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Haris Pasovic – Zehra Deovic was our Aretha Franklin

Learning from Zehra was really a privilege, said Alma Subasic-Omerovic


Bosnian sevdah diva, self-effacing and great lady Zehra Deovic died on this day five years ago. She sang to the last breath, and the hardest songs she sang easily, and new ones did not interest her.

She was born in Foca on December 9, 1938, where she finished primary and secondary school. She inherited the musicality from her mother, from whom she also learned the first song “Young Yusuf got married”.

An indelible mark

Since 1960, she has become a soloist of the legendary Radio Sarajevo and recorded hundreds of permanent recordings. She sang and recorded directly, without a matrix and headphones. Thus, she became a civil servant, who for a salary sings on the radio traditional and new sevdalinka with such a selected company – Safet Isovic, Zaim Imamovic, Beba Selimovic, Himza Polovina, Meho Puzic …

Director Haris Pasovic also remembered the great Zehra Deovic for “Avaz”.

  • Zehra was our Aretha Franklin, she was great, perhaps our greatest sevdalinka singer and a musician of the highest rank. We met in the war and we started hanging out. I always begged her to give her a solo concert at the National Theater in Sarajevo, she kept promising. We only collaborated on the New Year’s program on television once. We used to meet and talk about everything for a long time. I adored her privately, not just as an artist. She was one magnificent persona, one true diva, one lady for a role model in every sense. We miss her a lot and she has left an indelible mark in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I emphasize once again, what Aretha Franklin is in America is Zehra Deovic in BiH – Pasovic is honest.

Luxurious talent

Sevdah interpreter and graduate architect Alma Subasic-Omerovic had the honor of learning from Deovic and performing with her.

  • I had the honor to share the scene with one of the most famous performers of sevdalinka, Zehra Deovic. I fondly remember our travels and performances at sevdalinka concerts in Lisinski and Sava centers. I was a girl at the time, but I remember a lot of her character and the amazing vocals she had. Learning from Zehra was truly a privilege. The songs will live forever and remind us of her magnificent talent, and by performing sevdalinka and other songs from her oeuvre, I believe that we contribute to the memory of what she left to our country for all time – said Subasic-Omerovic.

We will remember songs and words

We will remember her for her masterful interpretations of the songs “Two waters quarreled”, “If I were a bird”, “She gave birth to an apple by the roadside”, “My beautiful Bosnia, dear”, “Moscanice, noble water”, “Ah, my Aljo”, “Zarko got sick”, “Trepetljika trepetala”, “Tebi, majko, misli lete”, “Tamburalo u tamburu momce” … Her words were remembered that “a singer must not be remembered by songs but exclusively by his singing”.

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Stories under this byline are written/directed/published by the staff and editorial board of MegaloPreneur magazine. Some of the MegaloPreneur journalists may also be involved in investigating and finding facts.

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