Desna Sisarich

Despite being one of the country’s pioneering women pop-singer-songwriters, Desna Sisarich is something of an enigma on the New Zealand music scene. Although her musical career was often overshadowed by more heavily promoted contemporaries, Desna racked up some impressive mileage as a singer, both live and in the studio.

Born in New Plymouth to Croatian parents, Desna’s musical influences included the Eastern-flavoured Yugoslav music she heard on records at home or at Croatian gatherings, as well as jazz and contemporary Western pop songs. It also helped that her mother, Rose, was a dab-hand at boogie-woogie piano playing, and it was a given that Desna and her siblings would take music lessons from an early age.

Desna Sisarich's final single, You’re Our Way, Naturally New Zealand, recorded for Radio NZ in 1976
The 1972 live album from Desna Sisarich, Lutha, BLERTA and Quincy Conserve recorded at the Christchurch Town Hall
Desna Sisarich - Thought He Was A Friend Of Mine (1972)
Arkastra in the All Star Summer Rock Concert at Wellington's Opera House, alongside Corben Simpson, Desna Sisarich, Mammal, Tamburlaine and Sharon O'Neill, 1 October 1972. 
Photo credit: Peter Blake collection
Desna Sisarich on stage
Desna Sisarich






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