Mustafa Santic: Sevdalinka should be studied in Schools and treated as a National Good

October 9, 2017 12:15 PM

Sevdah (Sevdalinka) is part of this country, an inseparable part of its being and tradition, and there are only a few people who are better to talk about Sevdah than Mustafa Santic. Santic is a first-class Sevdah lover, a music professor, a clarinet master, a harmonica virtuoso, and an excellent singer.

“Many of us consider the terms of Sevdah and Sevdalinka as same, and they are not same at all. When we released our first album in Mostar Sevdah Reunion, we searched for the meaning of word Sevdah. Looking from some Arabic angle, it is a liquid that is flowing through the body and it provokes a different emotion in certain moments, it can be sadness, joy, pride, misery… When we look at it from our corner, Sevdalinka is a musical-poetic form. You do not have to fall in Sevdah by just listening to Sevdalinka, the reason can also be a beautiful woman, beautiful nature etc.”, explained Santic.

“If you want to sing Sevdalinka, you need to experience emotional hell, that a girlfriend leaves you at least ten times, to suffer, not to sleep. All of that will provoke that feeling of Sevdah. I think that the best interpreter of this Sevdah is Himzo Polovina. You can see sorrow and pain in his performances, and when he sings Ali Pasha, I can see that man riding a horse and Mara across the Neretva River.”

Asked about the most respected names in the field of Sevdah, Santic said: “It is the same as in classical music, you have Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn, and in Sevdah you have Safet, Zaim, and Himzo. I think this is a good comparison because they really left a stamp that is still discussed even today. What makes Safet, Himzo big… I guess it was another time. We are oddly electrified today, and we may not be able to picture a love story through the atmosphere of Sevdalinka.”

“I was often wondering if the French people knew what Sevdalinka really is, if they can understand the text, the message, and I thought they did not have a clue. However, after our performances, and after reading the newspapers and the music magazines the next day, I thought that they guessed what Sevdalinka really is, a song with great emotion and beautiful lyrics,” recalled this great harmonica master and music professor.

After the break of his old band, Santic devoted himself to educational work, and he founded Sevdi Mustafa Bend with whom he still plays wherever there are those who are still listening to Sevdah. Recently, he performed at the Red Bull Cliff Diving in Mostar when he sang “Lijepi li su Mostarski ducani” on a 27-meter high jump board placed over the Neretva River.

(Source: R. D./



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