Damir Imamović (vocals, tanbur), Derya Türkan (kemençe), Žiga Golob (double bass)

Damir Imamović is a singer, player, writer and teacher of sevdah music. He comes from a family of famous musicians in the same genre and represents a new wave of traditional music from his hometown of Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also teaches and spreads the word of traditional Bosnian music, having written a book about sevdah, the genre to which he dedicates his life and his talent.

Sevdah is traditional folk music originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose roots can be traced back to the 15th century. It evolved in the cafés of Sarajevo and Mostar during the 19th century. Its popularity rose in the 20s and 30s of the 20th century throughout the new Yugoslavia and was an item of mass consumption during the communist period. Towards the end of the 20th century, it was about to become an outdated relic of Tito’s era; however, during the Balkans War it was reborn with new and greater meaning for young people, one of whom was Imamović himself.

Just like Bosnia, sevdah music has received numerous cultural and religious influences over the centuries: from the East, from Europe, and from the Sephardic jews exiled from Spain in the early 16th century. Its songs are known for their intense and emotional melodies, with melancholy and nostalgic lyrics that talk to us about love, pain and longing.

Damir Imamović is, today, the greatest exponent of the genre and has performed worldwide on stages including the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam,…

At the Jazzaldia he will give a concert of songs from his latest album, Singer of Tales (2020). In this work, Imamović will explore the centuries-long relations between sevdah and Ottoman music, featuring the marvellous kemençe of Turkey’s Derya Türkan. The album reveals an in-depth knowledge of sevdah music and of Bosnia’s history, while offering a connection with the present day. The profound, evocative and deeply emotional voice of the Bosnian singer tells us, in the lyrics of his songs, about their pain, their joy, exile, yearning, the family, hope, fear,…

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