Khalid Hussain (khalid_hussain) wrote,
Khalid Hussain


I had mentioned, in a comment to a friend's post, that I had been reading Adam Lebor's A Heart Turned East: Among the Muslims of Europe and America (1998).

I wanted to follow up a little bit on that mention here.

A few chapters into the book, Lebor mentions that his own background is Polish-Lituanian-Jewish on one side and English-Scotch-Irish on the other. It seems that he had had a fascination with Islam and with the Arabic language from afar since his youth, but that being stationed as a reporter during the war in Bosnia rapidly increased his awareness of the many dimensions of Islam in the late 20th century.

As I began to learn more about Bosnia, I began to perceive connections between its language and other Slavic languages that are written using the Latin alphabet. I became curious about the music of Bosnia, and found my way to some of the electronic music from Sarajevo from shortly after the war. The first musician that Wikipedia mentioned in this category was Adi Lukovac, who unfortunately died in a traffic accident outside of Sarajevo in 2006, at the age of 36.

Here is one of my favorite songs by him and his group, Ornamenti:

The lyrics (with my attempt at a translation, via Google Translate) are:

Na dan naše smrti sve je tako mirno, nikad ljepšu boju lica na tebi nisam vidio,
Nisam imao snage da pronađem put, suviše je tamno nebo za nas, da budemo tu,
Na dan naše smrti, obukao sam novu majicu, pogled visoko, visoko...

On the day of our death all is so quiet, your face is painted prettier than I’ve ever seen,
I didn’t have the strength to find the way, the sky is too dark for us to be here,
On the day of our death, I put on a new shirt, look up high, high ...

Lebor points out the influence of the former Ottoman occupation on the Balkans, and thus the Turkish flavor of some of their music, which is pretty evident here.



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