We are sad to report that Serbian composer and keyboard player Sanja Ilić has passed away. Ilić, who represented Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 alongside his group Balkanika, was aged 69. He passed away due to complications caused by a Covid-19 infection.
Sanja Ilić: Founder of Balkanika
Back in 1998, Aleksandar “Sanja” Ilić founded the group Balkanika. The goal of the group is to make sure Serbian medieval and byzantine musical tradition remain preserved for future generations. Their aim is to modernise and revitalise such traditions. With that objective in mind, the group, led by Ilić himself, entered Beovizija 2018. They won the ticket to the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon.
Their song, Nova Deca, qualified for the final where they finished in nineteenth place, gathering a total of 113 points. Later, Nova Deca won the award for World/Etno Song of the Year during the Serbian Music Awards Ceremony. The song combines the Serbian language with the Torlakian dialect. Ilić wrote the song together with Tanja Ilić and Danica Krstić. Darko Dimitrov was responsible for the production.
2018 was not the first outing for Ilić at the Eurovision Song Contest. Back in 1982, he wrote the Yugoslav entry for Harrogate. The girl group Aska then finished in fourteenth with Halo, Halo. Before that, Ilić was a member of rock group San. He will also live on in the memories of football fans supporting Belgrade club FK Crvena Zvezda, having composed their club anthem.
Sanja Ilić was 69 years old. He passed away from complications due to attracting the Covid-19 virus.
The thoughts of the entire ESCXTRA.com Team are with Sanja Ilić’s family and friends in these difficult times. You can watch their performance from Eurovision 2018 below.