Musical Performance: SEVDAH SONGS with Merima Ključo and Eva Salina Primack

Fri, June 1, 2012 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Eva Salina Primack, Vocalist
Merima Ključo, Composer, Accordion

is a collaboration between Merima Ključo and Eva Salina Primack. Merima is a Bosnian-born contemporary concert accordionist, and Eva is a singer with many years of experience in traditional music, particularly from Eastern Europe. Merima and Eva have recently begun working together, using Merima's song cycle, SEVDAH SONGS, as the foundation, and expanding the repertoire to include source songs from many neighboring Balkan traditions. Their performance at Alwan for the Arts will be the US debut of this collaboration.

Doors open at 8:30 pm, performance at 9 pm

Tickets: $20 General (buy now*)| $15 (buy now*) Members, Seniors, Students - available at the door or online.

(*A small online fee is applied - use printout as your ticket)


SEVDAH SONGS is a song cycle by Merima Ključo composed between 2006-2008. It consists of arrangements of well-known and well-loved songs that have been handed down through the generations in Bosnia, and compositions based on this tradition. It is scored for contemporary accordion and voice, with the voice adhering more closely to the traditional song melodies. Ključo's conceptual idea is to introduce a new, radical approach to accordion playing, creating a context for modern contemporary music to meet traditional song.

The treatment of the material by Merima Ključo is both original and contemporary, not merely in its employment of technique, but also in the perspective through which she approaches the songs. With her arrangements, and the interpretations that follow the structures they create, a new dimension to the traditional songs springs forth. Elements that have been hidden deep in the fabric of the songs are brought to the surface. Merima Ključo presents these traditional songs under a new light, and in so doing, "rediscovers" them and presents them to us as the treasures they are.

One of the nation’s premier traditional arts organizations, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (founded in 1968) is dedicated to maintaining the vibrancy of the performing arts traditions of New York’s ethnic and immigrant communities through grass-roots community organizing, research-based educational programming and public performances. To find out what’s going on in New York’s traditional music and dance scene, visit our website at


Merima Ključo, accordionist, performs internationally as a recitalist and has been guest soloist with orchestras, including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Holland Symphonia and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. As a soloist, she has participated in a number of renowned festivals, including the St. Magnus Festival (Scotland), the City of London Festival, the Gaudeamus Festival (Amsterdam) and the Gubaidulina Festival. She is a member of the Checkpoint KBK (with Iva Bittova and David Krakauer) and Serendipity 4 (with singers Theodore Bikel and Shura Lipovsky and pianist Tamara Brooks), and has worked with MusikFabrik, the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble. Her performances have been broadcast by the BBC, and networks in the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Hungary and Israel. In 2006, Merima composed music for the radio drama "Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert," based on the book by Saša Stanišic and directed by Leonhar Koppelmann, now available as an audio book through Random House. She has contributed music for the following films: "In the Land of Blood and Honey" by Angelina Jolie, "Jack" by Sergej Kreso, "Journey 4 Artists" by Michele Noble, and "Stories of Sevdah" by Robert Golden.

In the field of Opera and Theatre, Merima has performed with the National Jewish Theater, Bremer Theater, Nederlandse Kinder Theater, and worked with directors Daniel Landau and Joaquim Sabates. In 2009/10, Merima was invited as accordionist and one of the musical arrangers/composers for Theodor Bikel's legendary one-man play, "Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears,” which was produced by the National Jewish Theater and played in Washington, D.C., Florida, Toronto, San Francisco and New York.

Merima's involvement in and love for world music, and the music of Bosnia in particular, brings a new dimension to her work and is something she seeks to share with audiences everywhere. As producer, composer and arranger for her highly acclaimed album "Zumra" (with singer Amira Medunjanin) (Gramofon, 2009/ Harmonia Mundi UK / World Village 2010), her work was voted number 4 in the top 10 world music albums by the Sunday Times (UK) in 2010.

In April 2012, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo, EastWest Theater Company and renowned Bosnian theater director Haris Pasovic invited Merima as musical director to compose, arrange, and perform a music poem, Sarajevo Red Line (Sarajevska Crvena Linija). The piece, which incorporated traditional songs, pop songs, and classical music--music with deep cultural significance that honored many types of people, was performed on April 6, 2012 to an audience of 11, 541 empty red chairs lining the main boulevard in Sarajevo, with one chair for every life lost in the siege. On that day, thousands of people from all walks of life congregated to witness and remember.

Merima has taught workshops and master classes in many conservatories and universities, including the Guildhall School of Music (England), the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Syracuse and Georgetown universities (USA). She was a faculty member at Yellow Barn (Putney, VT) during the 2011 Summer season. In the last three years, Merima has published two books, "Eastern European Folk Tunes for Accordion" and "Klezmer and Sephardic Tunes for Accordion" through Schott Music. Her accordion studies began at the Srednja Muzička Škola in Sarajevo, continued at the Rotterdam Conservatory with Miny Dekkers, and culminated at the University of the Arts, Bremen with Margit Kern, where she was granted a postgraduate scholarship for exceptional talent and graduated Cum Laude.

A native of Santa Cruz, California, Eva Salina Primack has been studying, performing, and teaching Balkan music since she was a young child. She has studied with some of the greatest living singers of Balkan traditional music. Eva's rich, versatile, agile, deep and powerful voice and her enthusiastic, skillful, inspired and inspiring teaching have led her to quickly become known as a preeminent singer, interpreter, and teacher of Traditional Balkan vocal music, singing through the traditions of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and the Romani people. She has also studied Georgian, Corsican, Traditional American, and Ukrainian singing.

Eva has collaborated to varying degrees (performing, touring, recording, and teaching) with many Balkan and American musicians, including Slavic Soul Party!, Which Way East, Kadife, Veveritse, Choban Elektrik, Seido Salifoski's Romski Boji, Édessa, Tzvetanka Varimezova, Italian Balkan/Jazz Project Opa Cupa, and KITKA. Eva received a B.A. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, where she studied extensively with Tzvetanka Varimezova. From 2009-2011 Eva toured primarily with Ash (Æ), a vocal duo focused on the traditions of the Balkans, Appalachia, Caucasus Georgia, and Corsica. Currently, Eva is developing her own band, Eva Salina, featuring many prominent New York-based musicians, as well as various other collaborations based in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe. Eva resides in Brooklyn, NY, and performs and teaches nationally and internationally at camps, workshops and festivals.

For additional information about the artists, please visit:


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Last updated: 2012-05-21 17:34:59

Eva Salina Primack
Eva Salina Primack
Merima Ključo
Merima Ključo

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