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Diary from the Field


March 12, 1989. Rožaje, Montenegro

I came to Rožaje around 7:00 P.M. where Azemović waited for me in his hospitable home. After a pleasant conversation with him, his wife and their sons, we set off for Bandžo Hill. On the top of Bandžo Hill, the singer Murat Kurtagić lived with his family. Kurtagić had sons, daughters and grandchildren. Although he was blessed with his many family members, life was difficult for him and his children. They were honest and diligent workers, but they remained poor. Most of the time there was no jobs available and besides he also did not possess the land. During the March of 1989, Kurtagić's son, Safet, and later his older brother, Šefćet, helped me in collecting Kurtagić's epics. Both sons were married and lived with their families together in the same house with their father, Kurtagić, and mother, Amira.

Ten of us were in a small overheated room, when Kurtagić decided to start singing. I did not expect it, as the time was not optimal for recording. Zaim's and Kurtagić's wife were loudly discussing with their daughters in law, the children were playing, and I was tired from the long journey. In addition, I felt that I would be more content if I could have asked the singer to sing the song that I planned to record. I put the microphone on the table in front of Murataga. The recording was of very good quality despite the noise and the position of the microphone.

March 14, 1989. Rožaje, Montenegro

I would not know, nor claim with certainty for any part of the song during the performance, how it will develop in certain parts. For example, will the theme of sacrificing the hero (the double) end immediately after the decapitation of his head or will it not; will his dead head speak or will it not; if so, what will it say or will it gleam; what will happen immediately after the event…

-Zlatan Čolaković