The story of Mostar Sevdah Reunion is a story about success - against all odds. It's a story about group effort and energy, but above all it's a story about one man's persistence. Dragi Šestić their producer, is one of those singular and yet somehow typical post-war Balkan characters: one of those people who came out of nowhere and, despite the fact that he had everything working against him, did something special and extraordinary. After surviving a bloody war and destruction, the people of Bosnia found themselves faced with a different sort of test: paradoxically, the post-war depression and apathy proved to be almost as challenging and difficult - especially for those involved in anything creative or artistic. Yet Šestić a non-professional musician and music fanatic, managed to put his band together - a group of people with completely different psychological, personal, and ethnic backgrounds; in other words, people with very little in common except for one thing – an endless love of music. And that, probably, was their saving grace, in more ways than one. For the last couple of years Mostar Sevdah Reunion have been sailing the unsure waters of the international music scene, becoming ever more successful.
Even more impressive than the success they have enjoyed of late, though, is that despite the above-mentioned differences the core of the band has remained intact all this time. The drive and the 'fire' were never an issue - this is a band of consummate pro's - but one should keep in mind that the extra-musical matters in the post-war Mostar and Bosnia-Herzegovina are so discouraging, and apathy so overwhelming that just putting together a band was a move which was by many considered to be mad, given the obstacles of the so-called 'transitional period' the country found itself in.
They persisted, recording three successful albums in the process, and played many shows across Europe. At one point it seemed that the band, due to some personal problems, wouldn't be able to hold together much longer; but common sense prevailed and now they're still here, stronger than ever, with a brand new record to promote. Although their previous two works were successful, if somewhat 'experimental', collaborations with other artists (namely Saban Bajramovic and Ljiljana Buttler) it is good to see the band coming back to their original love and fascination - the 'sevdah' music, that authentic Bosnian music genre or, as the band would say, 'a state of mind'. If their first album represented, in a way, a new beginning in both lives of the musicians involved and, on a larger scale, the modern Balkan culture - it meant a small victory over unfavorable circumstances and disadvantages at the time - then the new record, the splendidly titled "A secret gate", confirms the musicians' maturity and is a demonstration of new highs, artistically and performance wise.
In following years they performed at the most prestigious festivals, concert halls, thaters, clubs like the Barbican Centre-London, Concertgebouw-Amsterdam, North Sea Jazz Festival/Netherlands, The Newsgate-Newcastle, International Gypsy Festival-Tilburg/The Netherlands, International Jazz Festival Moers-Dusseldorf, World Music Festival-Almeria/Spain, Sodra Teatern-Stockholm, World Music Festival Oslo, Film Festival Cannes, Film Festival Berlin and more. Standing ovations followed each performance. One of the greatest TV stations of the World, BBC made 1 hour documentary for the series about the greatest World Music bands. MSR is one to represent the Balkans and their music.
The band consists of: Mišo Petrović (guitar),Sandi Duraković (guitar), Nermin Alukić Cerkez (vocal and guitar) , Marko Jakovljevic (bass), Senad Trnovac (drums) , Vanja Radoja (violin) and Gabrijel Prusina (piano)