In memory of Aleksa Šantić
Aleksa Šantić (1868-1924) was, by all means, an exceptional figure among the greatest poets of the Balkans. His life was marked by his belief that people of all ethnicities and cultures in the region are “…tied by name and language, by brotherhood and divine blood.” Unable to avoid being “identified” by any of particular cultural attributions, he decided to embrace all of them. His poetry and songs with his lyrics, were and still are loved all over the Balkans.
Šantić’s poem “Emina” was set to music as soon as it was written and became an “all people’s love song” ever since.
The Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Hague organized on 26 November 2009 an evening dedicated to the memory of Aleksa Šantić. His name is inseparably associated to the city of Mostar and times when various religious denominations harmoniously lived surrounded by its magical beauty.
My friend Zoran Lešić, an art photographer and actor, invited me to take a part in the program that he prepared for that evening, together with dramatist Mirjana Lešić, as a hommage to the great poet. The performing guest that evening included Joost Spijkers (actor and singer), Melika Lila Hadžić (violinist), Iva Lešić-Spijkers (ballet), Mojca Majcen (modern dance), and myself (guitar and voice) with my guests Jessica Vosmeer (oriental dance), Pit Hermans (cymbalist), and Ramis Tumbeleki (percussionist).
It was an exceptional evening marked by the atmosphere of artistic program, full of beautiful music, dance, poetry, and warm interaction with the public. I felt delighted in the company of my artistic friends, and particularly seeing the joyful mood of ambassadors of all countries from the region who came that evening to pay respect to the idea of friendship and benevolence that inspired Šantić’s life.