Medunjanin, Amira

Date created: 20.05.2015.
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Amira Medunjanin was born on 23 April 1972, in Sarajevo.

From the very beginning of her musical career, she has been searching for a suitable approach to understanding and promoting traditional music of South-East Europe, trying to focus on that segment of Balkan art observed from the perspective of the modern world surrounding us.

Her fascination with the beauty of oral tradition of the region inspired her to dedicate herself to creating a specific artistic language which was neither subject to musical trends, nor a compromise between the existing musical stereotypes. Working with professional musical groups and performing in numerous concerts, she has successfully promoted the culture of the region, i.e., traditional music of the Balkans, on the world music scene.

Her solid knowledge of English made it easier for Amira to present her unique concept of projects both in and outside West Europe.

Music critic Garth Cartwright calls her „Bosnian Billie Holiday“, comparing the way Amira plays with sevdah and discovers a new context and form in this hundreds of years old tradition.

Amira won the prestigious Orange Foundation award «La plue belle voix feminine 2012» (Best Female Vocal 2012, (France, Marseille, Babel Med Music Festival).

She appeared on the album entitled Bal-Kan: Honey and Blood of the famous Catalan artist Jordi Savall, with whom she extensively works and performs all over the world.

Over the past decade, she released four albums featuring musical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.

In 2003, she appeared on the Mostar Sevdah Reunion album A Secret Gate, and in 2005 released her debut album Rosa for Snail Records. The album was met with wide critical acclaim in Great Britain and all over Europe. The Sunday Times music critic Clive Davis named Rosa Great Britain's  Best Album of the Year, and, what is the most important, the album was a major contribution to the world-wide promotion of countries of the region and their musical tradition. Furthermore, the release of the album in West Europe facilitated the appearance of other musicians from the region on the world music scene. Thus Amira fully achieved her aim, which primarily focused on the promotion of the unique musical expression of the countries from South-East Europe.

In April 2009, she released her album entitled Live for Gramophone, featuring recordings from her concert at the 2008 Sarajevo Jazz Festival held at the Bosnian Cultural Centre.

That same year, she made another step forward and released her studio album Zumra, featuring the world renowned accordionist Merima Ključo. The album reveals her innovative approach to music tradition of the region, amalgamating the accordion sound with the arrangements of traditional tunes, verse and vocal style. Zumra was recorded at the CMP Studio, with sound engineer Walter Quintus leaving his unique imprint on it. The album won Bosnia and Herzegovina's Indexi Musical Award.

Amira's album Amulette, released in 2010/2011, won critical acclaim from The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Sunday Times and The Observer. The British magazine Songlines announced it a Top of the World release.

Her most recent album Silk and Stone, released by Aquarius Records in May 2014, was recorded at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall studio.