There’s a famous video on YouTube featuring Balkan superstar Goran Bregović in his hometown of Sarajevo. It’s 1991, a year before the brutal, four-year siege in which nearly 14,000 died when Bosnian Serb forces surrounded the city during the violent upheavals that led to the collapse of Yugoslavia.
Then in his thirties, Bregović is pictured standing in front of the city skyline. Bells ring out from the city’s churches. At the same time, you can hear the Muslim call to prayer. Speaking in Serbian (with English subtitles) he says: “What we hear are mosques, churches, cathedrals. It’s noon in Sarajevo. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can hear them all together, and sounding so beautifully. It would be a shame if it had to stop one day.”
Goran Bregović. Photograph © Nebojsa Babic
Nearly 30 years later, Bregović is still trying to spread the same message. “It is in a way a little sad that I am saying the same thing for 30 years. But there are some things you have to repeat and repeat because they are important,” Bergović told a Canadian reporter last year.