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Folk music in The Scent of Rain in the Balkans gives the series a unique cultural authenticity and texture. Here are three examples:

#1 – Sarajevo’s ancient song:

The Salom family sings a very old song at Buka’s wedding, which many consider to be the anthem of Sarajevo. It has a Sephardic Jewish melody, and is also claimed by some Bosnians as belonging to their culture.

To hear more of the many versions that have been made, go to YouTube and search for these words: Kad ja podjoh na Bentbasu.

#2 – The Girl from Anatolia

As Riki, Milos, Blanki and Marko dine at a Belgrade restaurant, they sing a famous song, “The Girl from Anatolia.”

Multiple groups passionately claim this song as theirs, including Albanians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Macedonians, Serbians and Turks. Another metaphor for shared culture…

Adela Peeva made a great documentary about this song, called “Whose is This Song?” Here’s an article about it.

#3 – Adio Querida

There’s a ubiquitous Ladino song which plays during the credits, underscores many scenes, and which Mother and Father Salom sing together in a couple of scenes.

What’s so interesting about this song is the disconnect between the lovely melody and the meaning of the lyrics. Here are the lyrics by themselves.

Adio Querida
Goodbye, my dear

I don’t want to live
You made my life miserable.

When your mother delivered you
and brought you into the world
she did not give you a heart
to love with….

Goodbye, my dear,
I don’t want to live
You made my life miserable.

I’ll go look for another love,
knock on other doors,
hoping to find a true passion,
because for me you are dead.

Curiously, there’s a modern song that also has this disconnect between a beautiful melody and downbeat lyrics. And, no surprise, the composer comes from a Sephardic heritage on his mother’s side. Some sort of resonance through the centuries? Give this a listen.