For their musical project Barimatango the duo Jelena Milusic and Atilla Aksoj dig deep into musical traditions from Balkans and Southeast Europe. They interpret and perform Roma and Sephardic music and are passionate about keeping these rare languages and songs alive. For our recording at the Neretva riverside in Mostar Barimatango play “Una Noche”, a Sephardic song about yearning for loved ones, hope and reunion. And when Jelena translates the last verse for us into English, it is clear why this song resonates so deeply: “Oh mother, I had a dream and in this dream the war was over.”
When the sun sets and the day tourists leave, Mostar reveals its true beauty. A walk along the green banks of turqoise-blueish Neretva river, past the stone buildings of the Old Town and across the famous Old Bridge is one of Bosnia’s highlights. With its mediterranean climate the Hercegovinan capital is a pleasant place to visit year-round, although summer days can be very hot. What short-term visitors usually don’t see are the countless unresolved political issues between the Croat and the Bosniak population. 22 years after the war has ended the city is still divided and kids go to different schools depending on their religion. The reconstructed Old Bridge is a strong symbol of connection and unity, but in reality there is still a lot to be done.