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Anthems of Yearning: Five Centuries of Bosnian Tradition Coalesce into Elegant Songs on Amira Medunjanin’s Damar

Good music has a home in every heart…this is how I feel about this brilliant musical treat by Bosnian musician Amira Medunjanin. This is the kind music I like discovering, Arabic music is who I am, but music like “Damar” is what my soul craves. The kind of stories Amira delivers in her album “Damar” are timeless gems that offer unfiltered wisdom and a thorough look at the human spirit. I love the magical music that sets up the stage to this angel-like voice. I honestly can close my eyes and see myself sitting at home with my siblings not worrying about all the grown up things.
I have always known that I liked Bosnia, but the talent of
Songs of yearning are intimate, and must be felt intimately. Bosnian singer Amira Medunjanin knows this: She learned Bosnia’s evocative songs of secret love and sublimated melancholy, sevdalinke, at home from her mother. She and her fellow Bosnians use these songs to cope, to heal, much in the way American singers use the blues.
Which is why she only sings what moves her. “They have to move me, and touch me in a certain way,” muses Medunjanin. “It’s a physiological response.” It’s the heart of sevdah.
Medunjanin strives to give outward expression to this potent inner state, sharing sevdah’s pulse on Damar (World Village/PIAS; release: November 18, 2016 ), an album two years in the making. Featuring several newly composed songs that extend the five-hundred-year old tradition, Damar speaks to our shared experiences of longing, sorrow, and hope, as well as to Sarajevo’s striking resilience and sevdah’s recent revival, a renaissance inspired in part by Medunjanin’s profound ability to interpret even the simplest folk song.