Sanja Ilić, who represented Serbia at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest alongside the group Balkanika, has passed away at the age of 70.
Sanja Ilić has sadly died at the age of 70 from complications relating to COVID-19. The singer was the founder of the ethnic-folk group Balkanika, who represented Serbia at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Nova Deca”. The group finished in 19th place with 113 points.
The Eurovoix team would like to express our condolences to Sanja Ilić’s family and friends at this difficult time.
Balkanika is a Serbian band, formed by Sanja Ilic in 1998. The members of the group include:
- (Aleksandar) Sanja Ilić
- Vocalists – Nevena Stamenković, Danica Krstić, Marija Bjelanović, Mladen Lukić, Nemanja Kojić
- Percussionists – Aleksandar Radulović, Milan Jejina
- Guitarists – Branimir Marković, Nebojša Nedeljković
- Flautist – Ljubomir Dimitrijević
The group is known for their folk sound, and their mission according to Sanja is to “preserve, revitalise and modernise Serbian medieval and Byzantine music traditions”. Their music features old Balkan instruments incorporated into modern music. Over their 20 years together, the band has performed all around the world, and are increasing in popularity.
Image Source: Sanja Ilić & Balkanika | Source: novosti
Serbia have competed as an independent nation in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2007, and have seen great success in the competition. Their first entry in 2007, Marija Šerifović’s “Molitva”, won the contest in Helsinki with 268 points, making Serbia’s debut one of the most successful in Eurovision history. From then up to their year’s break in 2014, Serbia finished in the top 10 a further two times, including a 3rd place finish in 2012 with Željko Joksimović’s “Nije ljubav stvar”. They have only failed to qualify for the final on three occasions, the most recent being in 2017 when Tijana Bogićević’s entry “In Too Deep” finished in 11th place in its semi-final in Kyiv.