Category Archives: Bosnia

New Song by Ansambl Dah Ljubavi – Zauvijek

This is the brand new video by the always-wonderful Ansambl Dah Ljubavi!  The text and translation are below the video.  They are one of the best young performing groups in Bosnia, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they do in upcoming years!


Dođi mi nisam ti daleko
Dođi mi samo pređi preko ponosa
Tako blizu sam ti ja

Vrati me ti u svoje snove
Vrati se sve je ovdje tvoje
Da li čuješ glas što ti srce doziva

Spasi me ti od ove moje tuge
I od ovog gorkog plamena
Spasi me da osjetim ljubav vječnu
Da zauvijek rob sam tebi ja

Dođi mi nađi me u sebi
Ljubav je skrivena u tebi
U njoj je sjaj što duši daje mir


Come to me, I am not far from you
Come to me, overcome your pride
I am so close to you

Come back to my dreams
Come back, all that is here is yours
Do you hear the voice from my heart that calls you?

Save me from my sadness
And from this bitter flame
Save me that I may feel your love eternally
That I may be evermore your slave

Come to me, find me within yourself
Love is hidden within you
In that is the radiance that gives your soul peace

Songs for Srebrenica

Today is the 16th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.  Here you can see a march to commemorate the victims and their families.  There are many things on my mind about the beautiful country and people who remain, and have flourished and blossomed even after these relatively recent tragedies, but I don’t know how to express them.

Here are the Bosnian and English versions of Burhan Šaban’s new song for Srebrenica; as always, it’s much better in the original language!

O Zefire with video and translation

This was originally a qasida called Banet Su’adu by the Prophet’s poet, Ka’b ibn Zuheir, written to express his love for him.  It was translated into Bosnian and adapted by Džemaludin Latif-zade el-Bosnevi, one of Bosnia’s best living poets.  I’ll write more about him in a later post, Ako Bog Da.

This video is of Halid Bešlić, you can also find the mp3 of Aziz Alili singing it – that version is more well-known –  here (mouse over “donload mp3,” then “ilahije i kaside,” and select “ilahije download/1.”  Scroll down a bit to look for Aziz Alili).  The text here in italics is the chorus.  Yes I am aware that he sings it a bit differently in this video, but I thought it was the best version :-)  Poor guy was in an accident last year; that’s why his face is like that.

O Zefire

Ti si Sunce koje blista s nebeskih visina;

Drugi resuli su zvijezde što sjaje iz tmina.

O, zefire, kad poletiš do medinskih strana,

Poselami onog što ga moja duša sanja!

Ti si kao cvijet nježan, kao Mjesec ponosan,

Ti si more od ićrama, najljepši ti si san.

Kao sedef sjajni školjkin kada se rastvori,

Takav je tvoj osmijeh blagi kada progovoriš

Takav miris ne imadu ni zafran ni mošus

Kao zemljica što pokriva tvoje tijelo I kosu

Oh Breeze

You are a sun that beams from the lofty heavens

The other messengers are stars that shine from that

O, breeze, when you fly through Medina

Greet the one whom my soul dreams of!

You are like a tender blossom, like the proud moon,

You are a sea of generosity, the most beautiful dream

Like a brilliant white seashell when it opens,

So is your gracious smile when you speak

Such a scent has neither saffron nor musk

Like the fragrance of your body and hair

Videos from “Selam ya Resulallah”

From a concert in Sarajevo yesterday evening – which I missed :-(   Thank you, youtube user Saninpe!

Hor Hazreti Hamza:  “Jecajem te zovem ja”

Gazel:  “Sad Te zovem ya Rahman”  (a cappella)

Hor Bedem and Miralem Babajić:  “Vejsel Karani”

Hor Kewser


These pictures are from May of this year, when I visited Mostar and Blagaj.

I remember, in Blagaj, thinking, “If I could just have a small house (like the one a couple pics down) and small farm here…”

Prague is nice, but it is lacking in something, something the soul needs.

mostar 090

mostar 091

mostar 094

mostar 099

mostar 102

mostar 103

mostar 108

mostar 122

Methinks Willy Wonka!


Pop Quiz. Is this:

A.  The Miljacka River after it’s been raining and all the snow has melted?

B.  Willy Wonka’s Chocolate River?

Review of Concert

On Sunday night, about 10,000 people braved the cold weather to attend “Gazu u mom srcu” (Gaza in my heart), a giant concert held to raise money for humanitarian relief in Gaza. It was such a large concert, in fact, that it was held in Zetra, the Olympic stadium. The event was scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm, but people began filling the stadium over an hour in advance, and by 6:30 the hall was nearly full. The audience consisted of viewers of all ages, ranging from children to the elderly. The stage was beautifully set up, with white hanging lights and arches to the side of the stage. In the center was a screen, on which a slide show consisting of images from Palestine would be displayed throughout the event. To either side of the screen were sets of high bleachers, which began to fill up just before 7:00.

