Emina (poem)

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Aleksa Šantić, author of Emina

Emina (Serbian Cyrillic: Емина) is a poem by Bosnian Serb poet Aleksa Šantić that became a popular sevdalinka song, covered by many prominent singers from Bosnia and Herzegovina and other parts of former Yugoslavia. It was first published in 1902 in the Serbian literary journal Kolo.[1] The subject of the poem is Šantić's teenage neighbor, a Bosnian Muslim[2] girl named Emina Sefić. It is one of the most well-known sevdalinka songs of all time.

Main character[edit]

Emina Koluder (née Sefić; 1884–1967)[3] was born to a Bosnian Muslim family in the city of Mostar. Her father was a prominent Imam in Mostar and the family lived near Stari Most; they were next door neighbors to famous poet Aleksa Šantić.

Emina married Avdaga Koluder, became Emina Koluder, moved away from her city of birth and had 14 children. She lived to the age of 83, dying in 1967.

Her great-granddaughter Alma Ferović is a soprano and has performed with Elton John and A.R. Rahman.[4]

Statue[edit]

On 27 May 2010 a bronze statue of Emina was unveiled in Mostar. It was unveiled on Šantić's 142nd birthday, although it's not publicly known if that was intentionally done or coincidental.[5] The Emina statue was sculpted by Zlatko Dizdarević over the period of three months and was not based on photographs of her, rather the artistic vision of a Bosnian beauty. The statue was sculpted with clothing that women wore in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the turn of the century.

Lyrics[edit]

The original, longer version of Emina, published in the Serbian journal Kolo in 1902
Serbo-Croatian English translation[6]
Sinoć kad se vraćah iz topla hamama,
prođoh pokraj bašče staroga imama.
Kad tamo u bašči, u hladu jasmina
s ibrikom u ruci stajaše Emina.
Ja kakva je pusta! Tako mi imana,
stid je ne bi bilo da je kod sultana.
Pa još kada šeće i plećima kreće,
ni hodžin mi zapis više pomoć' neće!
Ja joj nazvah selam. Al' moga mi dina,
ne šće ni da čuje lijepa Emina,
već u srebrn ibrik zahvatila vode,
pa niz bašču đule zaljevati ode.
S grana vjetar puhnu, pa niz pleći puste
rasplete joj njene pletenice guste.
Zamirisa kosa, k'o zumbuli plavi,
a meni se krenu bururet u glavi!
Malo ne posrnuh, mojega mi dina,
al' meni ne dođe lijepa Emina.
Samo me je jednom pogledala mrko,
niti haje, alčak, što za njome crko'!
Last night, returning from the warm hamam
I passed by the garden of the old Imam
And lo, in the garden, in the shade of a jasmine,
There with a pitcher in her hand stood Emina.
What beauty! By iman I could swear,
She would not be ashamed if she were at the sultan’s!
And the way she walks and her shoulders move...
-- Not even an Imam’s amulet could help me!
I offered her salaam, but by my dīn,
Beautiful Emina would not even hear it.
Instead, scooping water in her silver pitcher,
Around the garden she went to water the roses.
A wind blew from the branches down her lovely shoulders
Unraveling those thick braids of hers.
Her hair gave off a scent of blue hyacinths,
Making me giddy and confused!
I nearly stumbled, I swear by my faith,
But beautiful Emina did not come to me.
She only gave me a frowning look,
Not caring, the naughty one, that I am crazy for her!

Many artists have covered the song, but the version by fellow Mostar native, Bosnian singer Himzo Polovina, remains the most popular.[7] Upon hearing of the death of Emina Sefić, Polovina went to poetess Sevda Katica's home in the Mostar neighbourhood Donja Mahala. He found her in the yard of the family home, informed her of Emina's death and she shuddered with grief and spoke the verses:

New verses Translation
Umro stari pjesnik, umrla Emina
ostala je pusta bašća od jasmina
salomljen je ibrik
uvelo je cvijeće
pjesma o Emini, nikad umrijet neće.
The old poet has died, Emina has died
The empty garden of jasmine was left behind
The pitcher is broken
The flowers have withered
The song about Emina, will never die.

Himzo Polovina recorded the song and added Sevda's new verses.

Covers[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aleksa Šantić (1902). Danilo A. Živaljević, ed. "Емина" [Emina]. Kolo (in Serbian). Belgrade: Štamparija Petra Ćurčića. 4 (3–4): 134. 
  2. ^ "Il volto di Šantić". Balcancaucaso. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. ... poesia che Aleksa Šantić dedicò ad una ragazza musulmana... 
  3. ^ "Unuk "Lijepe Emine": Moja nena bila je uvijek vedrog duha". lupiga. 20 November 2006. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  4. ^ ""Emina" mi je uvijek donosila sreću". Slobodnaevropa. 2 January 2012. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "DOBRO DOŠLA KUĆI, LIJEPA EMINA". Dnevni list. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Aleksa Šantić (1902). "Emina - Aleksa Šantić - English translation". SpiritofBosnia. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Zaboravljeni junaci jednog vremena". doznajemo. 22 November 2012. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bolje da ne pevaš". dw.de. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Un sentimento bosniaco". Girodivite. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2013.