Stories Of Sevdah - The Balkan Blues

Sevdah is one of the worlds great undiscovered musical styles, equal in its beauty to Portuguese fado and Argentine tangos. It is a sinuous, seductive music with equal attraction for all ages. Sevdah is a Turkish word which means love. It is influenced by Ukrainian, Greek, Romanian, Gypsy, Sephardic Jewish and especially Ottoman Turkish forms which merged in the cross-cultural melting pot of the Balkan towns, particularly in Bosnia. While it is known in all these regions, its particular Bosnian fusion creates a distinctive sound and relies upon texts often written by urban poets. Whatever its exact definition, it is a music which, after only a few notes, makes your heart feel too big for your chest.The film is filed with contemporary Sevdah artists mostly from Mostar (considered the epicentre of the music) and Sarajevo. There are several well known actors who speak about what Sevdah means to them, numerous instrumental pieces and songs performed by professional and folk musicians revealing the importance of this music to post war (1992-1995) Bosnian identity. From the traditional saz to the relatively new accordion the viewer is treated to its seductive melodies.As the film proceeds we see that beneath the surface of the music and culture is a well of unresolved social and political issues. Although the bridges have been repaired, the people have yet to confront the demons left by the scars of the war.The film shows how several artists are pulling the traditions into the present with contemporary techniques and how a beautiful opera, based on its melodies, rhythms and instrumentation has been created.This is a view into a world of great beauty and darkness, addressing questions of cultural identity standing against barbarism.

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