The Sevdalinka as Bosnian Intangible Cultural Heritage: Themes, Motifs, and Poetical Features
This paper discusses interpretations, categorisations and inventories of the sevda- linka, an oral lyric tradition from Bosnia and one of the countryss most important examples of intangible cultural heritage. The sevdalinka represents traditional oral lyric poetry, a celebrated form of love song, which came into existence in urban places in a broader region of the Balkans as a fusion of the existing lyrical forms and Islamic inβluences. The term sevdalinka for this kind of songs became widely accepted only at the end of the 19th century. Before that, this oral lyrical tradition was usually called sevdalija. Both terms, sevdalinka and sevdalija, have their roots in the Arabic word sawd¢ adopted as sevdah (meaning love, desire, longing) via Turkish into the languages of some Balkan peoples. In todayss context, the sevdalinka is most often understood as a Bosnian (or more precisely, Bosniak) indigenous traditional love song. As an important part of the Bosnian intangible cultural heritage, ethnoloǦ gists, ethnomusicologists, folklorists and other scholars have often used the sevda- linka as a source and medium through which to explore various social, historical and cultural traditions in Bosnia. This paper will βirst provide a historical summary of the records, inventories and research interests in this oral lyrical genre and then offer an overview of the categorisations of the sevdalinka in specialized encyclopaedias and literary theory. Finally, by analysing themes and motifs found in sevdalinkas, the paper will discuss a number of scholarly examples from manuscripts published in late 19th and early 20th century in Bosnia and Herzegovina.