Sevdalinka is a traditional genre of folk music originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In many cases, sevdalinka is called simply sevdah.
The origins of sevdalinka are not known for certain, though it is known to date from sometime after the arrival of the Turks in medieval Balkans. The word itself comes from the Turkish sevdah which derives from the Arabic word sawdah (meaning ecstasy, desire or love), which at one point was used by doctors to describe black bile, a substance purported to control human feelings and emotions . That word was brought to Bosnia by Turks and today it is also a Bosnian word meaning love, caressing, longing (for loved one), and which are main themes of sevdalinka lyrics. Thus the habit of people of Bosnia to use evenly words \"sevdalinka\" and \"sevdah\" for this genre of folk music, although word \"sevdah\" can also be used in other meanings.
Sevdalinka is the national music of Bosnia, but it is popular across the former Yugoslav region, especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Its roots reach back to the age of Ottoman Empire rule on the Balkan peninsula, but the actual composers of many sevdalinkas are unknown.
In musical sense, sevdalinka is charactericized by a slow or moderate tempo and rich harmony, leaving a melancholic feeling with the listener. Sevdalinka songs are very elaborate, emotionally charged and are traditionally sung with passion and fervor. The combination of Oriental, European and Sephardic elements make this type of music stand out among other types of folk music from the Balkans. The singer will often impose the rhythm and tempo of the song, both of which can vary throughout the song. Traditionally, sevdalinkas are women\'s songs, most addressing the issue of women\'s and love and longing, unfulfilled and unfortunate love, some touch on a woman\'s physical desire for her loved one, and some have comic elements. The origin of the name is a Turkish word sevda meaning \"love\". Currently they are often performed by men as well. Traditionally, they were played without any instruments, hence the elaborate harmony.
MOSTAR SEVDAH REUNION is exquisite group of Artists sharing the same passion. Some might say that they live for Sevdah and that could be the only cause of their existence. To decode and to represent traditional music from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sevdah is more than 400 years old, in a best light, was and still is difficult task to cope with. Despite all obstacles, MSR kept going. The story begins in 1993 when Dragi Sestic, Producer and former of the band, recorded an audiocassette with a couple of tracks that was distributed in limited edition amoung their friends. Those were the times of war in Balkans and the reason for recording was just a getaway episode to forget for a one single moment all atrocities and suffering. Then, they gave promise that \"the whole world will know about Sevdah\" one day when war comes to an end. They fulfilled the promise and recorded their first album in 1998. Since, the album CD \"Mostar Sevdah Reunion\" was recorded in Mostar, they did not stop fascinating the audience wherever they go. Diversity in musical backgrounds and individual virtuosity in a collective that never performed two identical gigs in a row makes them unique on the World Music scene.