16 Aug 2011

Sevdah by expressyourselve....

Sevdah is love.

My old friend Hakan Atabey would say: “this is Turkish word that you Yugos took from us because is so beautiful word.” J And it is Arabic word for love.

So let us take a look to the artists on this set.

Mostar Sevdah Reunion is the Group that was founded in 1998 in Mostar by Dragi Šestić and his old friends Mišo Petrović (guitar), Sandi Duraković (guitar), Nermin Alukić Čerkez (vocal and guitar), Elmedin Balalić Titi (vocal and accordion), Marko Jakovljević (bass), Gabrijel Prušina (piano) and Senad Trnovac (drums), who came together again in summer 1999 for to record their first album.

In this kind of music the subject is unfulfilled love, desire and tragedy…

This set is a tribute to the greatest singers of former Yugoslavia, they made a statement with the guys from Mostar Sevdah Reunion that the life that we had before is still and again present after the bloody war in our country.

Safet Isović (January 6, 1936 - September 2, 2007) was a prominent and popular sevdah performer from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Throughout his career, which started in 1956, Isović performed at music festivals and won many of them which has contributed to the prevalence and popularity of the sevdalinka. He won the Golden Microphone award in SFR Yugoslavia as well as 35 silver and gold record awards.

Many would agree that he had one of the best voices in Yugoslavia, if not in the world.

Šaban Bajramović (April 16, 1936 - June 8, 2008) was a Serbian-Romani musician.

He was born in Niš where he attended primary school for only the first four years. On quitting school, he picked up his musical education on the street.

When he was 19 he ran away from the army out of love for a girl. As a deserter, he was sentenced to three years prison on the island Goli otok, but as he told the military court they could not hold him for so long as he could survive, they raised his punishment to five and a half years.
After Goli otok, his intensive music career began. He made his first record in 1964. He is believed to have composed 650 compositions.

In 2008, it was revealed that Bajramović was living impoverished in Niš with serious health complications and was no longer able to walk. The government of Serbia intervened to provide him with some funds, 10 000 euros. He died in Niš on June 8, 2008, from a heart attack.

He is my favorite singer.

“Over the years, his music has been constantly stolen, copied, and imitated by both famous and unknown musicians. Promises and contracts have proven worthless. Actually, he's never been interested in protecting his work. Where others would have earned millions, he's lived as he's always lived: from day to day, making music, going wherever he wants, and not recognising any limits at all.”

Dragi Šestić

“Šaban Bajramović is clearly a giant talent, comparable in his own way to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Mari Boine Persen, someone capable of bringing their music to life with such vivid spirituality that it vaults with ease over the most impenetrable cultural barriers. His voice combines the anguish of rai with the soulfulness of fado - a sort of Balkan gypsy jazz.”

Andy Gill - The Independent, UK, February 15, 2002

Ilijaz Delić, is performer who had spent most of his career and life in Belgrade performing in the most famous bars and restaurants of the city. Dragi Šestić was working as a music editor at the local "war radio station" in Mostar. One evening he visited one of many candlelit concerts, which were performed for a small audience trying just for a moment to forget the war. For the first time in his life he saw and heard Ilijaz Delić.

A few days later, Delić came to the radio station to perform some songs for the program. After that concert Šestić, impressed by Ilijaz's singing, had a pretty crazy idea for those days to make a big world star of Ilijaz.

Nada Mamula (January 9, 1927 - October 11, 2001) was a Serbian singer, born during the time of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
She started her career on Radio Beograd, where she passed an audition in 1946 (as Nada Vukićević).
In 1946 she delivered her first ever professional performances as Nada Vukićević along with Danica Obrenić and accordionist Voja Trifunović.
Soon after marrying Nikola Mamula, she moved to Sarajevo and started to work on Radio Sarajevo.

She was one of the most popular singers of Yugoslavia in the second half of the twentieth century. She left over 150 recordings of Sevdalinka interpretations as well as traditional songs in the archives of Radio Beogard, Radio Novi Sad and Radio Sarajevo, as well as the ever famous unofficial anthem of Sarajevo "Kad ja Podjoh Na Bembašu".

Ljiljana Buttler Petrović (December 14, 1944 - April 26, 2010) was a singer born in former Yugoslavia. Her nickname was The Mother of Gypsy Soul.

