Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sevdah and ukulele

07 2010

Today our ukulele tour takes us to Bosnia and Herzegovina where we’ll be listening to a poignant style of traditional folk music from the Balkans called Sevdalinka or simply Sevdah.

Sevdah is a Bosnian word for love and longing and Sevdalinkas were usually melancholic songs describing the feelings and emotions caused by unfulfilled or unfortunate love. This style of music combines European, Oriental and Sephardic influences.

Now, I am not going to try and trick you into believing the ukulele was a traditional element of Sevdalinkas. However, the ukulele has been featured among other instruments such as guitars, saz (long-necked lute),  and bowed banjo in this video of a traditional sevdah called Kraj Tanana Sadrvana.

Unusually the ukulele in this song is bowed. The video is a virtual collab between a German musician, Pascal, and Amina who is Bosnian and living in France (poignant voice and guitar).

If you’d like to hear what a bowed ukulele sounds like on its own, take a listen to Jake Wildwood’s experiment.

Here is another traditional sevdah by Pascal and Amina, Zapjevala Sojka Ptica. Instruments played by Pascal are guitars, melodica, ukulele and percussions.

This song tells the story of a poor girl who wakes up one morning and finds out she has been married by her mother without her knowing it.

Looking for ukulele songs from a specific country? Try entering the name of the country in the search field at the top right of this page.

To see all the posts for a specific country, click on the appropriate flag on the sidebar (flags are sorted in alphabetical order).

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