Nele (or Nelle) Karajlić (his real name being Nenad Janković) was born on 11 December 1962 in Sarajevo. His pseudonym Karajlić means in Serbo-Croatian “the one who fucks a lot”. The tone is given : very early, Nenad will be an anticonfirmist artist who wants to break the codes.
Coming from the same popular areas of Sarajevo than Emir Kusturica, they will meet at the beginning of the 80's : when Nenad was setting up a rock band, baptised Zabranjeno Pušenje, Emir was shooting Do you remember Dolly Bell ?, and as they met in recording studios they understood that their preoccupations were the same : speaking of the problems of today's Yugoslavia, with the language of street's people… It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The punk band Zabranjeno Pušenje will have a huge success, and put Nelle and his friends (Dejan Sparavalo, Drazen Janković, and Sejo Sexon) on the front of Yugoslav musical scene. Their first album Das ist Walter, was first printed at 3000 copies, and with the success, will finally be sold at more than 100.000 copies ! The album was an homage to the very popular Yugoslav film Valter Brani Sarajevo. Occasionally, Emir Kusturica joins them to participate to the recording of an album, or to go on stage for some tours, to change his mind between two shootings. His son, Stribor joins them on the drums too.
Beside music, Nele is also interested in image : he created a TV show called Nadrealist top list (the surrealistic toplist), a sort of “Monty Python's flying circus” in the Balkans. He makes violent sketches against the regime and his popularity only grows.
In 1992, the war marks also the separation of the band. A part stays in Sarajevo, while another part (with Dejan Sparavalo) leave for Belgrade. Emir Kusturica call them for the music of his film Black Cat, White Cat. The band change its name and becomes the No Smoking Orchestra.
Since then, Nele has written music scores for several of Emir's films. He even acted as “Ahmed” in the Opera "Time of the Gypsies".
In june 2014, Nelle released an autobiography in Serbia, under the title Fajront y Sarajevo, which we can translate into “Closing Time in Sarajevo”. He speaks of the tours, life in Sarajevo, his childhood, music and his heart problems which carried him away from the stages.
Nele is the brother of Drazen Janković, the keyboard player of the No Smoking Orchestra.