Serbia and Montenegro is a Balkan country, recently ravaged by war that has caused widespread migration and cultural oppression. Indigenous folk music (narodni muzika) remains popular, both traditional tunes and more modern compositions. The most modernized form of folk music is novokomponovana narodni muzika, which is a best-selling genre throughout Serbia and, to a lesser extent, Montenegro.

Novokomponovana can be seen as a result of the urbanization of folk music. It has a professional approach to performance, uses accordion and clarinet and typically includes love songs or other simple lyrics (though there have long been royalist, anti-Communist and democratic lyrical themes persisting underground). Many of the genre's best performers also play Bosnian sevdalinka music or other forms important from even further abroad. These include Hanka Paldum, Miroslav Ilić and Vesna Zmijanac. The influence of sevdalinka can be seen even more prominently in the ethnically-Bosnian pop star Lepa Brena.

A more recent innovation is turbo-folk, which was formed in early 1990s Belgrade by using urban Serbian songs and adding influences from rock and roll, soul, house and garage. Turbo-folk is aggressive and swift, and includes popular performers like Sneki, Nino and Dragana, though the most well-known is probably Ceca, now often remembered for her vocal support for the Milosevic government. Other musicians used their music to protest Milosevic and others who are seen as having hijacked honest cultural expression to incite nationalist fervor.

Village brass bands are extremely popular, especially in Vranje and Cacak. This tradition is now dominated by Gypsy musicians who achieve sometimes great popularity; Fejat Sejdic and Bakija Baki&cacute are the two biggest names in modern brass band bandleaders.

Folk music

Pure folk music includes a two-beat dance called kolo, which is a circle dance with almost no movement above the waist, as well as instrumental music made with a frula (small flute), tamburica and accordion. Modern accordionists include Mirko Kodi&cacute and Ljubo Pakovi&cacute.

Sung epic poetry has been an integral part of Balkan music for centuries, but is now mostly found only in Montenegro. These long poems are typically accompanied on a one-string fiddle called the gusle, and usually concern themselves entirely with legendary subjects, such as Krajlević Marko or the battle of Kosovo Polje. More modern subjects include various celebrities and current events.

The Vlach minority in northeastern Serbia is related to Romanians. Popular music is most closeley related to the people of Wallachia in Romania, while traditional music shows a wide range of influences.


  • Burton, Kim. "Balkan Beats". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 273-276. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0