Svetlana Spajić started to perform publicly in 1993 with "Paganke", as its youngest member. Paganke (The Pagan Women), was a pioneer Belgrade group formed in the 1980's paying homage to ancient Serbian a cappela village singing. Later Svetlana formed the quartet "Moba" (Harvest Helpers). The group was directed by the famous Balkan multi-instrumentalist and keeper of the living tradition, Darko Macura.
At the age of 24, Svetlana was chosen as one of the five best voices of the Balkans and became a member of the First Inter-Balkan Traditional Orchestra. The Orchestra was founded in Thessaloniki in 1995 by Nikos Valkanos and was composed of the top traditional artists of the entire Balkan region. As its youngest member, Svetlana performed with the greatest names in traditional music, including Yanka Rupkina from Bulgaria, Ihsan Ozgen and Gynul Akyz from Turkey, and Ksanthipi Karathanassi and Christos Zotos from Greece.
In 1999, Svetlana started the duet "Drina" with singer Minja Nikolic and they released the cult album Živa voda (The Living Water) in 2000. The duet is known for its challenging repertoire of archaic singing in second intervals, hugely energetic performances and minimalist aesthetics. The duet performed mostly in rock and jazz clubs and venues abroad.
Dedication to the Setting Sun, Svetlana’s solo a capella project, premiered at Ring Ring Belgrade Festival in 2006. It pays tribute to great spirits who inspired her singing and begs the world to not forget this fundamental tradition. It includes photos and short video extracts from her extensive private archive of her work with these cherished artists. Her solo performance "By the Rivers of Danube" premiered at the Danube Music Festival 2010.
The international release of Žegar Živi (produced by Andrew Cronshaw, Cloudvalley, 2008), is an album of traditional songs in which Svetlana performs with the last authentic singers of Serbian minority in Dalmatia (Croatia) and was chosen among fifteen best World albums in 2008 by European Music Charts. The album was praised as the most significant project in the area of musical heritage preservation in the former Yugoslavia during the last decade and has met with critical acclaim.
Her new project, Svetlana Spajic Group, Serbian polyphony, includes three young singers from Belgrade (Minja Nikolic, Zorana Bantic and Dragana Tomic), and includes a broad repertoire of the ancient Serbian songs with traditional vocal techniques, idioms and ornaments such as "cutting" singing from Bosnia, mountain shaking songs, “groktalica”, “ganga” or tender ancient ballads from Eastern Serbia. In May 2010, the group was given consistent standing ovations in the world’s famous concert hall CONCERTGEBOUW in Amsterdam. The group was then selected by WOMEX jury to perform at WOMEX 10 in Kopenhagen.
Svetlana Spajic performs and gives lectures in Serbia and abroad, teaching groups young and old, from city to ancient village environment to further her efforts to preserve traditional singing. Svetlana is perhaps the only singer of her generation who was taught to speak the Serbian oral language, with its numerous idioms and dialects and she is recognized and accepted among the authentic older village singers for this knowledge. Still, Svetlana seeks these the permission of these older mentors to include each of their songs in her repertoire. She also insists on knowing the how, when, where and why of each song. “I was never given a comment by my teachers like: ‘You sing nicely…’ Such thing doesn’t exist in the ancient epic world. Either you testify the truth or not.”