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Concert brings tunes of the Balkans to Amman

By Saeb Rawashdeh - May 27,2023 - Last updated at May 27,2023

Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin during a concert at Al Hussein Cultural Centre on May 21 (Photo courtesy of Amira Medunjanin)

AMMAN — Offering a taste of Sevdah, a traditional genre of folklore music of the Balkans, Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin held a concert at Al Hussein Cultural Centre on May 21.

Originally derived from the Arabic word “sawda”, which means melancholy and longing, the genre became popular in the Balkans during the Ottoman rule – from the late 14th century until early 20th century.

“These are the songs about deep, pure and innocent love.  In essence, they tell a tale about the love of woman and man, places and important events that took place in the history of mediaeval Bosnia, and the striving to articulate important moments in their lives,” said Medunjanin.

The musical genre, according to Medunjanin, is “the driving force” of her life that gives her “absolute freedom”.

The event was organised by the embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Jordanian  Ministry of Culture.

Medunjanin’s musical journey started in the 1970s when as a young child she heard on the local radio sevdalinka music and instantly fell in love.

“Of course, I was just a kid, and I could not understand what the meaning of the words was, but as I was growing up, I started to realise all the power behind every song. In fact, these songs were mainly based on true events that happened a long time ago and the ones that were created over the period of the last two centuries,” Medunjanin said, adding that she never planned to become a musician.

“My life in music started when I quit the job at the European Commission 15 years ago. At that time, I did not know that music would be my only occupation. But, after all these years, I am still on the same road and pursuing the same mission. I have recorded nine solo studio albums and a couple of live albums,” Medunjanin said, noting that apart from that, she has  been recording with many artists throughout the world.

Talking about similarities between the Balkans and Levant, Medunjanin said that the Middle East was a cradle of many civilisations that have enriched and inspired the entire world. 

“On the other hand, the Balkans has been at the crossroads between East and West for a very long time. Therefore, in terms of music, there are many influences coming from the West and the East, with different cultures that intertwine there,” Medunjanin elaborated.

The fusion of these influences with authentic creativity gives a specific sound and vision, Medunjanin stressed.

Regarding the upcoming plans, she will remain on the road. 

“I have scheduled tours in Europe, Northern America and Australia. Apart from concerts, I have a couple of projects with musicians from Europe, which will be quite nice,” Medunjanin said.

The visit to Jordan was very brief and she didn’t have time to summarise all impressions.

“There are so many things that I would like to focus on, but definitely there is not enough time. I promise that I will come back soon and stay at least a week or two. You have an absolutely amazing country. Many sites that I have seen in the last two days are absolutely breathtaking. So, I will be back,” Medunjanin concluded.

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