Top of the World: Mostar Sevdah Reunion – Tales from a Forgotten City

Posted on February 17th, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Kim Burton

layout_02abPioneers of the New Sevdah movement salute their city

The forgotten city of this CD’s title is, of course, Mostar itself, once a tolerant city of Christians, Muslims and Jews, now a testament to the spiritual and physical effects of a vicious war, yet retaining some of its beauty and, in spite of everything, something of its soul. This new recording, by the band that arguably began Bosnia’s New Sevdah movement, is a deeply affecting tribute to the life of a city that may not yet be quite forgotten, nor completely lost.

The style of the band has changed since its early days, along with many of its members. Guitar and piano have joined violin and accordion as lead instruments, while a younger generation of singers has taken over as vocalists, but the music remains fluid, thoughtful, and an effective reminder that there is more to Balkan music than the high-octane brass bands and drunken stomping of popular imagination. There are settings of poetry by Serb Aleksa Anti, including his famous ‘Emina’, and Muslim Osman Jiki, whose ‘Djela Fato’ is performed with a transatlantic swing that contrasts happily with the otherwise elegiac tone of the album.



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