Bosnian Hafiz Alili recites here (mp3s below) some opening ayats of Sura Rahman which opened the Yusuf Islam concert put on in Sarajevo in 1997 to help promote Bosnian culture in war-wracked Bosnia two years after the war finished. Maybe it was because I was there, but this recital never fails to open that magical door into the Bosnian universe when I hear it. His style is uniquely Bosnian as far as I know and is permeated with the sheer himma (the only word I could come up with in this case) that the Bosnians have in bucket loads. This is a continuation of the post I put up last year entitled Goosepimples in Sarajevo, which gave some background to the visit we made at that time, and I promised I would upload more material. I have recently been digging up other tracks from the concert, some of which is on this post. I also added here an excerpt of Hafiz Alili singing Shaheed which was, in its more pop format, a hit song during the war. I have also added another song I sang in the concert (rather nervously) called Bird in God’s Garden which originally appeared on the Habibiyya LP in 1971.(now available even on Itunes but also on CD from Sunbeam Records in London.)
On future posts I will put up some of the choral and orchestral tracks from the concert which are very moving. Traditional Bosnian music does need some getting used to but has certain unique qualities which I will try and discuss. Some of this material made its way on to Youtube but I find it quite difficult to watch.