERE Serbian music.
And they taught Srpstvo by example!
From Von Orlich:
+Eli, +Deda Nikola, +Baba Ljubica, Teta Cvijeta, +Teta Eva, +Cici Adam, +Cici Ted, +Cici Mikey
Nikola and Ljubica Popovich and their family.
From Von Orlich:
Sitting L-R: Ted Ostoich, Mike Stampar, Joan Lasky, +Stevan Peinovich, Diane Peinovich; 2nd row: Martha Teshich, Diane Huber, Diane Zec; 3rd row: +Dorine Popovich, +Deda Nikola Popovich, Nan Peinovich; girls standing:Melanie Evancevich, Dorothy Popovich, Ljubi Hayden, Von Orlich, Danella Winovich, Louise Romanchak.
Artwork by Adam Popovich
Early photo of Sloboda Choir
Click bottom right hand corner to enlarge all photos.
Adam directing and playing at the same time!
Nobody had what the Serbs had in the Popovich Brothers! Unique and one-of-a-kind!
At a tribute to Adam's 90th Birthday Celebration
Here's what the NEA Heritage Fellows (1982) said of Adam:
"In 1976, Popovich organized a large tamburitza orchestra to accompany the Sloboda Choir for their bicentennial concert. Prominent tamburashi from all around the Chicago area came to play for him, and together they formed the Chicago Tambura Ensemble with the membership of about 25 established tamburashi. Ensembles of this kind originated in the European nationalistic movements of the late 1800s, when musicians worked to create what might be called a "national" classical music. Deriving their inspiration from these early efforts, the Ensemble built a repertoire that featured orchestral arrangements of traditional Serbian melodies and light classical music by Serbian and other composers. In addition to presenting large-scale concerts, the Ensemble offered musical instruction for young people and maintained associations with other adult groups, such as the Pittsburgh Tamburitza Philharmonic and the Detroit Tamburitza Symphony. "
Milan Opacich was able to invite the Popovich family for a private showing of the grand Tamburitza Extravaganza Display at St. Sava's Merrillville Museum, August, 2011. Great! It continues....
Old Photo of Nikola Popovich and info downloaded from Facebook page of Von Orlich and Denise.
Von wrote that her grandfather, Nikola Popovich, arrived in the U.S. in 1902 and worked as a miner out west. He married Ljubica, a woman ahead of her time, in 1906. They had 18 children, but only ten survived childhood. Nikola was born in Mutilic, Udbina, Lika, in 1882 to +Luka and Milica (Radocaj) Popovich. Nikola arrived via a tramp steamer. He was a much beloved man. Although Ljubica died at the age of 58, Nikola lived to be 94. The Popovich family was known for their strong work ethic, sacrifice, honesty, love of family and other strong values. They upheld all of the Serbian Orthodox traditions and beliefs for themselves and their progeny who are still proudly carrying on their Serbian heritage. At the last count, Nikola and Ljubica had 26 grandchildren, 56 great-grandchildren, 47 great-great grandchildren and 2 great-great-great grandchildren. What a legacy he left!
Here's what Knez has so say about his favorite musicians of all time, the POPOVICH BROTHERS!
"With all due respect to anyone who has their own particular favorites I have always felt for their size the Popovichs pound for pound were the greatest Tamburica orchestra.
They were virtuosos, developed and perfected their own original style, and knew the language and culture forwards and backwards.
They knew practically every song you could come up with, and sang beautifully and as ONE as only brothers can.
The fact that they were in Chicago as opposed to Europe only enhances the romance and their legacy.
The Popovich Brothers were handsome like movie stars (a superficial point but a part of the mystique and aura) and spread the culture and beauty of Tamburica across the United States with their wonderful music.
Their approach to the music was original and awe inspiring. The prima and cello continued to play even while they were singing harmonies to Teddy's lead so that never did the bottom drop out during the vocals, not to mention that Mikey played arpeggios and obligato behind the singing, never duplicating the melody but adding a line that interwove with the cello and created drive and made it swing.
Adam defined Cello playing in this country with his innovations. NO insult to anyone, I love so many players of yesterday and today and am in awe of them, but this is one group that will always be dear to my heart. May god bless them and keep them.
