Music of Serbia and Montenegro


Serbia and Montenegro is a Balkan country, recently ravaged by war that has caused widespread migration and cultural oppression. Indigenous folk music (narodna muzika) remains popular, both traditional tunes and more modern compositions. The most modernized form of folk music is novokomponovana narodna muzika, which is a best-selling genre throughout Serbia and, to a lesser extent, Montenegro.

Novokomponovana can be seen as a result of the urbanization of folk music. In its early times, it had a professional approach to performance, uses accordion and clarinet and typically includes love songs or other simple lyrics (though there have long been royalist, anti-Communist and democratic lyrical themes persisting underground). Many of the genre's best performers also play Bosnian sevdalinka music or other forms imported from even further abroad. These include Šaban Šaulić, Toma Zdravković, Predrag Gojković Cune, Miroslav Ilić and Lepa Lukić. At a later stage, the popular performers such as Vesna Zmijanac, Lepa Brena, Dragana Mirković were using more influences from pop music, oriental music, and other genres, which ultimatively led to explosion of turbo-folk.

Era of turbo-folk took place during the war and crisis of 1990s. Turbo-folk used Serbian folk and novokomponovana as the basis, and adding influences from rock and roll, soul, house and garage. Turbo-folk is aggressive and swift, and includes popular performers like Sneki, Nino, Jelena Karleusa and Dragana, though the most well-known is probably Ceca, widow of Zeljko Raznatovic. Turbo-folk is mostly used as a derrogatory term as the music and its protagonists celebrate kemp, hedonism, and even gangster way of living ("Koka-kola, Marlboro, Suzuki" is one of (in)famous popular song titles of the time).

Brass bands are extremely popular, especially in southern and central Serbia. This tradition is now dominated by Gypsy musicians who achieve sometimes great popularity; Fejat Sejdić, Bakija Bakić and Boban Marković are the biggest names in modern brass band bandleaders.

Folk music

Pure folk music includes a two-beat dance called kolo, which is a circle dance with almost no movement above the waist, as well as instrumental music made with a frula (small flute), tamburica and accordion. Modern accordionists include Mirko Kodić and Ljubiša Pavković.

Sung epic poetry has been an integral part of Balkan music for centuries, but is now found mostly in Montenegro; see Serbian epic poetry. These long poems are typically accompanied on a one-string fiddle called the gusle, and concern themselves with subjects such as Kraljević Marko or the battle of Kosovo Polje. More modern subjects include various celebrities and current events.

The Vlach minority in northeastern Serbia is related to Romanians. Popular music is most closely related to the people of Wallachia in Romania, while traditional music shows a wide range of influences.




  • (cordofoni) tamburica, gusle

  • (aerofoni) and clarinet frula

  • (ancia libera) accordion

  • (membranofoni)

  • (idiofoni)

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