Several choirs from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina and other parts of the Balkans were scheduled to participate in the event and they began to file onto the stage, taking their places on the bleachers to enthusiastic applause. The members of each choir were dressed alike, for example the women of Hor Kewser were dressed in shiny red and gold outfits. The instrumentalists took their places in front of the bleachers, and the soloists, narrators, and hafizi (those who had memorized the Qur’an, and would recite it during the event) sat in the middle, just under the screen. Shortly beforehand, I had seen the Reis ul-Ulema, Dr. Mustafa Cerić, and his wife arrive and take their seats in the front row.

The event started promptly with a recitation from the Qur’an. There are many hafizi (Arabic: Huffadh) in the Balkans who have been trained at the Gazi Husref-Bey madrasa. Some of them, such as Aziz Alili, Burhan Šaban, Senad Podojak, and Mensur Malkić, who all participated in the event, are also very popular singers of ilahije. After most of the recitations, a narrator read the Bosnian translation of the passages.

I was familiar with many of the singers there, but not all of them. Some of those less familiar to me were pop singers. A highlight of the event, in my opinion, was Hamza Raznatović’s (lead singer of pop band MacBeth) rendition of the well-known ilahije “Dosta mi je Allah moj” (My God is enough for me – see him singing this at a different event on Samaha’s blog). After hearing Burhan Šaban sing a song in Arabic at the beginning of the event, I hoped that he would later perform one of his own songs, and he did – “Dođi Najdraži” (Come, Most Beloved – see music video of this song here). I think he performed this song because it describes the Prophet’s return from the isra’ and mi’raj, part of which took place at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Slides of the structure were shown on the screen during the performance. Another highlight was Aziz Alili’s performance of “Šehidi” (Martyrs – see video of him performing this song here), a song that was popular in Bosnia during and after the war here. I could see that many of the older people in the audience were deeply moved by the song. Interestingly, while the permissibility of musical instruments and female singers are hotly debated in many parts of the Muslim world, they appear to be non-issues here. The event ended with a brief speech and a du’a by Reis ul-Ulema Dr. Mustafa Cerić, and people began piling out of the stadium.

Language Issues

Bosnian is not an easy language. It is a Slavic language, which means it has like a gazillion case endings, meaning I am spending more time memorizing declension tables than learning more vocabulary. Ok, well Bosnian has seven case endings (two are alike, though), but nouns are also classified by gender: masculine, neuter, and feminine. And those all decline differently. AND the plurals of each of those decline differently. Some are alike in some cases, but then I have to memorize which ones are alike and which are different. UGH! And then there are about forty or so prepositions, and they require different case endings for the nouns following them. The same preposition can mean different things depending on the case of the following noun, so it is very important to get them right!

I’m wondering if my textbook is teaching me the things I need to know. Check out this conversation from lesson one:

A: George je profesor, a Mary je profesorica. (George is a professor, and Mary is a professor.)

B: A njihov pas? (And their dog??)

A: Njihov pas nije profesor. Pas nije čovjek! Ali on jeste naš prijatelj. (Their dog is not a professor. The dog isn’t a human! But he is our friend.)

B: Jesu li pas i mačka prijatelji? (Are the dog and cat friends?)

A: I jesu i nisu. (They are and they aren’t)

And I had this sentence in my homework: Ne želim da kupiš psa crvene boje, već zelene boje. (I don’t want you to buy a red dog, but rather a green one.)

Hmm, evidently Bosnia not only has great music, but also multi-colored dogs that could be mistaken for professors!

But I am learning. My reading is improving. When I’m translating a song or reading an email or web page, I no longer have to look up every other word or figure out where the heck that case ending came from. Let’s see how the speaking goes!

Any takers on the questions in the last post?

So Why is Chef too busy to write an abstract?

I’m leaving for Bosnia in less than three weeks!  I will be there for four months, mostly in Sarajevo, conducting research on ilahije.

So I’m very busy studying Bosnian and preparing for the trip right now.  Any advice would be welcome!  For the next two weeks, I’ll probably be asking a lot of questions on here, picking the collective minds of whoever happens to stop by.

The question for today involves laptops and the internet.  I just bought a new laptop, masha’Allah, and I need to know what to do to make sure it will be internet-ready over there.  Keep in mind I am technologically inept, so this might be a stupid question.  It does receive wi-fi, meaning I can connect to networks (for example, I know how to connect to the wifi at Panera and the public library).  I will need to use it when I get an apartment in Sarajevo.  How will I do that?  For example, if they say the apartment has internet, how do I connect to it?  And if the apartment doesn’t have it, what do I do (probably a region-specific question but like I said, I’m inept) to get it?  I guess the main question is:  do I need to buy anything here for it before I leave, that will ensure my ability to use the laptop there?  And should I buy a transformer or converter for the charger, or just an adapter?  It does have that little “box” in the middle of the cord; is that its own transformer/converter, and would it be good enough?