Buttler was born in Belgrade as Ljiljana Petrović, the daughter of a Croatian singer and a Gypsy accordionist. Her father left the family shortly after the birth of his daughter. She moved to the city of Bijeljina, Bosnia, where her mother performed in pubs. As a teenager she began singing, she returned to Belgrade where she settled in the Skadarlija entertainment district. In the seventies she broke through in Yugoslavia as a singer and she released several successful albums. During the 1980s her career slowed. In 1989, due to political unrest, she moved to Düsseldorf, Germany.

Dragi Šestić started shortly after the millennium, a quest for the 'disappeared' singer and knew around 2001 to find her out. He convinced her to make a new album, brought with her "The Mother Of Gypsy Soul". In 2005, "The Legends of Life" was released. They gave from 2003 concert series, particularly in Europe. Her last album, Frozen Roses, was released in 2009.

Buttler died of cancer on 26 April 2010, aged 65, in Düsseldorf.

Esma Redžepova born on 8.th of August 1943, is a Romani Macedonian & Jewish-Sepharadic vocalist, songwriter, and humanitarian born in Skopje, SFR Yugoslavia (today Republic of Macedonia). During her life she has performed in more than 9000 concerts in 30 countries, with her late husband Stevo Teodosievski she has fostered forty-seven children, and she has received numerous accolades for her humanitarian work. By her own account she has created more than 500 works of art.

Her mother encouraged her musical gifts and Esma and her brother soon joined their school's folklore group.

In 1957, age 14, she was personally invited to sing at a school talent contest for Radio Skopje. This concert proved to be a turning point - not only did she place first, beating out 57 other schools and winning 9000 dinars, but national band leader and future husband Stevo Teodosievski also happened to be in attendance. After securing permission from her parents, Esma began touring with his musical ensemble. Legend has it she left home with a single suitcase filled with one dress and one Čoček costume.

What a voice, her biggest fan was Josip Broz Tito.

I hope you will like and enjoy this specific music and I can say proudly, this is my set that I love with my entire heart.


01. Imal jada ko kad akšam pada - with Safet Isović
02. Hanuma - with Šaban Bajramović
03. Mostarski dućani - with Ilijaz Delić
04. Mujo djogu po mejdanu voda - with Nada Mamula
05. Avaj avaj mo camo - with Šaban Bajramović
06. Niška banja - with Ljiljana Buttler Petrović
07. Pena - with Šaban Bajramović
08. Zvonija, zvonija - with Ljiljana Buttler Petrović
09. Moj dilbere - with Esma Redžepova & Šaban Bajramović
10. Mujo kuje konja po mjesecu - with Ilijaz Delić
11. Djelem, djelem daje - with Ljiljana Buttler Petrović
12. Dul zulejah - with Ilijaz Delić
13. Pitao sam malog puža - with Šaban Bajramović

About Mostar Sevdah Reunion:

About the CD  "Cafe Sevdah"

08 January 2008

...Throughout, the musicianship of the group's veteran performers is impeccable - wonderfully fluent, sinuous and brimming with passion. While the overall feeling may be melancholy, it's a beautiful kind of sadness that leaves the listener inspired rather than depressed. This reviewer is not the first to label Mostar Sevdah Reunion as the Balkans' answer to Buena Vista Social Club, but lazy journalism or not, the comparison is apposite and well earned....

Froots - january 2008

...New vocalists Nermin Alukic, Elmedin Balalic and Suad Golic handeling things superbly while the arrangements vary from jazz piano flavours on two tracks to the elemental Ottoman voice, hands and feet of Ali-Pasha in Herzegovina...

Songlines january - 2008

...It is a beautifully package album, with translated lyrics - very important with these poetic, usually melancholy songs - and images from beautriful old postcards of Mostar in the early 20th century...

The Guardian - december 2007

“Sevdah is the ancient, often pained and passionate music of Bosnia, but in the hands of its best-known exponents, the Mostar Sevdah Reunion, this Balkan answer to the blues is transformed and updated by being matched against contemporary blues and jazz influences. In the process, what at times may be an often solemn, sadly soulful style suddenly becomes far more varied and unpredictable. The band consists of local musicians who first recorded eight years ago and have developed a sophisticated approach to their music by matching sturdy vocal work against unexpectedly inventive playing. So a traditional song like the witty “The Beautiful Hajrija Fell Ill” matches straightforward, declamatory singing against a flurry of rapid-fire, gently stomping fiddle and ragtime guitar, while on “Who's Girl Is That?”, the 70-year-old veteran Fevzija Sarajlic-Fevzo is backed by a female chorus and piano work that veers between eastern Europe and Latin America. Then there are the bleak and bitter laments, from “This Red Rose”, transformed by an inventive accordion solo, to “Old Jusuf Sits By the Window”, a tragic story of old age with delicate guitar and piano work. A subtle and intriguing band.”