Humble and proud at the same time. Touring the country and playing as a group for 70 years, continuing even after Mikey's death. The greatest tamburica orchestra in this country, the old country or even Marlboro Country! I will love them to the day I die and will never stop singing their praises.
They were the PREMIER tamburica orchestra in this country for decades. They were untouchable.
When I was growing up the Popovich Brothers were like the Beatles to me, and they defined at least three or four generations, especially mine!
This was truly given from God.
Knez Jakovac wants to know if you agree with him:
Here's Knez' website:
Knez' latest CD is called SWAY. The mandolin Knez plays is a vintage 1939 brac made by John Bencic.
Thank you, Knez!
You're absolutely right!
Here's a YouTube video of the Popovich Brothers.
(You will probably be disconnected, so don't forget to log on again, to
Folkstreams Films made a great 1 hour film about the Popovich Brothers.
You can learn more about the film and even read the entire script, by going to this website.
Here's the Transcript:
From the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
"THE POPOVICH BROTHERS is filled with songs and life, with the lilting, driving, and sometimes sad music of Serbia...It marvels at the fact that an ethnic musical culture can not only survive to the third and fourth generation in America, but prosper."
From a record album I've had for 32 years....
What also made the album so great was Adam's desire to leave a legacy for us ALL to learn the words to these songs way into the future.
Below here are some examples of his burning love for everything Serbian!
Here are the words to "Doline Tutne" (Ratne Pesme) and "Hej Trubaci!" in Cyrillic
Adam could have chosen to do one or the other-- Latinica or Cyrillic. He chose to do BOTH to remind us of how important it was to preserve the language!
Hajte, hajte, Srbi Ustajte!
Hajte braco, hate, svoje nedajte!
in Latinica for those who can't read Cyrillic......
"I recently discovered your website and have been poking around a bit. I especially like the Popovich Brothers section. I had the priviledge to play with them for over 20 years and couldn't agree more with what you and Knez have written about them. On top of all the musical accolades, they were some of the finest gentlemen I have ever met in my life."
Bob holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and has been employed by Hewlett Packard and Agilent Technologies.
Bob Lalich played with the Popovich Brothers for over 20+ years. He can be seen in the movie about the Popovich Brothers of South Chicago made by folkstreams.net.
You may also read more about Bob's views from the phone interview conducted by Dan Patterson, in 2008 from the Folkstreams website.
Bob was playing from the time he was 8 years old, with his So. Chicago church group-junior tamburitzans. After Marko died, they asked Bob to join them, January, 1978.
Bob reminisced, saying that Adam was the most musically talented, but he was also always impressed with Teddy's memory. "Teddy would remember all the words to songs he hadn't sung in twenty or thrity years and he never used any book or anything-just out of his head."
Bob was with the Popovich Brothers when they played in Washington, D.C. a few times, such as when Adam was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts (Folk Heritage Fellowship) in 1982. Bob enjoyed performing at the Library of Congress theater there. They also played for the Statue of Liberty Centennial in New York, in Manhattan. They also played for President Clinton's Inaugural ceremony, not in the White House, but there was a huge set up in the Mall and they played for that.
Nicola Popovich (their father), Bob said, taught the brothers the nationalistic songs (historical war-narrative type songs) and they always said their mother taught them the love songs.
Eil was the oldest-bass player
Adam-palyed brac, cello, anything.
Teddy-bugarija. Main role was as a singer.
Mikey (also called Marko) played prima.
Pete also played brac, but not very long, and died young.
Other Musicians with the Popovich Brothers:
Pete Mistovich-Bass player. Joined when Eli joined the OSS/CIA and moved away.
Bob Lalich-c'elo & 2nd brac.
George Ivancevich: c'elo.
John Lazich: c'elo.
Of course others joined when needed, as I know Milan Opacic sometimes played with them too.
Thanks to Bob Lalich for reaching out and sharing his knowledge with us.
Thanks to rade011 bgd for posting this!
Popovich Brothers Tamburica Orchestra - Braca Popovic -
Uzo deda svog unuka Deda i unuk - stihovi JJ Zmaj