Tag Archives: Bosnian music

Artist Profiles: Divanhana

Divanhana

Divanhana is based in Sarajevo, a city historically described as a crossroads between the East and the West. Divanhana present new arrangements of urban traditional music from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a particular emphasis on the soulful sounds of Sevdalinka, the musical vehicle for the expression of amorous longing and melancholy, passion and joy, with its roots in the days of the Ottoman Empire.

The band was formed in 2009 by a group of young students from the Sarajevo Music Academy who, with their contemporary instrumentation of brass, piano, bass and drums complimenting the traditional accordion and vocals, open up the Sephardic and Oriental elements of Sevdalinka to a new jazz sensibility, while the clear tones of singer Leila Catic deftly span the emotions between heartache and playfulness.

Personnel: Azur Imamovic – bass; Danijel Condric – guitar; Irfan Tahirovic – percussion; Ismar Poric – clarinet, saxophone; Leila Catic – vocals; Nedžad Mušovic – accordion; Neven Tunjic – piano; Rifet Camdžic – drums.

Discography:

Dert (Yaman, 2011)
Biljeske Iz Sestice (Multimedia Music, 2013)
Zukva (Multimedia Music, 2015)
Live in Mostar (Multimedia Music, 2017)
Kardes (Multimedia Music, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Amira Medunjanin

Amira Medunjanin

Amira Medunjanin was born on April 23, 1972 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time, traditional music in the former Yugoslavia was popular, and sevdah fascinated her. Amira’s attraction towards the oral tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina and wider Balkan region led her to dedicate herself to creating a special voice within sevdah to explore its meaningful capacity to the full. She had spent years searching in vain for to find people who shared her ideas about sevdah, and for the best way to present it.

After guesting on Mostar Sevdah Reunion’s album A Secret Gate in 2003, Amira recorded her debut album, Rosa, (Snail Records, 2005), which received rave reviews in the UK and across Europe.

In April 2009, Amira released the Live album, a recording of a concert held at the Jazz Fest Sarajevo in 2008. At the same time, in April 2009, Amira released the studio album titled Zumra. The album represents the groundbreaking approach to the musical tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia by mixing contemporary accordion and arrangements to the traditional melody, lyrics and vocal styling.

The album Amulette came out in 2011. Pianist and arranger Bojan Z reinterpreted traditional in new ways.

Amira Medunjanin

Silk and Stone was released by Aquarius Records and World Village in May 2014.

The well-received album Damar was released by Aquarius Records and World Village in November 2016.

In 2018, Amira released Ascending. It is an anthology featuring new versions of previously recorded songs plus new and old songs recorded for the first time. Ascending is a collaboration with Norway’s famed chamber orchestra TrondheimSolistene.

Discography:

A Secret Gate, with Mostar Sevdah Reunion (Snail Records, 2003)
Rosa (Snail Records, 2005)
Amira Live (2009)
Zumra (World Village, 2010)
Amulette (World Village, 2011)
Silk and Stone (Aquarius Records/World Village, 2014)
Damar (Aquarius Records/World Village, 2016)
Ascending (Town Hill Colony, 2018)

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Delightful Chamber Sevdah

Amira Medunjanin & TrondheimSolistene – Ascending (Town Hill Colony, 2018)

Bosnian vocalist Amira Medunjanin is one of the finest performers of sevdah, a passionate musical genre from the Balkans. On Ascending, Amira takes a detour, recreating some of her previously recorded songs with a new perspective, collaborating with Norwegian classical musicians.

“Just like fifteen years ago, I still find important that our traditional music should reach, as many people as possible, so they are able to feel and understand what a beautiful soul we have” mentioned Amira “and all this time I have been intensively sharing my life with music and I felt the need to record an album which is in fact some kind of recap of my previous work. The usual thing is to publish compilation of already recorded songs that were interesting to listeners. But you know that neither I follow any trends, nor I obey the way the music industry works. With this album I am turning the new page in my life in music and hopefully I will endure until my 30th anniversary”.

“Ascending” includes the re-arranged songs; a second set of songs that were never recorded before, but Amira performed them only live; and four new songs that she had never played, nor recorded before.

The lineup includes Amira Medunjanin on vocals; the TrondheimSolistene chamber orchestra; Bojan Z. on piano and percussion; Zvonimir Šestak on double bass; Ante Gelo on guitar; Boško Jović on guitar; and Nikola Stajić on guitar.

Ascending is an exquisite recording of unconventional sevdah with a beautiful cover drawing by Azra Halilbegović.

Buy the album from townhillcolony.com/product/ascending-cd-2018

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Delightfully Incandescent Divanhana

Divanhana – Zukva (ARC Music, 2016)

As a 2012 participant in the 12 Points Jazz Festival in Porto, Portugal and at the World Music Expo in Thessaloniki, Greece and with the 2013 release of Biljeske Iz Sestice on the Multimedia Music label, the fiery rich Bosnian fusion group Divanhana is back. This time on the ARC Music label, Divanhana wows listeners with Zukva, set for release on January 29th.

Melding influences of pop, jazz and even classical to the Bosnia’s sevdah or sevdalinka musical traditions, similar to the Portuguese fado, Divanhana pushes through the traditions and discovers a blend that’s fresh and deliciously flirty.

Divanhana members vocalist Naida Čatić, pianist Neven Tunjić, accordionist Nedžad Mušović, bass guitarist Azur Imamović, drummer Rifet Čamdžić and percussionist Irfan Tahirović make the most of their new take on Bosnia’s musical traditions with the lively opening track “Oj Safete, Sajo, Sarajlijo” with the equally energized “Da Sam Ptica” following close on its heels.

Formed in 2009 as students at Sarajevo’s Music Academy, Divanhana flashes brilliant on Zukva with straight forward musical expertise, but tracks like the lushly worked “Ciganka Sam Mala,” and brightly breezy “Zasto Si Me Majko Rodila” are proof that Divanhana is as expressively incendiary as it is talented.
Other delightful little goodies on Zukva include the sultry vocal studded “Otako Je Banja Luka Postala,” the lushly jazzy “Sejdefu Majka Budase,” along with “Zapjevala Sojka Ptica” and the irrepressibly catchy “Pijanica, Bekrija.”

Cleverly sassy and passionately expressive, Zukva blazes a new path for Bosnia’s music scene that is a delightfully incandescent introduction to Divanhana and the new music of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Buy Zukva in North America

Buy Zukva in Europe

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