John Kruth was introduced to the works of famous Croatian poet Tin Ujević on one of his trips to Croatia to visit the family of his wife Marilyn Cvitanić and decided to record an album – titled The Drunken Wind of Life – The Poem/Songs of Tin Ujević.
“In 2007 I released my ninth solo album, a batch of 16 songs called Splitsville (Sonic Impressions of Croatia) inspired by all things Croatian from rakija to Bol to Vukovar. (One tune “The Rakija Song” has since been recorded by Croatian Blues man Tomislav Goluban.) While visiting Split I was introduced to the stunningly powerful poetry of Tin Ujević by graphic artist/gallery owner Pavo Majić. Pavo then invited me to play at a tribute to Tin in his home town of Vrgorac. Within days I began setting his words to music and performed two of his songs at the festival,” said Kruth, before adding.
“While in Koprivnica, I recorded a handful of songs I’d written with Miroslav Evačić (prim and guitar) and Gordana Evačić (cymbalom). I then brought the project back to the U.S. where my wife Marilyn and I produced Homage to Tin Ujević, the Bard of Croatia on April 21, 2007 at the renown Bowery Poetry Club in New York with performances by Beat poet Anne Waldman, singer/poet John S. Hall (King Missile) and actor/playwright Sam Shepard as well as the Croatian band Bad Buka and myself. HR1 filmed the show and then interviewed me after the performance and aired the story in Croatia. I then continued to write more music to Ujević’s lyrics and record them with a fantastic crew of musicians, including Jolie Holland.voice, fiddle, Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes): bass, Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven): violin, organ, Victor Krummenacher (Camper Van Beethoven): bass, guitar, and Samantha Parton (Be Good Tanyas),” concludes John, who hopes people can get behind his Kickstarter campaign so the album can be completed.
Born in Vrgorac in 1891, Augustin “Tin” Ujević is considered to be one of the greatest Croatian poets to ever live. He distinguished himself in three fields: as a translator, essayist and feuilletonist and poet. Ujević wrote more than ten books of essays, poetry in prose and meditations — but his enduring strength lies chiefly in his monumental poetic opus. He died in 1955.