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Zecaj Emina
Traditional Bosnian Songs

Zecaj Emina

Emina Zečaj is the icon of the Bosnia and Herzegovina female sevdah, in the company of few other ladies in this musical genre, Zeèaj keeps a special place. This lady is, in fact, responsible for the development, the care and the final accomplishment of the female singing with saz. This type of artistic expression, practised in urban patriarchal milieus of Bosnian towns, was once strictly reserved to men. At one point in her career, Zečaj decided to put an end to this. The decades that have followed have proven that this has saved the very style - singing with saz - from falling into complete oblivion.
This singer's charisma was discovered in the early sixties by the renowned Bosnian ethnomusicologist Cvjetko Rihtman, PhD. The importance of her work goes beyond inspired interpretations, and is enforced by years of collecting traditional songs, making Zečaj one of the biggest experts on sevdah. Over 600 songs that were collected represent the research material for several generations of ethnomusicologists. She has never devoted her career to money. The sound carriers she has produced so far (and their number is quite limited - 5 singles and 4 LP records, all published in the post-war period) are more of a document than fast-selling goods.
This is one of the reasons why in the nineties Zečaj was widely accepted by international audiences.

At the time, in the growing tendency named world music, based on folkloric content and idioms, Bosnia and Herzegovina music could only fit into one form - sevdalinka that Emina Zečaj performs accompanied by the saz (Ćamil Metiljević and then Mehmed Gribajčević).