This tireless musician composed music for more than 40 films and 100 TV series
There are very few people who cannot sing along to the famous verses from Alfi Kabiljo’s musical Yalta, Yalta. Still, it is but a fraction of the fascinating career of this composer, conductor, score-writer, pianist, song-writer, librettist and producer. Architect by education, he found a fruitful field in music: he composed original scores for more than 40 films and 100 TV series. The memorable hits, in national and foreign films, span a continuous, half a century long career.
This is why he is this year’s laureate of Motovun Film Festival’s 50 Years award – a recognition given to film professionals who have dedicated their lengthy careers to motion pictures. But his interest in film dates way back to his childhood, when he was selling coal and spending the money thus earned for watching movies. Some of the films for which he composed music: Kužiš, stari moj, Novinar, Occupation in 26 Pictures, The Fall of Italy, Lea i Darija… The original score for Seljačka buna, Banović Strahinja and Neka ostane među nama won him Golden Arenas at Pula Film Festival. The long list of TV series with his music includes Nikola Tesla, Mačak pod šljemom, Nepokoreni grad…
Alfi Kabiljo made music for foreign films, too. Successful original scores like the ones for Scissors with Sharon Stone, Sky Bandits, Fear and Gymkata paved his way to Hollywood. But he did not want to stay there – so strong was the call of his family, his homeland, Dalmatian coast, skiing, joys of life and the vicinity of London, Paris and Vienna where this self-declared president of the World Hedonist Party often worked.
Most of his best songs awarded at national and international festivals were composed in Croatia. He collaborated with the best Croatian singers. Your Land, performed by Vice Vukov, is probably the most distinctive Croatian patriotic song. Alfi Kabiljo is also known as the author of numerous classic musicals such as Yalta, Yalta, Kralj je gol and Tko pjeva, zlo ne misli and the comic opera Casanova u Istri. Such an impressive body of work brought him Porin Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Choosing a musical career was only logical, as he composed his first song when he was only eight. He had his band while still in primary school and is considered the first musician in Yugoslavia to record his own rock music. Interestingly, figure skaters in three Olympic games performed accompanied by his music.
Having turned 85, Alfi Kabiljo is still active. He has just completed his new musical Marylin Monroe, with the libretto by Ivica Krajač. Celebrating his impressive life, huge energy and creativity, Motovun Film Festival and Croatian Film Directors’ Guild will present him with 50 Years award at this year’s edition of Motovun Film Festival.