Kent Gustavson & Dejan Ilijic
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Kent Gustavson & Dejan Ilijic

Band Pop Alternative


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The best kept secret in music


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"When I was 12 years old, in the 7th grade, apartheid ended in South Africa, East Germany became part of the west, Gorbachev was elected President of the Soviet Union, Iraq invaded Kuwait, beginning the first Iraq War... And I was a small pacifist boy, living in small town America with every comfort imaginable, child of a poet and a doctor; good Lutheran boy.

When Dejan was twelve years old, Yugoslavia started to separate, he started to live under economic sanctions. He didn't know why this was happening... He started to feel doors closing from the world that had felt open his entire life. And he was a small boy, living in Serbia with his family, child of a musician and a teacher; good Orthodox boy.

I tirelessly drew landscapes on scraps of paper, and learned at the feet of Daniel, a reclusive neighbor browned from years of sun and alcohol abuse, kind and gentle teacher. And Dejan was a little boy, sitting at the piano of his father, wondering why all of these bad things started to break their good life apart.

Both Dejan and I were blessed with loving families, and these are the songs we have written for them, and both of us have been through many struggles, and these are the stories we have to tell... And both of us have seen things that people our age should not ever have to see. Hunger, war, abuse. That is why we have put this album together.

This is the first time I feel that I have been able to vent my frustrations --at the political community that propagates a politics of hate, at a system that values money over life... But Dejan and I know the power of love, the power of family, and the power of tradition; to break down these fears, and to shut them outside the door of this house. We live in the house of hope.

In this political climate, on the verge of elections in both Serbia and the United States, with candidates running on new campaigns of hope... We believe that our countries and the world community might start to see their children as sacred. For the children of Palestine and Israel, Iraq and the United States, the Balkans, Russia, China, Iran, the Sudan, Kenya, South America, Asia... mostly unnamed and many unloved, we pray that this dirty peace will come slowly into their lives, and if not, at least that they will find hope somewhere... And we pray that they will have a future to look forward to, as we have had."

Dr. Kent Gustavson