At the age of 83, Adem Lepir from a village near Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH’s) city of Novi Travnik recorded his first music CD. Four years on, he is still singing, driving his bicycle every day for two hours and walking for another two.
An old Bosnian goes that “Whoever sings, does not think of doing anything evil to others.” Lepir told his story while preparing traditional Bosnian coffee in a traditional handmade pot.
When he was a boy, he said, he would come home to his grandma after herding cows. She would offer him coffee made of several pure coffee beans instead with barley, which was a common practice then due to lack of coffee.
Now, wherever he goes and whenever he prepares coffee, Lepir sings sevdalinka song, a traditional Bosnian romantic song with a touch of melancholy, anguish and intense love.
In front of his house some 96 kilometers northwest of the capital Sarajevo, he pointed to where he used to keep sheep, cows and goats when he was a boy, saying he had started to sing back then, when his love for music unwinded.
“Wherever I went, herding the animals, on weddings, or while traveling to different cities, I was singing instead of being silent,” Lepir said.
Five years ago, together with his son, he decided to record a CD, including all the songs he likes, in order not to forget them.
“I sang, five, six songs and recorded them, they are all old traditional Bosnian songs.” A friend later made a DVD with all Lepir’s family sitting and eating lamb while Lepir was singing songs.
“Whenever I am sad, I play the DVD and I see all my family at one place and see myself singing,” Lepir added, continuing singing about flowers.
He also shared an anecdote about participating in a “Biciklijada”, a cycling event near Novi Travnik which gathered 150 people, and how he was the oldest participant and won a bicycle as an award.
“I upgraded my bicycle with a battery to light up while riding in the dark, a bell and rearview mirror,” Lepir recalled happily, indicating he will keep singing about the beauties of Sarajevo, Xinhua reports.