Story Behind the Event

A Personal View...

The Past

I love music, it was always my passion. One thing is particularly hard about being an artist trying to make a living - you have to give up the art. At some point you become a living juke box. You never meant that to happen, but it does anyway.

I met Branko in Sarajevo in the early 80's. He was an established authority among musicians in his 40's, I was in my early 20's, at the beginning of my music career. As everyone else, I loved the way he played, but above all, I was fascinated with complex chord progression and melodic figures he adds to the simple folk songs, putting that music in a whole different perspective. At the time I studied jazz, and this guy was playing it well beyond the standards. He, on the other side, was happy to finally find someone who could understand music the same way he did.

The war in Bosnia came in 1992. It put an end to the way of life as we knew it. We hoped during that summer that it will stop any day, but at the first signs of winter most of the people became aware how serious the situation really was. I lost contact with Branko.

The Present

Years passed by, my wife and I live in Seattle, our daughter was born here. I have a different career now, but I never gave up music. I miss the way of life we had in Sarajevo back in 80's. I was always looking for a way to bring that passion back, even just for a moment.

I often wondered what happened to Branko, I was able over time to get in touch with most of my friends, but he was still missing. Then, sometimes in 2004, my friend Nermin from Canada called and said "You're not going to believe this - I think I finally tracked down Branko and he is in the US." He gave me the phone number if I wanted to give it a try. I took it, but at that moment I was uncertain if that would be a good idea or not. It's that feeling of doubt and insecurity that often takes over when you don't expect it. Funny how you build all these scenarios in your head and how most of your actions are based on these assumptions. Then all of a sudden, I received another call - it was Branko. He said "Every time I hear about someone from Sarajevo, I get overwhelmed. But, never mind that, listen to this..." And then he started playing over the phone. It was better then anything I've heard in a long time...

Sometimes life goes on its own, no matter what you do. It is fascinating how small details of today, can effect your life tommorow. I was always curious about what would have happened have we made a slightly different decision yesterday or just one minute ago. I was given a lot by playing music, this time I'd like to give some of it back.

Nedim H. Hamzic