Rom singer, composer, poet and actor Saban Bajramovic died on Sunday, June 8 2008 at the age of 72 in a hospital in the city of Nis, Serbia. A year ago, Bajramovic suffered from a heart attack, and since then he has mainly been hospitalized. It was said that he was in financial problems, and that the state recently gave him a one-off welfare payment.
He fell in love with music in prison, where he ended up for deserting from the army at the time. In court, he said that nobody could sentence him so much that he could not bear it, so instead of three years, he was sentenced to five and a half years. During that period he fell in love with music, he founded a prison orchestra, and intensively started working with music. He has been known to say that “Goli Otok” (a prison on a Croatian island with the same name) was his life university, in which he formed the way that he thinks. He recorded his first record in 1964, and to date he has released around 20 albums and about 50 singles.He was the head of the band Crna Mamba” (Black Mamba) for over 50 years, with which he travelled around the world. Nehru and Indira Ghandi declared him the king of gypsy music. His greatest hits are: "Maruska", "Kamerav", "Vasilica", "Neverna Zena", "Ederlezi Avela", "Djelem, Djelem". His last concert was in Dubrovnik.
Saban Bajramovic was born on April 16, 1936. He barely attended some schooling, and gained his musical education, as most of the members of his people, on the streets. Bajramovic filmed the following movie with Goran Paskaljevic “Andjeo Cuvar” (Guardian Angel) in 1987, with Milan Jelic he filmed "Nedeljni Rucak" (Sunday Lunch) in 1982, and with Stoleta Popov he filmed "Ciganska Magija” (Gypsy Magic) in 1997. He was an inspiration to countless artists, amongst which is Goran Bregovic, who often used Saban Bajramovic’s themes and music. He performed in Zagreb’s “Vatroslav Lisinski”concert hall on June 11, 2007 and the legendary singer performed his last concert two months later in Dubrovnik.
He left a permanent mark in the art of music. His song “Djelem Djelem” was chosen as the anthem for all of the Roma People in the world. One of his albums was released on the World Connection label: Saban Bajramovic, a gypsy legend (2005).
He was married and had four daughters with his wife Milica. – My children are spread out all over the world, and that represents a sad inspiration for new melodies – said Bajramovic on one occasion. He recently complained that his health was bad and that his life was hard, especially mentioning that after 40 years of singing, he has no visits and no friends.
Obituary by World Connection
Author: World Music Central News Department
World music news from the editors at World Music Central