Music of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Wikis


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Bosnian music continues despite the nation's sometimes-troubled history.

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 Bosniak, Croat, Serb, Greek , Roma (Gypsy), Turkish, Hungarian and Macedonian influences along with influences from the western part of the world.



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 Bosnian root music and released a few recordings on local labels.

Traditional music


Original Bosnian music

Rural folk traditions in Bosnia include the shouted, polyphonic ganga and ravne pjesme (flat song) styles, as well as instruments like a droneless bagpipe, wooden flute and sargija. The gusle, an instrument found throughout the Balkans, is also used to accompany ancient epic poems. There are also Bosnian folk songs in Ladino, derived from the area's Jewish population. Bosnian roots music came from the Middle Bosnia, Posavina, 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. This is the third oldest music following after the sevdalinka and ilahija.

  • Braća Begići
  • Baščovani
  • Braća Babajić
  • Halid Musić
  • Sateliti
  • Salcine Meraklije
  • Zvuci Podrinja
  • Refkini Ahbabi


Probably the most unique and identifiably "Bosnian" of music, Sevdalinka is a kind of emotional, melancholic folk song that often describes sad subjects such as love and loss, the death of a dear person or heartbreak. Sevdalinkas were traditionally performed with a saz, a Turkish string instrument, which was later replaced by the accordion. However the more modern arrangement, to the derision of some purists, is typically a vocalist accompanied by the accordion along with snare drums, upright bass, guitars, clarinets and violins. Sevdalinkas are unique to Bosnia and Herzegovina as they are not only a mix of Turkish and Bosnian music, especially Muslim religious melodies called ilahije. Example of songs mixing all three influences are "Kad ja pođoh na Benbašu", the unofficial anthem of the city of Sarajevo, and "Kraj Tanana Sadrvana". Though not as common as it once was, traditional Sevdalinka singers like Kadir Kurtagić, Emina Ahmedhodžić, Hasim Muharemović and Muhamed Mesanović-Hamić are still popular to the extent that their recordings are available.

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

Ilahije i Kaside (Religious Songs)

Ilahije (nasheeds) are religious songs that came after or before sevdalinkas. These songs usually deal with religion, but some of them tell tales of how two lovers (male and female) come together.

Modern folk

"Modern" folk (referred to as "novokomponovana narodna muzika" ("newcomposed music") for a while, although the term went out of use in favor of simply "narodna" or "folk"). It is based on various influences, sevdah stories with music of Serbia and/or Turkey often with incorporated elements of pop music. During the time of former Yugoslavia, the genre developed jointly in Bosnia and Serbia, and performers from both sides of today's borders still enjoy certain popularity on the other side.

See also:

Classical music

Bosnian composers of European classical music include Edin Dino Zonić, Mirsad (Giga) Jelesković, Ališer Sijarić, Dr. Igor Karača

Film music

Bosnian composers of Film music include Saša Lošić, Goran Bregović, Mirza (Mizi) Čaušević (mentalEscape).

Pop/Rock music

Rock music has been very popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the mid-20th century. Popular and influential rock bands and artists have included Indexi, Bijelo dugme, Divlje jagode, Plavi orkestar, Crvena jabuka, Zabranjeno pušenje, Hari Mata Hari and others from the Sarajevo school of pop rock

see also:

Alternative metal/Hardcore/Nu metal etc

Heavy metal music is fairly underground within the musical BiH scene. Extreme metal scene originate from Tuzla. Some notable acts include:

  • Toxicdeath
  • Agonize
  • Kontra
  • Krv
  • Acronian
  • Corbansick
  • Ofsajd
  • After Oblivion

A database of Bosnian metal bands can be found via

Electronic music

Bosnian electronic/dance music has also been very popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the mid-20th century. Popular producers and artists include Adi Lukovac (Adi Lukovac & The Ornaments), Mirza (Mizi) Čaušević (mentalEscape), Dr Mladen Milicevic, Dr. Igor Karača, Axa, Basheskia, Vuneny, Velahavle and dZihan & Kamien. Such producers and artists are responsible for various styles of electronic music such as drum'n'bass, trance music, breakbeat and industrial.

New generation of electronic music producers in Bosnia includes names such as mentalEscape, DJ Mika, Narcis Jr. aka Monophonic, Cycle Six, Chipi and many more.

See also:

Hip hop

Hip hop music is new to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but became very popular throughout the urban public with the famous rapper Edo Maajka, who is the most popular rapper in Bosnia-Herzegovina and most famous throughout the rest of the former Yugoslavia.

See also:


  • Burton, Kim. "Sad Songs of Sarajevo". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.). "World Music Volume 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East", pp 31-35. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0.


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