Traditional / folk music of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of Balkan countries with rich and deep folk music heritage. It was part of Yugoslavia but with the majority of Muslims. Bosnia and Herzegovina was considered the most tolerant nation in Yugoslavia. The population is mixture of Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox Christians,
and Jews. But the Muslim majority in the Balkan war was the biggest victim of Serbs. During the history Bosnia and Herzegovina was under the invasion of many different nation so the folk music has something from each period and kingdom. It had been rules by Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian kingdom, and also Yugoslavia. So the folk music is mixture of Balkan, Turkish and also western music styles.
This type of folk music is the most notable genre of folk music from Bosnia. It is part of Bosniak culture which also spread through other ex-Yugoslavian countries. Bosniak is an ethnic group who lives mostly in Bosnia today. The music and also their culture are mixture of elements from European, Slavic and Ottoman music as mentioned above. They are mostly Sunni Muslims and historically was under influence of Sufism culture which it can be seen in their music too (but with spicing up with Balkan music). The word Sevdalinka comes from a Turkish world sevda which is a kind of amorous yearning or passion, an unrequited love akin to the Brazilian concept of saudade. In fact the songs are “love songs”. Sevdalinka music 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.
Different types of musical instruments are used in Sevdalinka. Accordions, zurna (a kind of oboe), violin, šargija (a lute akin to the Turkish saz) are some of them.
This genre of folk music is also the name of a traditional music instrument. Gusle is a one string bowed instrument. The player hold the instrument vertically between his knees. Usually it has a long song with epic poetry. The instrument is also common in other countries like Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia with different names. It is said that the gusle has an Oriental origin, brought to Europe in the 10th century via the Islamic cultural wave. Gusle is used to sing ancient South Slavic epic poems.
This genre of folk music was traditionally sung by shepherds for long distance communications. Ganga is a dissonant form of singing, using two notes with half step difference. Ganga is performed mostly in small towns. It is also common in Croatia and many popular Croatian musicians have incorporated some Ganga into their work.
Kolo is a folk circle dance which is common in South Slavic region. It has different styles in different regions. The dancers will gather in a circle (sometimes as a single or double line) and hold hands or put their hands around each other’s backs, and practically all of the dance steps are complicated steps with just the legs and feet.
If you have more information about the folk music of Bosnia and Herzegovina, its genres or instruments or you know specific song on each genre, please kindly contact us and let us know about it or send them through “Post a Song” link on top of the page. Also if you see any wrong information about the song tags on the list below please kindly let us know.
Traditional / folk songs for Bosnia and Herzegovina
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