Occur Goes Global - The Music of Bosnia and Herzegovina

War is a way of life in this Mid-European nation barely into its third decade of existence. Forged from great conflict in 1995, the country of 3.4 million continues to march on for the rights of musicians and factory workers. There is a darkness to Bosnian art, but its resonance leads to action. Here are four acts from Bosnia you ought to know.



Referring to themselves as a “work in progress,” this darkwave electronic duo are like Depeche Mode minus Dave Gahan. Sparks fly from the synthesizers and modulators of Andrijan Zovko and Nedim Ćišić, sometimes going with a progressive gothic sound (“How We Are Connected”), other times veering toward the Prodigy (the above “Uncertainty of Signs”). Their last album was 2009’s Whatever Singuarity. Ćišić currently performs as MidiBrigade, a sort of ChipTune outfit.


Pamela Ramljak

Western media have a habit of pegging up-and-coming women rappers as “Feminem,” the female equivalent of Marshall Mathers. But there was an actual Feminnem in Eastern Europe, a popular girl group that included songstress Pamela Ramljak. Less hip-hop oriented than their namesake, Feminnem were formed like One Direction: on a televised singing competition. Ramljak emerged with the most distinctive voice in the group, a seductive alto that could melt glaciers.


Dubioza Kolektiv

Anarchy in the B&H! This multi-genre group melds folk instruments with rap and punk, tosses in antiestablishment lyrics and runs amok on copyright laws. Their new single, “Free.mp3 (The Pirate Bay Song),” ought to be Wikileaks’ anthem, as it lampoons iTunes, YouTube, Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian. The pranksters have been around since 2003 and show no signs of slowing down their campaign to make their music universally available, free of charge. Download the current EP, Happy Machine, at Dubioza’s websiteFeatured image by Goran Lizdek.



With elements of Tim Burton films and Bauhaus and Dresden Dolls tunes, Aura+ will creep into your mind like a spider. Listen to Spomen Park and feel the melodies slither over you. Dušan Nakić’s drums play the dual role of restless bones and moonlight hitting a broken windowpane. And Miroslav Bjeletić has a voice that rivals Nick Cave’s in diabolical perfection.

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