I met Svetlana Spajic back in 1996 when I was putting together a 3 CD-and-book compilation of music from formerly Soviet countries that was called “Unblocked.” She helped me to locate some great tracks to represent Serbian music, and I finally met her in person when I visited Belgrade the following year. One of my most vivid memories from that meeting is of when she took me to view a royal Ottoman residence (now a museum).  We entered a round room with stone walls and she remarked how good the acoustics were. Then she started to sing for me. I knew as soon as I heard that gut wrenching voice that this woman was the real deal. In the intervening years she continued to study the songs of her people and went on to establish her name in the world of Serbian folk music. I met her again at WOMEX in Copenhagen, where she performed with her group and delivered a powerful set. This stuff was definitely not easy listening, but the audience lapped it up, understanding the provenance while reacting on a purely emotional level.

I present here two songs from a half hour set, both connected to the wedding ritual, one from the male repertoire sung in the shaking mountain style, and one that that is sweeter on the ears, from the female repertoire. I have included Svetlana’s explanations so you have some idea of her dry humor.

4 Responses to “Two Serbian Wedding Songs: Svetlana Spajic Group”

  1. Dearest Michal!

    What wonderful surprise! thank you so much for this presentation! And thank you for re-collecting the days we spent in Belgrade! Hopefully we will repeat it! Just one small correction: the male song is not “ganga” style but shaking mountain singing.

    hugs and kisses from Belgrade!
    PS: Ohh, I enjoy this video!

  2. […] voice that was perfect for the music. I was very happy to have the opportunity to shoot her group at WOMEX, and her solo show at DROM, here in […]

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Here’s where you’ll find my weekly original world music video blogs that appear on Huffington Post, as well as an archive starting in April of 2009.

This is also the place where you will find video that is exclusive to my site. I’ve traveled to places like Uzbekistan, Morocco, and Taiwan and no matter where I go I have found amazingly talented and creative people working in every genre from the deepest traditions to the cutting edge.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to interview them and to capture some of what they do on video. Enjoy what you see and hear, and let me know what you think. I welcome your feedback.