Coffee and Rakija
🎙️ An Englishman in the Balkans 🎧
Sevdah and Ladino Songs - Exploring the Influence of Jewish Culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sevdah and Ladino Songs - Exploring the Influence of Jewish Culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to a rich tapestry of stories, many of which are still undiscovered even by those who live in the country. In this episode of our podcast, we delve into the extraordinary connection between Ladino and Sevdah music, and how a Jewish prayer sparked a musical journey that resonates deeply with the soul of this nation.

Sevdah, known as the music of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a genre of traditional folk music that captivates listeners with its emotional and evocative melodies. It is a genre that truly embodies the spirit and essence of this magnificent country. To truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Sevdah, I highly recommend exploring YouTube or Spotify, and allowing yourself to be swept away by its heartfelt offerings.

What makes Sevdah even more fascinating is its deep connection to Ladino music. Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language traditionally spoken by Sephardic Jews, brought about the adaptation of the melody from a Jewish prayer into a well-loved Ladino song called "Mi querido, Mi amado." This heartfelt melody found new life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it became the unofficial anthem of Sarajevo, a symbol of shared heritage and cultural influence.

The history of Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina dates back to the late 15th century, when thousands of Jews sought refuge from the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. Welcomed by the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the Jews found safety and acceptance in this land. Their presence contributed greatly to the multicultural fabric of the region.

The adaptation of the Jewish prayer into Ladino and Sevdah songs is a testament to the power of music to transcend cultural boundaries and create a shared treasure among diverse communities. It is a beautiful example of how art can bridge gaps and bring people together, emphasising the universal language of emotions.

This fascinating insight into the intricate connection between Ladino and Sevdah music owes thanks to Aleksandra Bunčić from the Sarajevo Haggadah Project. If you would like to learn more about the Sarajevo Haggadah and its significance, please check out the link provided in the show notes.

The Sarajavo Haggadah Project

In conclusion, the story of Ladino and Sevdah music in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a testament to the power of music to connect and unite. It is a reminder of the shared heritage and cultural influences that shape our world. So, take a moment to immerse yourself in the soulful melodies of Sevdah, and let the music transport you to the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Tijana Bašić

Mirza Redžepagić

Igor Kožemjakin

Coffee and Rakija
🎙️ An Englishman in the Balkans 🎧
In this podcast, you'll get a unique look at my life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the eyes of an immigrant. Each episode, I share my experiences living in this often misunderstood country, and introduce you to some of the interesting people I have met along the way.
From exploring the rich culture and history, to discussing the challenges and joys of immigrating to a new country, this podcast offers a thoughtful and engaging look at life in the Balkans.