My parents were early immigrants, coming to this country sometime between the turn of the century and 1910. I was born in 1914.
As a youngster, my father and my uncles played a combination of violins and tamburas, music to which I was strongly attracted. My musical education began at the age of six, when I was given a small bisernica, then a brač. In 1929, while still in high school, I began my serious career by playing with the Sokol Tamburitza Orchestra in Chicago, from which I progressed to many fine orchestras and musicians.
Sometime in the late 1930s, I was advised by a well known tamburas who became my mentor, Mr. Vaso Bukvich, to make the bugarija my permanent instrument. Inasmuch as I was a singer, I could accompany myself, express myself, and set my own tempos.
My destiny led me to play with some fine musicians such as Milan Opacich, Roko Abramovich, Steve Paulich, Nick Skertich, Milan and Bob Panayatovich, Richie Savage, Jack Tomlin, the Kapugi brothers, Tony Muselin, and on occasions, with the famous Popovich brothers. Through the years, I also played with Mel Dokich, Tony Markulin, Julius Peskan, Steve Makarewich, and "Mali" Jovo Mudrich. On several occasions, I appeared with The Kapugi Brothers on Channel 9 in Chicago on a program called "International Cafe".
In the mid 1940s, I played with the original Balkan Recording Orchestra featuring John Krilcic, Dave Zupkovich, and Roko Abramovich, recording a total of 26 songs. Also on the Balkan label, I recorded with the Nick Skertich Orchestra. On the Continental label, I recorded eight songs, and on the Columbia Records label, I recorded six songs as a soloist and as side man.
In 1955, I had the honor of playing with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra in Chicago as a guitarist.
In the early 1950s, I helped found the original Dunav Orchestra. In 1954, I began to play with Danilo Kozarski and played with him for almost 20 years.
Presently, I am a member of the Prijatelji Tamburitza Orchestra under the direction of John Gornick.
My wife Kay, our entire family, and I thank you for accepting me for membership in the Hall of Fame.