Šejla Grgić is already known to the public as an amazing performer of pop music. By performing world’s famous covers, she was deservedly named “Bosnian Adele”. She has often been involved in many projects which included performing of traditional Bosnian sevdalinka song, where she proved to be an amazing interpreter. This 24 years old Master’s degree student of Music Academy in Sarajevo, a girl with an outstanding vocal abilities, is a new vocalist of Bosnian sevdah band Divanhana.
On September 2018. the band announced that their long term associate Naida Ćatić isn’t a member of the band anymore. Today they are informing all of their respectful fans, and the media of their new collaboration with the above mentioned interpreter Šejla Grgić.
On that occasion, one of the most respectful Bosnian web magazines Klix.ba, did an interview with the new member of the sevdah band Divanhana.
KLIX.BA: How and when did you start to collaborate with Divanhana?
ŠEJLA: I have known the colleagues from the band since our university days,which we spent at Music Academy in Sarajevo.They belong to an older generation of students than me, but somehow, it seems like there is a certain rule, when you once walk at the Academy, you always tend to come back.Great memories, your heart and of course music, draw you back over and over again.That way we occasionally met at different events organized by our Academy. On July, 2018 a casting for Broadway hit musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” was held, and so we had met again.I wasn’t aware that Divanhana was included in the project, and I also didn’t know that they were looking for a new member who would eventually replace their former member Naida. I was invited to a couple of their recording sessions, where everything was very natural and relaxing, without any pretensions or emphasis of any concrete collaboration. A couple of months later, on the beginning of September, the rehearsals for the above mentioned musical took part, which put together 16 young actors and singers from all around of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During that process which lasted for a month, we perceived the compatibility of the band, and me as a performer, as well as an honest music and creative symbiosis which was undoubtedly meant to be. After the premiere of the musical which travelled through seven cities of our country we returned to Sarajevo. Right than it was clear to all of us, that the only natural next step was for me to join this amazing collective, and to flow into sevdah with all of my heart, to research and to devote myself completely. I am really happy and excited for being in this band where I will most certainly have the opportunity to develop my creativity in another direction, to develop myself as an artist and interpreter as well, and of course together with my colleagues to continue to accomplish their long term mission of spreading love and sevdah, all around this colorful world.
KLIX.BA: Considering the fact that you have been preparing since this july, I would like to know how do you cooperate as a team? How does one of your work days look like, did it take long for you to fit in, are there any anecdotes perhaps?
ŠEJLA: Divanhana is basically a collective formed of hard-working people, dreamers who want to create a new, better world for them and their environment with their music. A collective which took a great responsibility to present our traditional sevdalinka song to the audience all around the world, and to be a serious cultural ambassador of our country. In this type of band it is really easy to cooperate, and the guys from the band are very opened for every idea that I want to realize. Everyday rehearsals are creative and a lot of fun. I feel that the band slowly opens the creativity and orients the sound to my exact way and style of performing, and that represents a true satisfaction for the interpreter. We have pushed ourselves into creativity and we will see where our story taks us, but I have a feeling that we are at a beginning of something very exciting and beautiful. I feel that the best things for this band are yet to come. There are so many anecdotes and the complete creative process is a lot of fun, but let us leave the best ones for the scene.
KLIX.BA: Where does your love for sevdah come from? What does performing of sevdalinka represent for you personally?
ŠEJLA: Sevdalinka was actually my first contact with music. It is a part of life of every resident of our country, so as a little girl I had absorbed the beauty of it from my parents, from TV and the radio. All of the singers like to challenge themselves with songs which are hard to be performed, and the fact is that sevdalinka is a serious challenge for every performer. Performing of sevdalinka songs for me represents an honest satisfaction and opens new dimensions in artistic way. Improvisation which is a very important segment of sevdalinka, allows me to present my ideas and emotions as I feel them at the moment of performing, and the audience is the one, who can always feel an honest emotion. What honestly makes me happy is the fact that the band has certainly very active concert life, and that is the essence of music, such as going on stage is, leaving your heart on the scene, giving the audience your soul and a memory they will keep as a talisman for the rest of their lives.
KLIX.BA: The audience remembers you as a pop song interpreter. Is that set-aside or are we going to hear some of your pop rock songs along with sevdalinka?
ŠEJLA: At this moment, I have oriented absolutely all of my creative energy and wish for learning and progressing to sevdah and work with Divanhana. A lot of concerts have already been planned as well as some serious researching work and preparations for first studio recording adventures. I have never been exclusive and I would never give up any music style that is close to me. I am certainly very fond of pop music, so I would never say that I have finished with it for good.
KLIX.BA: Is the concert in Mostar, planned for 7.November, at “Kosača” the first concert where you will be performing as Divanhana’s vocal in front of Bosnian audience? How do you feel about that, and how do the preparations go so far?
ŠEJLA: As I could notice in this short period that I have spent with the band, Mostar is a center of inspiration for Divanhana, it is a place where they always, gladly come back over and over again. They have had some of their best concerts there, and one of them was even published, so I have a big responsibility to carry on all of the energy and love that Divanhana and Mostar share. I am sure that it is going to be another night to be remembered as for the band as for the audience as well. I know that I will remember it for the rest of my life, as an eternal memory of the first concert with the band, first stage fright and the excitement before the beginning of the next chapter of my life.This month we have been working on daily bases, we are making a new repertoire, and I can’t wait to share it with our dear audience in Mostar.
KLIX.BA: For the end, what are the future plans, and what is next in your career?
ŠEJLA: As I have mentioned earlier, the band is famous for their very active concert schedule, and even now I can announce the concerts in Offenbach,3. November, the above mentioned concert in Mostar, 7.November. Furthermore, there are scheduled concerts in Denmark, Slovenia, and Sweden. January is going to be dedicated to creative work, and studio recordings. Afterwards I believe, that you can expect the first music present from me and Divanhana, for beginning of another successful year filled with songs and love,for everyone in our beautiful country.