LIKA Orchestra - Our Story
LIKA Orchestra was formed in 1967 in Toronto with founding members Milan Sanader, and John and Michael Lukich. Our name simply came from the fact that our fathers were Serbs from LIKA.
The early days mostly involved getting together to pick up a few songs with our instruments - accordion, brac, and guitar. In the early 1970’s, we added a bass player – Miles Obradovic - (whose father also was from LIKA) and the band began performing at choir and church functions in Toronto.
During those 10 years, LIKA’s repertoire greatly expanded and diversified as the 70’s provided ample opportunity to include some non-Serbian classics (some rock ‘n roll and disco to name a few).
In the early 1980’s, Miles retired from the band to pursue his education, and not long thereafter, Mark Doncic joined the band playing bass, and providing additional vocal capability to the band.
During this period, LIKA’s sound matured with 3 and 4 part vocal harmonies, and a more challenging repertoire. During the 1980’s, LIKA played extensively throughout Ontario and the US. Venue highlights include: playing for 2 SNF golf tournaments; the SSF festival in Cleveland; Ontario Place Toronto; at the Canadian National Exhibition Toronto; and at Centre Island Toronto – plus countless weddings, picnics, and church events.
Mark moved to the Pittsburgh area, but returned in June 1997 to participate in LIKA’s first CD: “LIKA Za Uvek” released later that year.
In the 1990’s, LIKA performed largely as a 3 piece – with occasional drummers added as required (mostly for weddings). Turning into a 3 piece, meant that Milan switched his tambura for the electric bass. In 1996, LIKA played for 3 days at the SNF Golf Tournament in Hamilton Ontario. It was also during this period that I (John) experimented with keyboards to add an additional dimension to the band.
From 2000 onwards, LIKA continued to perform. LIKA still is a 3 piece, but largely performs as an acoustic band (acoustic bass, accordion, and bugarija). We perform to this day, mostly for weddings, parties, and ‘bar band’ situations.