World Music  Osteuropa
Damir Imamovic The World and all that it holds SFW40601 CD
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FormatAudio CD
Ordering NumberSFW40601
labelSmithsonian Folkways
Release date23/06/2023
  • Damir Imamovic: Vocals, Tar,Tambur
  • Ivan Mihajlovic: Bass
  • Ivana Ðuric: Violin
  • Mustafa Šantic: Accordion, Clarinet (Tracks Nr 6, 11)
  • Nenad Kovacic: Percussion
  • Joe Boyd and Andrea Goertler
Recording Studio
  • 5D Studio in Sarajevo
  • Robin Schmidt, 24-96 Mastering

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      Description hide

      Bosnian singer, songwriter and sevdah tradition– bearer Damir Imamovic is a firm believer in the power of song to connect and transport. On this new album The World and All That It Holds he performs original compositions and traditional songs in Bosnian and Sephardic Ladino with breathtaking emotion and conviction. Created as a musical companion to Bosnian-American author Aleksandar Hemon’s epic novel of the same name, the songs tell stories of love and loss, hardship and perseverance. Imamovic’s music invokes the spirit of the cultural melting pot that is Sarajevo, his lifelong home, reflecting sevdah’s rich historical influences while invigorating its future.

      It wasn’t at all obvious that Damir Imamovic would become a musician, much less a visionary who would lead an insurgency within the world of Bosnian sevdah. Born in 1978 into a famous Sarajevo musical family, the sounds and words of sevdalinkas (songs of sevdah) surrounded him during his childhood. But he at first resisted the family tradition.

      The word sevdah comes from the Arabic rendering of the Greek melan cholos, which means, literally, “black bile.” The word also made its way into Portuguese (saudade) and Turkish (sevda) to express longing and love. Sevdah has its lyrical roots in South Slavic folk poetry from as far back as the 16th century which was embraced by the Romantic movement that arrived when Bosnia and Herzegovina became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century. Its musical form emerged in the fin de siècle cafés of Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Travnik, and Mostar where Bosnian musicians blended Eastern influences from the Ottoman Empire with traditional Slavic and European melodies. Similar musical revolutions were taking place in urbanizing cultures the world over, giving birth to Portuguese fado, Argentine tango, and Greek rembetika.

      Over the long months sheltering during the Siege of Sarajevo, Damir picked up the guitar and discovered old songs. After a few years away studying philosophy, a family project to catalog his grandfather’s repertoire brought him back to sevdah. Damir began performing regularly in 2005 and has been touring ever since, across the Balkans and Europe, and also to the United States, China, and Mexico. He has recorded seven acclaimed albums and his last, Singer of Tales, won “Best of Europe” at the Songlines Music Awards and the 2020 Transglobal World Music Charts.

      Tracklist hide

      CD 1
      • 1.Sinoc (Last Night)05:07
      • 2.Bejturan (Wormwood)03:13
      • 3.Anderleto02:23
      • 4.Tesko je ljubit tajno (It's Hard to Love in Secret)04:32
      • 5.Kad ja podem draga (When I Leave, My Dear)03:12
      • 6.Harmoniko (Accordion)03:40
      • 7.Osmane04:53
      • 8.Madre mija si mi muero (Mother, If I Die)02:46
      • 9.Snijeg pade (The Snow Has Fallen)04:23
      • 10.Noces, noces (Nights, Nights)04:36
      • 11.Koliko je sirom svijeta (As Vast as the World)04:52
      • Total:43:37