Clive Davis, the Sunday Times, November 2007

“What would happen if you parachuted Van Morrison into deepest Bosnia? It might seem a silly question, but the collision of cultures on this latest release from one of the great Balkan institutions really does conjure up fleeting thoughts of the gloomy one in full swing. It's not hard to detect a melancholic hint of the blues in the Bosnian folk style of sevdah, and the unabashedly jazzy flavour of some of these pieces underscores the connection. The band is on a roll at the moment, and this roughhewn recording is every bit as varied and full-blooded as previous collaborations with the likes of Ljiljana Buttler.“

About the CD  Mostar Sevdah Reunion - “Saban”

Runner up for the Critics Poll Albums of the Year 2008 !
SONGLINES - August-September 2008 (Top of the World)

..The ten minute jam Saban vs MSR is the musical equivalent of your hat being blown off in a gale and the voice and guitar magic of the track that follows it. ..

About the CD Mostar Sevdah Reunion and Lliljana Buttler - The Legends of Life"

BBC - WORLD REVIEW MUSIC/Album by Jon Lusk , 11 January 2008.

“The bulk of the songs are traditional, but Buttler's own brooding masterpiece Tesko Je Umreti hangs in the air with a mesmerising power, amplified by sterling instrumental support. The slithering violin of Slobodan Stancic lights up this and several other pieces, as does Mustafa Santic's empathetic accordion and clarinet. A walking bass on Mirisni Cvetak is one example of the subtle jazz influence that colours some arrangements, and the epic traditional song Placem Vec Tri Dana sounds like an inspired Balkan rewrite of Led Zeppelin's blues showstopper, Since I've Been Loving You.
There are a few upbeat dances such as Verka Kaludjerka and Andro Verka and even some laughter to lighten things, but it's the slower numbers that really burn themselves into the memory. Misery has seldom sounded so musical.”

Jon Lusk, BBC Music magazine proms - BBC Music Choice,  August 2007.

“After a Stellar Career in the Kafanas (music bars) of former Yugoslavia, Gypsy singer Ljiljana Buttler fled the Balkan war for obscure exile in Germany in 1990 before intrepid producer Dragi Sestic'rediscovered' her. With the viruoso acoustic group Mostar Sevdah Reunion, they made The mother of Gypsy soul (2003), a breathtaking collection of classic Bosnian sevdalinka - slow, tragic love songs. This 2005 follow - up of Roma and Yugoslav standars is marvellous. Buttlers's deep, sobbing voice is given sterling instrumental support, in particular by Mustafa Santic's accordion and clarinet and quest violinist Slobodan Stancic. A few upbeat dances lighten teh mood, but otherwise misery has seldom sounded so musical.”

Garth Carthwright, Froots Magazine, UK, june 2007.

....The legends of Life is, to me, an even better album than Mother of Gypsy Soul. For a start, singer and band are more familiar with one another so the music rolls effortlessly forward. Ljiljana's wonderfully deep voice sailing above the ensemble's beatific playing...
...A colossal Achievement!”
Sunday Times, UK, April 2007.

“Now here is a voice that has been lived in. Once a leading light of Balkan gypsy music, Buttler spent a decade or more in obscurity in exile, at one time working as a cleaner to make ends meet. A comeback album won acclaim a couple of years ago, and this new disc is every bit as atmospheric. Buttler’s voice is surprisingly masculine and bluesy; and, if it is occasionally wayward, she has magnificent support from that Bosnian institution the Mostar Sevdah Reunion, creating a relaxed ambience poised between jazz, folk and blues. Another local legend, Saban Bajramovic, makes an appearance, but this is very much Buttler’s show.”

About the CD Mostar Sevdah Reunion - " A Secret Gate"

Garth Cartwright FRoots Magazine-UK, January/February 2004.

“... and the overall flavour of the album is that of a soulful melancholy, music made by people touched by tragedy, yet determinded to keep on living. Very highly recommended.”

 John Lusk, Froots Magazine-UK, November 2003.

“...Mostar Sevdah Reunion does have an embarrassment of talented musicians. It's is no suprise that comparisons have been made between them and the Buena Vista Social club.”

