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Two years after the group Riva won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1989 and one year after the Eurovision Song Contest 1990 took place in Zagreb, at the threshold of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Ironically, the 1990 winning song performed by Toto Cutugno was called 'Insieme: 1992' ('Together in 1992').

With the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars many of the former Yugoslav musicians participated in anti-war and anti-nationalist activities, and were often attacked by the nationalists in their countries. However, some previously involved in the Yugoslav pop and rock scene embraced national chauvinism, and some even saw active combat. But the war was not only waged with guns. Notable example is the case of the song 'E, moj druže Beogradski' ('Hey my Belgrade comrade'). It was an emotional anti-war song pointed against the Serbian nationalism written by Jura Stublić from the Croatian group Film. In the song, he appealed to the Serbian people, especially his former Serbian comrades, to remember the old days of friendship and cooperation and to stop their military attack on Croatia. Bora Đorđević, who had a cult status in the Serbian rock scene as a frontman of Riblja Čorba, soon "replied", of course with a song. It was cynical parody featuring ultranationalist messages named 'E, moj druže Zagrebački' ('Hey my Zagreb comrade'). In Croatia the band Thompson (around singer Marko Perković Thompson) had a hit in 1991 with the controversial anthem 'Bojna Čavoglave'. The song includes the old battleslogan 'Za dom! - Spremni!' (For the homeland! - Ready to die!) which was quickly adapted by the Croatian battletroups. Thompson never lost his nationalistic stigma.

In Croatia a supergroup was formed under the title Hrvatski Band Aid (English: Croatian Band Aid). As the name suspects it was a joined collaboration of numerous Croatian artists recording the single 'Moja domovina' (My Homeland) in 1991. The list of artists participating featured among others: Doris Dragović, Oliver Dragojević, Jasna Zlokić, Danijela Martinović, Dino Dvornik, Arsen Dedić, Zorica Kondža, Tereza Kesovija, Tatiana Cameron (then known as "Tajči"), Josipa Lisac, Mišo Kovač, Zdenka Vučković, Jura Stublić, Ljiljana Nikolovska and many more. This single was solely meant as a humanitarian aid for the victims of the war. Many artists that joined in would condemn all glorification of violence (unlike acts like Thompson). The initiative did mark the beginning of the independent Croatian music scene

Another notable example from this period is what happened with the Sarajevo based group Zabranjeno Pušenje. The group split into two separate fractions: one in Sarajevo and the other in Belgrade. The latter rose to international prominence under the name No Smoking Orchestra led by Nele Karajlić also feat. the movie director Emir Kusturica. They played with Joe Strummer as well and that concert footage is included in the Super 8 Stories film directed by Kusturica. In Serbia a vibrant underground alternative rockscene evolves with bands like Darkwood Dub, Presing, Kazna Za Uši, Klajberi and Euforija.

In Slovenia the war only lasted for a few days so the country was fairly quick able to pick up daily life. Most mainstream groups from the Eighties built on musical conventions of the past decade. Zoran Predin (singer of Lačni Franz) started a succesfull solo career. Pop design, Čuki and the first Slovenian teenband Foxy Teens were among the first to emerge. Slovenia also grabs back to light jazzpop with Simona Weiss and Natalija Verboten. Slovenian hiphop finds its first representative in Ali En, whose 'Leva Scena' appeared in 1994.

The local scenes in the independent countries that emerged after the break-up of Yugoslavia continued to exist, some of them heavily suffering during the war. The music scene continued even in the shelters during the Sarajevo siege and a compilation album 'Rock under siege' was released in 1995. Some artists didn't seem bothered by the war and made light careless pop. An example is singer Severina who established herself as a national pop icon with chart-topping hits. 'Docter Funk' Dino Dvornik was emotionally bothered by the war (which translated into heavy drug abuse) but didn't mix that with his funky disco music. Another popular act was the Croatian Colonia which made Hi-NRG house music.

The chaos of the break-up of Yugoslavia also gave birth to a new genre called turbo-folk. The music can be seen as a result of the urbanization of folk music. Turbo-folk used Serbian folk and Novokomponovana as the basis, and adding influences from rock and roll, soul, house and UK garage. In its early times, it had a professional approach to performance, uses accordion and clarinet and typically includes love songs or other simple lyrics (though there have long been royalist, anti-Communist and democratic lyrical themes persisting underground). Many of the genre's best performers also play Bosnian Sevdalinka music or other forms imported from even further abroad. Turbo-folk includes popular performers like Ceca and Jelena Karleuša.