Bosnia today is part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this in turn is part of one of the Balkan peninsulas. Bosnia’s best known musical tradition is called Sevdah.
To understand Balkan music, one first has to understand some cartography. Due to a turbulent past, today there are basically two interpretations of what the Balkans are:
- a narrow one, including only countries around the Balkan mountains, south of the Danube;
- a broader interpretation which includes areas north of the Danube and part or whole of the Anatolian peninsula as well1.
These two interpretations are illustrated with the following two maps.
Map of the Balkans in narrow sense
The narrow interpretation of the Balkans includes mostly the Western Balkans and currently European countries, as demonstrated by the following map, which represent a eurocentric, or perhaps a “bosporophobic” view on the peninsulas: excluding one.
Map of the Balkans in broadest sense
In the following map of the Balkans the many close relationships between the people living on both peninsulas, strongly connected both musically and historically, are represented far more honestly by this blue area, which bridges the Bosporus.
Closely connected topics
Separate pages which deal with this topic concern also:
So despite the cartographical considerations, also I decided to not include music from Turkey into this page, not only because its many traditions suggest a separate page, and I do strongly recommend studying all in connection to each other, but also not to make this page overlong.
Oscar van Dillen
Amira Medunjanin and Merima Ključo (contemporary Bosnian Sevdah)
Amsterdam concert part 1
Amsterdam concert part 2
BBC documentary on Bosnian Sevdah music, including the famous music performed by the Mostar Sevdah Reunion.