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World Music Fest Zeman — Blending Contemporary and Tradition in Novi Pazar


Author: Hana Tiro


World Music Fest "Zeman" is a world music festival that takes place in the City Park under the open sky of Novi Pazar. The festival nurtures music created by mixing contemporary music directions with traditional music. Artistic directors of the festival are Mirza Redžepagić and Kenan Mačković.


The idea of ​​the festival is to gather artists from different parts of the world who will present their art, in front of local audience at Novi Pazar. The Festival consists of concerts by World Music artists, diverse music workshops and lectures, as well as competition for singers/vocal performers of Balkan music.


The previous editions of the festival featured musicians from Turkey, Slovenia, Mexico, Poland, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia, and at "Voice of Zeman" the competitors were performers from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia.


Novi Pazar as a city with a rich history and culturally diverse population is the ideal ground for holding a festival of this type, and our goal is to place it in the center of European and world music events.



First year of World Music Fest Zeman, in 2018, opening performance belonged to “Sevdah Duende”, a band coming from Sarajevo. The audience had an opportunity to enjoy the magical sounds of the fusion of traditional Bosnian sevdalinka and flamenco. On the second night of the festival, "Voice of Zeman” competition was bringing forward new voices of World Music. Final night of the fest, performed “Rahat”, an unusual band from Belgrade which nurtures the traditional Ottoman music.


Sevdah Duende


As part of the festival, two music workshops were held, at which cooperation was established between young talents and already established artists and experts in the field of music. Workshop participants were given the opportunity to acquire new skills that will further assist them in their professional work.


In 2019 World Music Fest Zeman opens with a concert by Damir Imamović and Vasil Hadžimanov. What made the Festival different this year, were the music workshops. SevdahLab led by Damir Imamović, Just Listen workshop Daniel More, and the third workshop Ilahija and its historical development will be led by Antonije Tot.


World Music Fest Zeman in 2019 offered four concerts, three interactive workshops, as well as the “Voice of Zeman” competition, which took place on the last day of the Festival. The expert jury consists of professionals from the music world.




Despite the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team of World Music Fest Zeman successfully organized and performed the 2020 edition. It was held in an online format, more precisely via the festival's social networks.


On the first day of the festival, Lynn Adib, an artist from Damascus with an address in Paris, performed with her jazz trio. The second day of the festival was given to Classical Music of the Contemporary World: Concert of composers from Sandžak. And the events were finalized with, already annual competition "Voice of Zeman", a competition in performing ethno music of the Balkans.



Zeman Festival bases its concept on the promotion of persistent authorial work, original expression and strong performing potential. The basic idea of ​​the festival is to create a new space for presenting young talents, encouraging the music scene and developing intercultural dialogue in the region.


Find out more about Zeman Festival on their website, Facebook, and Instagram account.