BANJALUKA – Sevdalinka gave me peace and forced me to think more about poetry and what is most important, she gave me the opportunity to express myself emotionally. As if you always have another variation in reserve.
As if one has a place, a loge, to be with oneself, free from any external influences, says Amira Medunjanin, one of the most famous Sevdalinka interpreters.
The initiative to include the Sevdalinka in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural assets has been around for some time and now a petition has been launched, which all citizens can sign at the link sevdalinka.info/peticija.
Ukrainian, Greek, Romanian, Gypsy and Sephardic musical forms are anchored in the Sevdalinka, with special emphasis on the Ottoman. According to records, these influences were mixed in the cities of the Balkans, which were considered a unique confluence of different cultures, especially in Bosnia. Sevdah is a word of Turkish origin and means love.
The proposal to include Sevdalinka on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural assets was created in January 2017 and is the only right way to preserve this treasure. Unfortunately, the duration of the procedure is uncertain, the nomination process for UNESCO protection is long and demanding and also requires extensive documentation.
The petition’s sole aim is to collect supporters’ votes so that the general public can become aware of the initiative to include Sevdalinka on the UNESCO list.
The historical significance of the Sevdalinka is huge, says the historian and professor at the University of Tuzla Izet Šabotić.
“Sevdalinka is the monument of national culture, but also more than that. It stands out from the national framework, has universal value on the scale of the world public. I hope that this attempt will be successful and that we will have another cultural monument on the UNESCO list in the foreseeable future. This is very important for the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also for its people, because we care for Sevdalinka in the same way for all of them”, said Šabotić.
Regardless of the definition, about Sevdalinka they say that it is music that makes your heart rise with delight after only a few notes.
It is an incredible feeling to listen to recordings that are more than half a century old, some of them from the beginning of the twentieth century, with Sevdalinka performers’ recordings on them.