About the CD  Mostar Sevdah Reunion presents "Ljiljana Buttler - The mother of Gypsy soul"

Simon Broughton, Songlines -UK, September/October 2002

“...Ljiljana Buttler is one of the great re-discovered voices of Eastern Europe. Deep, dark and distinctive. Her recording with the Mostar Sevdah Reunion band, "The Mother of Gypsy Soul (Snail Records) is one of my CDs of the year and impresses everyone I've played in to .”

Garth Carthwright, FRoots Magazine, UK January/February 2003

“...Ljiljana Buttler's debut CD is delicious: Ljiljana's deep, almost masculine, voice picks out words and tosses them into the air with effortless grace. And the instumental backing by Mostar Sevdah Reunion and legendary trumpet virtuoso Boban Markovic is inspired: the musicians spoon out the notes with a tangilble, almost erotic, delicacy while Ljiljana sails above them, her voice caressing the listener.”
Kim Burton, Songlines,-UK, September/October 2002.

Songlines recommends!!!” ...Something very special indeed!”
Mark Nolis, Roots Town Music-Belgium , 2002

“...a master piece in every aspects!”

Zlatko Gall, Slobodna Dalmacija- Croatia, May 2003.

“Gypsy Cosmic blues, 5***** ...Mother of Gypsy soul is simply one more perfect album with signature of Mostar Sevdah Reunion and the best CD released by Ljiljana.”

...beautiful music which breaths sadness, bitterness, melancholy and hope. Beautiful recorded and produced. 5***** ( Twentse courant, Holland, 03.02.2003)

Platomania, Holland, February 2003.
.... No Risk Disc!

Senad Avdic - Slobodna Bosna- Bosnia and Hercegovina, 20.02.2003.

“...The fantastic music product - probaly the greatest gypsy singer in the world!”

About the CD  Mostar Sevdah Reunion presents Saban Bajramovic - “A Gypsy Legend”
(released by World Connection 2001,  WC 43024)

“...the Serbian singer is clearly a giant talent, comparable in his own way to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Mari Boine Persen, someone capable of bringing their music to life with such vivid spirituality that it vaults with ease over the most impenetrable cultural barriers.” (Andy Gill - The independent / United Kingdom, 15.2.2002,

...”The Balkan CD of the year”
( Ilko Culic -National / Croatia,25.10.2001)

...It is difficult to stay objective in this review while listening to this master-piece. The saying goes that no one should go down on one's knees and bow one's head before a living human being, but in this case an exception should be made.”
(Mladen Hlubna-Oslobodjenje / Bosnia and Hercegovina,06.12.2001)

***** (5 stars) “... Saban Bajramovic,a gypsy legend? No that is not an exaggeration,it is an absolute fact !” (Zlatko Gall-Slobodna dalmacija / Croatia, October 2001)

“....the next 66 minutes were one of the rarest moments in my life. I was crying because of the sheer beauty of this music.Together with Mostar Sevdah Reunion the great gypsy singer created an exceptional album , probably the best ever produced in this Balkan area.”
( Miljenko Jregovic-Jutarnji list/Croatia,10.11. 2001).

“...He is unique. More than one hour of music is passing smoothly, keeping the listener under its spell uninterruptedly , musically supreme, relaxing in atmosphere, in the best possible way catching the musical poetry of gypsy legend and musical maturity of Mostar Sevdah Reunion.. “
(Ognjen Tvrtkovic- Valter / Bosnia and Hercegovina, 31.10.2001)

“...This is a CD after which nothing is going to be the same again, neither Saban, neither his music, neither western music lovers. “
(Ahmed Buric-Dani,Bosnia and Herzegovina,16.11 2001 )

About the CD Mostar Sevdah Reunion - "Mostar Sevdah Reunion" (released  by World Connection, 1999. WC 43011)

“..This is a fascinating album , half meditative, half danceable, with excellent musicianship and remarkably coherent as an artistic work...I can not recommend it too much: this is one helluva monster sevdah reunion !” (Don Weeda / Roots World Magazine)

“...A jewel from a war-torn land “
(Andrew Cronshaw/Folk Roots Magazine)

“...This is a fantastic introduction to a music far too little known outside its homeland”
(Kim Burton/ Songlines Magazine)

“...Powerful, energetic, exciting , fantastic album”
(Le Monde /France)

“... ***** (5 stars) Pure Masterpiece!”
(Zlatko Gall/Feral Tribune / Croatia)

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