Silvana Armenulić, born as Zilha Bajraktarević; on 18 May 1939 in Doboj in the family of the confectioner Mehmed Barjaktarević, as the third of ten children, was a Yugoslavian interpreter of newly composed folk songs and Sevdalinka.
In primary school, she played the mandolin and sang a little. At the age of 16, she moved to her aunt in Sarajevo.
In Ilidža she met the famous accordion player Ismet Alajbegović Šerbo and started singing in his orchestra. She gave herself an artistic name – Silvana, after the then famous Italian actress Silvana Mangano, and thus she entered the musical waters.
After a relatively quick success as a local singer, she moved to Belgrade, the capital of former Yugoslavia, in the hope of better opportunities for her musical career.
There she experienced great success and became one of the most successful folk stars of Yugoslavia. This brought her numerous and very lucrative engagements throughout the country, later also appearances in well-known TV series and films.
She made her archive recordings of Sevdalinka songs for the archive of Radio Belgrade in the 1960s.
She created duets with many musicians from all over Yugoslavia: Aleksandar Trandafilović (A što ti je mila kćeri jelek raskopčan, Ima dana), Cune Gojković (Gdje si, da si moj golube, Kad u jesen lišće žuti), Arsen Dedić (Život teče, Sve bilo je muzika), Slavko Perović (Krčmarice, daj mi vina; Kada smo se sreli prvi put; Katerina; Dođi, neznanko draga).
A single with Greek songs has also been released.
She was married to the tennis player Radmilo Armenulić, with whom she has daughter Gordana.
She tragically dies in a traffic accident between Belgrade and Nis on 10 October 1976. Together with her, her pregnant sister Mirjana (Mirsada) Barjaktarević and the violinist Rade Jašarević had an accident.
Although she died in 1976, her songs are still relevant and considered to be evergreens of real folk music.
The best known traditional songs are:
Djevojka je pod đulom zaspala; Đul Zulejha; San zaspala; Svi dilberi, mog dilbera nema; Bol boluje mlado momče;
Pusti me majko (Golube poleti); Bosa Mara Bosnu pregazila i Mene moja zaklinjala majka.
Also recorded on records:
Zapjevala sojka ptica; Sinoć ja i moja kona; Snijeg pade, drumi zapadoše; Teško meni jadnoj u Saraj’vu samoj; Moj dilbere;
Djevojka viče s visoka brda; Kraj potoka bistre vode; Sejdefu majka buđaše; Rumena mi ruža procvala; Golube poleti;
Vrbas voda nosila jablana; Da sam ptica; Zvijezda tjera mjeseca; A što ćemo ljubav kriti; Niz polje babo idu sejmeni.
She also had success with newly composed songs:
Šta će mi život; Ciganine, sviraj, sviraj; Srce gori jer te voli; Nad izvorom vrba se nadnijela; Ludujem za tobom; Sama sam; Rane moje; Dušo moja and many others.