STORIES OF SEVDAH - THE BALKAN BLUES

I have been back and forth to Bosnia and especially to Srebrenica, Mostar and Sarajevo perhaps 20 times over the last 9 years or so. There one meets a huge cast of plot lines from devotion, love, kindness, horror stories and deep political, financial and moral corruption. As a consequence Bosnia has the largest number of university trained young people leaving the country than anywhere else in Europe. The corruption eats the country from the very roots of its power. I have made four films there. One, called SAVOURING SRERENICA can be seen here. The two below are very different, with the first, about breath-stopping music is an introduction to a hidden treat, and the second one, A GIFT OF CULTURE, is another moving story about caring for children suffering trauma using music. The third one, CANDLES AGAINST THE NIGHT, a story of young people coming to consciousness is, for the moment, prohibited to view.

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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.This is a view into a world of great beauty and harrowing darkness addressing questions of cultural identity standing against barbarism.

77 minutes def/16:9/dolby mix

The film can be seen here

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A GIFT OF CULTURE is a 26 minute film about how the use of music helps to heal children suffering from secondary war trauma. It features the work of Nigel Osborne, Emeritus Professor at the University of Edinburgh. This eminent composer is one of the world’s experts on the use of music in the community and music therapy for people of all ages suffering from war trauma and other neurological and psychological problems.This is suitable for a general audience, people interested in development, trauma and other psychological conditions, music and music therapy, music in the community, teaching stressed children and young people and working in areas of conflict.

You can see the film here.