Label: World Village
Amira, vocals; Bojan Z, piano; Nenad Vasilic, double bass; Bachar Khalife, percussion
Amira Medunjanin was born in Sarajevo and sings "Sevdah" - the distinctive Bosnian singing style best translated as "Yearning" and similar to the Portuguese "Duende". Amira turns sevdah inside out, finding new contexts and forms within a tradition that is hundreds of years old.
After guesting on Mostar Sevdah Reunion's album A Secret Gate in 2003, Amira recorded her debut album, Rosa, (Snail Records, 2005), which garnered great reviews in the UK and across Europe, featuring in several "Album of the Year" lists. In 2009 Amira released the album Live, a recording of a concert held at the Jazz Fest Sarajevo in 2008. In the same year Amira released the album Zumra in collaboration with Merima Kljuco, the internationally renowned accordionist. The album represents an innovative approach to the musical tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Macedonia by fusing contemporary accordion and arrangements to the traditional melody, lyrics and vocal styling.
For her new album Amira invited the Serbian pianist Bojan Z to accompany her and her band, and to arrange and produce the album. Bojan Zulfikarpasic is a revered jazz musician, especially in France where he has received numerous awards including the Chevalier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The songs on Amulette are all traditional, from Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo.
Bosnia's foremost novelist Aleksandar Hemon has written the sleeve notes. To quote: "Amira has found a musical soulmate in Bojan Z who feels all of her sadness and joy and perfectly complements it on his piano, ever respectful of the silence looming beyond it all. It does not hurt at all that their choice of songs to perform together is impeccable, superbly suited to their shared tradition and sensibility--a kind of melancholy so deeply felt that it inescapably results in the pleasure of expressing it."
The Sunday Times described Amira as: "Angelic, simply angelic" and the Daily Telegraph has said: "Suicidal melancholy has rarely sounded as pretty...". fRoots magazine described Zumra as "in the ballpark for one of this year's best."