“In Sevdah there are a number of conservative things which are eventually being released”
One of the new figures of sevdalinka.
Explosive, heart and nerve.
By César Campoy.
-When you hear the word “Sevdah”, what feelings come to your mind?
-Letting the emotions go into what in fact we are.
-How would you explain Sevdah to someone who knows nothing about it, its meaning and how to live it?
-Most of all, longing and belonging. A lot of melancholy, sadness, unrequited love suffering, sacrifice, nostalgia and reminisces.
-Is there a limit on experimentation and modernization of the genre?
-There is no limit, but we must take care of keeping some traditional framework inside which we do not need to go out on the road of creating.
-And what are, for you, the geographical boundaries of Sevdah when you are seeking inspiration or references? Throughout history, there have been songs, considered sevdalinkas, upon tunes from Sephardic tradition, Serbian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Greek…
-This boundaries do not exist, only variations. It brings a sense of the impact of different nations. In Bosnia, these influences are combined to form Sevdah.
-What has the Sevdah given you, vitally and professionally?
-It gives me freedom, a lot of creativity, improvisation… A creating artist who has decided to write their own sevdalinkas and continues a series of creation.
-And how do you think you have contributed to the history of the genre?
-I’m trying to connect in many ways, writing sevdalinkas, performing them, educating about them and with the mythological and real characters within them. It is the synergy of connection, belonging, and it penetrates into the past and adapts to it within the songs that I sing.
-Do you agree with the tag “New Sevdah”, or do you think it is nothing more than a logical evolution?
-It is a logical process of changing and shaping interests before everything else. Everyone perceives it in their own way and it’s expressed through Sevdah.
-Do the oldest generations understand the modernization of Sevdah?
-Some do, some do not. Generally they do not, because it has less beautiful singing, and much more noise and discord.
-It seems that the genre has been doing very well in the recent years. Where can we find the future of Sevdah?
-The future lies in the fact that the Sevdah must be heard all around the world, as it’s happening with Fado and Flamenco music, it has to be played in the right manner and not to be combined with the other genres too much…
-Throughout history, when has it been the best time for Sevdah?
-60-70 years of the last century, the golden ages of Sevdah. But I’m optimistic. I think that the best times are still to come…
-And the worst time (by decline, musical arrangements, instrumentation with no sense…)?
-Right now, ‘cause very much uncompleted work is appearing. Some erroneous and trivial work, unfortunately.
-Some say that the Sevdah, at times, has been close to Establishment; even speaking of gender as an artistic creation related to upper-middle class. Has Sevdah an ideology? Is it a genre, definitely, that belongs to the people?
-In Bosnia, Sevdah is something that belongs to us completely, and thus we are proud of. However, here there are a number of conservative things which eventually are being released, such as the division into male and female sevdalinkas and kodex dressing, etc. Sevdah is freedom and it always should be, at least for me.
-Will there come a time when the big audience (international) will understand that the term “Balkan Music” goes beyond turbo-folk and fanfare?
-I believe in that!!
-Top 5: Sevdalinka composers.
-Lot of them: Rade Jovanović, Jozo Penava…
Thanks: María José Gimeno Zanón