Songs of Water, Bread and Love

Danijel Žontar
Concert for piano and voice

It happens very exceptionally that new pieces of classical music appear in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Danijel Žontar has composed an exceptional concert. Deeply inspired, he delved into the complex structure that begins from authentic Balkan songs and develops into the minimalistic lyrical and dramatic musical expression.

Danijel Žontar’s piano playing skill is also impressive and it gives a unique personal dimension to the concert. Together with a marvellous soprano, Aida Čorbadžić, he has explored a special Balkan singing style; together, they have elevated it to the level of classical interpretation. Daniela Žontar called this new style of singing – applied in voice and piano concert – Balcando.  Aida Čorbadžić is a modern solo singer whose musicality is enchanting. She has boldly taken this artistic risk and explored her own voice, movement and acting. In this concert, she has set forth into a completely unknown territory, creating a new level of singing that cerates a fusion of operatic and authentically Balkan singing. Aida Čorbadžić has introduced a new standard of classical singing – Balcando. We did not have a Monteverdi or Bach In the history of music in the Balkans, but we had authentic musicians who had a classical force. Their names were left unrecorded, but their work has reached us, handed over from one generation to another.  Today, I am happy that I am able to say that we have brilliant artists Danijel Žontar and Aida Čorbadžić, who have contributed to the world music a new piece of modern classic, grounded in the deepest strata of the Balkan civilisation.

The scenario and directing for a voice and a piano are not a standard stuff.  Since this type of concerts bears great dramatic potential, we believed that the dramatic dimension was an important element of expression. Dramaturgically, the choice of fundamental songs achieves the basic narrative structure, which – although abstract – is one of the driving forces of this piece of music. Songs from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Montenegro, are fused into one, proving that we in the Balkans, are a single story. This story is very rich and it encompasses different styles and periods of time.  Similarities and contrasts between old songs from Vranje and Bosnian sevdalinka, lyrical songs of Međimurje and dramatic Vlach songs, or ancient songs from the Rodopi Mountains and modern songs of great Turkish musician Sezen Aksu, which can rightly be called “popular”. Because of its uniqueness, the Bulgarian song “Izel e deljo” is built into the message about the best traits of human existence that humanity sent into the space on the Voyager spaceship.  I think that each of these songs, which inspired us for this voice and piano concert, is a part of that message. This is a concert about the best-kept secret of the Balkans – that, among other things, we, the people of the Balkans, are wonderful.

For me, the magic lies in the way Danijel Žontar has created a new original piece of music inspired by original songs, yet it is never the original song; it is a piece grounded in tradition, yet an integral avant-garde piece that belongs to the 21st century. Aida Čorbadžić holds in her soul all centuries, both past and future. She is equally confident in the subconscious and in the conscious, as well as in the emotional and the metaphysical. Working with Aida Čorbadžić and Danijel Žontar on the preparation of “Songs of Water, Bread and Love”, I have learned new dimensions of meaning and love, as well as some beautiful parts of myself, which I only sensed were there, but which were somehow hidden from me. Danijel and Aida have brought those dimensions close to me. I wish our audience could experience this concert in the same manner.

Haris Pašović

Produced by East West Center
In collaboration with National Theatre Sarajevo/
Art&Life Istanbul


Danijel Žontar

Concert for voice and piano

Aida Čorbadžić, soprano
Danijel Žontar, piano

Directed/ Script by Haris Pašović

Costume designers: Vanja Ciraj and Irma Saje
Director of photography: Erol Zubčević
Graphic design: Enes Huseinčehajić
Video design: Goran Lončarević Goc
Sound operator: Admir Đulančić
Lighting operator: Amer Šaković
Photographer: Denis Ruvić
Hairstyle: Mahir Sinanović
Make up: Maja Talović and Amra Bilić
Chief Stage technician: Emin Bahtanović
Wardrobe:  Edina Bahtanović
Program manager: Lejla Abazović

Executive Producer: Ismar Hadžiabdić
Producer: Haris Pašović