Music of Bosnia and Herzegovina     


Like the surrounding Balkan countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina has had a turbulent past marked by frequent foreign invasions and occupation. As a result, Bosnian music is now a mixture of ethnic Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Gypsy, Turkish, Hungarian, Serbian and Macedonian influences.

During its period as a part of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was covered in state-supported amateur musical ensembles called Cultural-Artistic Societies (Kulturno-Um(j)etnička Društva, KUDs) which played folk music and released a few recordings on local labels.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has probably retained the most marked Turkish infuence that can be seen in the popular urban music called sevdalinka. Sevdalinka is a mixture of Turkish and Bosnian music, especially Muslim religious melodies called ilahije alongside Jewish songs like Kad ja pođoh na Benbašu, the unofficial anthem of the city of Sarajevo. Sevdalinke is traditionally performed with a saz, a Turkish string instrument. Though not as common as it once was, traditional sevdalinka singers like Kadir Kurtagić, Emina Ahmedhodžić, Hasim Muhamerović and Muhamed Mesanović-Hamić are still popular to the extent that their recordings are available.

More modern performers like Safet Isović, Himzo Polovina, Zaim Imamović and Hanka Paldum have used non-native instruments, including the accordion, clarinet, violin and guitar, to some derision from purists.

Bosnian roots music (izvorna bosanska muzika) is a recent outgrowth of folk music from the Drina valley and Kalesija. It is usually performed by singers with two violinists and a šargija player. These bands first appeared around World War I  and became popular in the 1960s. Modern performers in this field include the Jelić sisters and Kalesijski Zvuci.




  • (cordofoni) saz - šargija - violin

  • (aerofoni)

  • (ancia libera)

  • (membranofoni)

  • (idiofoni)

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