Got a lovely email from Mary Sherhart of Sevdah North America in response to my story about the Damir Imamovic Trio. She has given me permission to quote from it here:
A huge thank you to Jeb Sharp for her wonderful story on Damir Imamovic and sevdah. Not only did Jeb shine a light on a deserving artist and musical form, she also gave voice to Kristina Coric who is working with so many young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to preserve the pre-war multicultural society.Sevdah takes on an even more important role within diaspora communities. I sing sevdah in communities all over North America and can see how deeply it touches the refugees’ hearts and souls. It takes them to a time before their lives were shattered. It is also an important bridge into Bosnian culture for the children who were born and/or raised in North America. Stories like Jeb’s and the work Damir is doing help affirm immigrants’ and refugees’ sense of themselves when they live so far away from their roots. Bravo to Jeb and Damir!!!!Sevdah is a source of healing and reconciliation since it was beloved by Bosnians, Serbs and Croats alike before the war politicized the music. Sevdah can provide common ground in a field where that is very scarce and wounds of war are still open. Here in Seattle we held a concert called Evening of Sevdah last November at which local artists from the various Balkan communities performed sevdah. Artists included Bosnians, Serbs, Croatians, a Macedonian, Americans, Catholic, Jew, Moslem. The audience, a standing room only crowd of over 600, were 100% supportive of each and every artist. It gave such great hope!Here in North America a group of Bosnians and I have started a non-profit organization called Sevdah North America:
http://www.sevdahnorthamerica.org/As president, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Jeb, Damir, Kristina and all the people working to bring sanity back to one of the most beautiful places in the world, physically and culturally.
Sevdah North America
P.O. Box 99667
Seattle, WA 98139-0667