Zehra Deović

Zehra Deović, was born on December 9, 1938 in Foča, and was a Bosnian Herzegovinian interpreter of sevdalinka. In her teen days, she became a member of the Cultural Youth Center “Jedinstvo”. Her talent quickly took her to the former Radio Sarajevo, for which she, ever since the 1960s recorded only Bosnian sevdalinka. Singing a repertoire of traditional Bosnian love songs, she traveled around all the continents several times. She represented the former Yugoslavia at several international ethno-music festivals. She recorded several records and singles. For 38 years of radio work, she has left a significant number of archival recordings of sevdalinka, many of which are of top quality. She is the winner of the Estrada Prize of Yugoslavia and the Estrada Prize of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Zehra said: “The singer must not be remembered by their songs, but solely by singing, because the song will pass, and the voice stays, of course, if that someone has it.” Also, at the time when meaning of gold and silver plates was important for many, she said: “A golden voice is better than a gold plate”.
In addition to sevdalinka, Deović actively participated in the recording of religious songs – ilahija and kasida, with which she appeared as a participant in numerous evenings of spiritual music. As far as sevdah and sevdalinka are concerned, Deović is best known for performing the song “Da sam ptica”, which she recorded in three audio versions and for which she has done several videos. Apart from that song, the sevdalinka that marked her career was “Dvije su se vode zavadile”, which she recorded in several versions and for which she did an archival video. This video was shot in Foča, Zehra’s hometown, to which she gave the second version of this song. Deović participated in numerous humanitarian activities and concerts.

One of the most important humanitarian projects is the recording of the patriotic song “Mladost moga Sarajeva”, for which the video was recorded, which is the support to the construction of the Kovači Memorial Center.
In 2005 Deović won the Grand Prix Lifetime Achievement Award in the sevdah category.

Zehra Deović lived and worked in Sarajevo, where she died on October 30, 2015.

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