Sevdalinka

Sevdalinka () is a traditional genre of folk music from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sevdalinka is part of the Bosniak culture, but is also popular across the ex-Yugoslavia region, especially in Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The actual composers of many Sevdalinkas are unknown. In musical sense, sevdalinka is characterized by a slow or moderate tempo and intense, emotional melodies. Sevdalinka songs are very elaborate, emotionally charged and are traditionally sung with passion and fervor. The combination of Oriental, European and Sephardic elements make this type of music stand out among other types of folk music from the Balkans. Like a lot of Balkan folk music, Sevdalinka features very sombre, minor sounding modes, but unlike other types of Balkan folklore it more intensely features minor second intervals, thus hinting to oriental Makams and Phrygian mode. As a result, the melodies are noted for leaving a strong melancholic feeling with the listener. The singer will often impose the rhythm and tempo of the song, both of which can vary throughout the song. Traditionally, Sevdalinkas are women’s songs, most addressing the issue of love and longing, unfulfilled and unfortunate love, some touch on a woman’s physical desire for her loved one, and some have comic elements. Currently they are often performed by men as well. Traditionally, they were played without any instruments, hence the elaborate melody. As with most old folk styles, it is pure assumption what the sound of original melodies were like, as in modern day their interpretations are fully aligned to western chromatic system due to instruments used for accompaniment (whereas old oriental modes often use steps smaller than a semitone). Modern interpretations are followed by a small orchestra containing accordion (the most prominent), violin, nylon-string guitars and/or other string instruments occasionally (such as oud, saz or šargija), flute or clarinet (occasionally), upright bass, snare drum. In modern interpretations, between the verses, an accordion or violin solo can almost always be heard.