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Charming Hostess - Sarajevo Blues CD (album) cover


Charming Hostess



3.80 | 8 ratings

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4 stars This is unusual album.

"Sarajevo Blues" is a book of poetry first published in 1992 during the siege of Sarajevo by Semezdin Mehmedinović, Bosnian poet. In this book Semezdin Mehmedinović tells the story of a city under siege during war in Bosnia in early 90-s, I believe for many it's difficult to believe such things could happen in Europe just less than 20 years ago!

The book was translated into English by Ammiel Alcalay in 1998 and was used as basis for this album by by Jewlia Eisenberg in 2004. Besides of that, some traditional Jewish songs from Balkans and North Africa are included as well.

Musically, this album is minimalistic,strongly based on a capella vocals, full of sadness, nerves and ... wish to live.

"War/ And nothing is going on?I go into town to beg for cigarettes I've always known your scent/but you've never been closer? It's cold in the morning, you/put my underwear on Your joy / at the packets of humanitarian aid/ makes me happy and sad at the same time. And I ask myself: where on earth do you find us coffee every night I was young and I didn't know/ that death's something a lot more common than is seems/so plain/ that anything you say about it sounds trite" " War/Back Then"

Almost fully acoustic, with vocals on English, Yiddish and Bosnian (with heavy accent, but perfectly understandable), this album is not a urban folk or Balkan folklore. This music is universal, and even if it uses many folklore elements, it sounds more NY downtown influenced by sound (still very Bosnian by atmosphere though). Formally this album could be tagged as avant world fusion, but it's really a bit more. Lyrics and atmosphere there are extremely important element.

"I'm running across and intersection to avoid the bullet of a sniper from the hill when I walk straight into some photographers: they're doing their job, in deep cover. If a bullet hit me they'd get a shot worth so much more than my life that I'm not even sure whom to hate: the Chetnik sniper or these monkeys with Nikons. For the Chetniks I'm just a simple target but those others confirm my utter helplessness and even want to take advantage of it. In Sarajevo, death is a job for all of them. Life has been narrowed down completely, reduced to gestures?a man covering his head with a newspaper as he runs across the same street, scared of a sniper's bullet" " Death Is A Job"

I believe this is very special album. I spent many days in Sarajevo, Mostar,even Srebrenica, and I feel this music by my skin. Possibly, just one listener of thousands could feel the same, but I believe many of listeners even without such background could feel that deep emotional field radiating from this music. In all cases, not the album for entertaining.

snobb | 4/5 |


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