Speaking as someone who loves learning about musical genres which are unique to a particular place, to say I found the Sevdah Art House a disappointment is a huge understatement. It wasn't so much that I learnt nothing about this style of Bosnian love song or that I had an unprovoked argument with an incredibly aggressive and arrogant 'custodian' but rather that the museum had clearly been well thought through and was capable of delivering a great experience but perhaps through neglect or the laziness of those currently trusted to operate it, there was nothing of value for the tourist.
The museum is divided into perhaps a dozen rooms, each of which displays in Serbo-Croat and good English, an account of the lives of celebrated sevdah artists. So far so good. Each room also has its own dvd machine and boxes containing headphones. This is where things go wrong! Each of the dozen or so screens were simply showing the same modern video of a recent live concert of a popular band. With one exception, the boxes containing the headphones were all locked. Fairly quickly, I realized that the Art House was set up so that, having read each of the leading artists from the 1930's onwards, you could put on the headphones and hear for yourself what they sounded like and what made them unique from the rest. Why else would there be a screen and dvd machine and headphones in each room?
I put this to the man on the desk but he was initially evasive, then defensive and then downright rude. I ended up with the distinct impression that someone had decided it was just too much trouble to spin separate dvds in each room than just blast out a modern concert throughout the whole establishment. I tried to explain that as a foreigner, I wasn't likely to get much out of printed biographies alone but he was more interested in insulting my country. He goaded me to file a complaint in the complaint book but when I said I preferred to express my opinions on TripAdvisor, suddenly lost the smirk from his face and handed back the entrance fee.
I hope I was unlucky but this is not the famed Bosnian hospitality that I have read all about and certainly not somewhere to learn about Bosnian music!
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