Amira Medunjanin, Interpreter of Sevdah: A Voice That Caresses the Soul

With the awakening of the artistic scene, which was particularly affected by the pandemic, audiences can look forward to Amira Medunjanin’s performances in various cities by the end of the year. Like everyone, she attempted to return to the scene as if nothing had happened, but she admits that this attempt was difficult after summarizing all the events that took place in such a short period of time.

Zagreb, 090718.
Amira Medunjanin, bosanska umjetnica i pjevacica sevdalinki.
Foto: Neja Markicevic / CROPIX

Interviewer: Elma Zećo

Photo: Private Album

Her first concert that was held in Atrija of Zagreb’s hall Vatroslav Lisinski was followed by unique emotions – the musicians on the scene as well as around 500 people that arrived to watch could finally enjoy the event, which had to last longer than other concerts.

– Various epidemiological measures are still in force, and no concert I have held has passed without their application, so everything has become more difficult. We also have to understand people; their fear of going to concerts is still present, although, honestly, I had the honor of performing in a full theater on several occasions. It was a great relief after a long time. I think we helped each other and were finally able to breathe freely.

Zagreb, 090718.
Amira Medunjanin, bosanska umjetnica i pjevacica sevdalinki.
Foto: Neja Markicevic / CROPIX

I Listen to My Heart

Did you work on new projects during the lockdown?

– Of course! In the midst of the pandemic in June last year, I released a new album even though I planned on releasing it much later. However, during the beginning of the lockdown worldwide, that is, when the world came to a halt, I decided to release it as soon as possible.

How much did the pandemic change you as a person?

– The pandemic negatively affected the whole world. All of us closed ourselves off at home, and it was hard to predict how things were going to play out. There was a lot of talk about how everything would change after the vaccine. However, the low supply of vaccines and the problem with different types of misinformation made the pandemic last longer. I didn’t have a lot of time. I primarily worked on the postproduction of the album. Essentially not much has changed. I am lucky that my friends live all over the world. We’re always in contact. Thanks to that, it was much easier for me. However, it seems to me that this period of time was important for another reason. From my experience, people who were kind before the pandemic are even kinder today. That makes me very happy because this world needs more goodness, humanity, happiness, and love.         

During your career, you have had the opportunity to work during standard working hours. Driven by your heart, you open yourself towards music that shines for a moment, but it is difficult for such glory to last. How much sacrifice did your journey to recognition require? 

– I did my work like everyone else does. It was nothing special other than the fact that I chose to work around twelve hours a day, but that same work also fulfilled me. Work is what keeps us alive, and a hardworking person doesn’t have to worry about the future. However, even in that situation, sometimes you wonder whether you really want to continue. In my case, I decided to dedicate myself to music overnight. Just like that. And I don’t know how much sacrifice that required on my part. If you really love something, then complete sacrifice isn’t that important. What’s important is to simply listen and follow your heart.

Zagreb, 090718.
Amira Medunjanin, bosanska umjetnica i pjevacica sevdalinki.
Foto: Neja Markicevic / CROPIX

Have you ever doubted that you would be able to persevere?

– It is difficult for something to distract me from following my path. I am used to going forward, and I don’t have much time for doubt.

What is your main parameter when setting new goals?

– If I want to challenge myself at least a little bit, I try to take a different path from the last. If I can say so, I feel most secure on uncertain ground. It is much easier, interesting, and motivating.

I Love Peace Before a Performance

What inspires you to choose the compositions you do?

– Stories that are related to the songs. The world they came from. People can relate to music most easily, and that connection becomes permanent. All of those songs carry wonderful stories from ancient times, and it would seriously be difficult to be unable to feel all of that power and beauty.

Do you have a special ritual before a performance?

– I love peace before a performance and nothing more. I get nervous every time I go on stage. Admittedly, it doesn’t last long. After the first song, everything comes back to normal.

What is it that you primarily want to evoke in those who listen to your music?

– I believe that the most important thing is that the music is in the focus and that we share our love towards it. I believe that we are all more fulfilled when we can share our happiness with others. I would love to convey that to people when I am on stage.

Zagreb, 090718.
Amira Medunjanin, bosanska umjetnica i pjevacica sevdalinki.
Foto: Neja Markicevic / CROPIX

Who was most happy for your success?

– Success is a relative thing. It is important how a person feels. I am happy that I am able to pursue music, and I hope that I can pass that happiness onto others at least a little bit.

I Charge My Batteries on the Mountains

We live online. What role does social media play in your life and your career?

– I use social media as much as I can. Most people are on social media, and it is useful for many reasons. Privately, I use social media because of my numerous friends who live in a variety of countries, but also, every information posted online about performances is an easier way to reach the public.

How do you remember growing up?

– I remember a lot, but that period of my life that I spent growing up in Sarajevan neighborhoods is certainly invaluable. 

You always travel due to the nature of your work. However, which destinations do you love to travel to as a tourist?

– I have seen half of the world and many beautiful places. I haven’t really travelled anywhere solely as a tourist for a while. I always merge travel with performances because I usually have friends wherever I visit. I usually stay longer in some destinations. When you are with kind and relaxed people, that is the best kind of vacation. 

What kind of places give your soul comfort?

– The outdoors. I love the mountains. I recharge my batteries quickest there.

Are you especially good at something that has nothing to do with music?

– I’m good with numbers. I used to work in accounting for a long time.

What do you do to fall asleep more quickly?

– I count from four to one, and I’m already asleep.


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