Sarajevo pop-rock school

During the 1950s and 1960s, Sarajevo was very active on former Yugoslavia’s music scene and was home to a famous pop-rock school whose artists put the city at the center of YU rock’n’roll from 1960 to 1991.


At the beginning of the 1960s, discos were held at FIS and Kod Morde and this period saw the formation of the following bands: Indexi, Pauci, Eho61, Plavi Dijamanti, Pro Arte, Čičak, Kodeksi....

Radio Luxembourg allowed people to follow the global music scene and, at first, YU bands only played international hits, but Indexi paved the way for original songs with their 1967 hit, Pružam Ruke.

Vaš Šlager Sezone

The first edition of the popular music festival, Vaš Šlager Sezone, was held the same year, with Kemal Monteno taking first prize.

There were venues like Sloga, Skenderija, Dom Mladih..., and the underground club, Barutana, started working in the basement of the Mladen Stojanković dormitory.

Čičak made history during the 1970 New Year’s Eve concert by playing a 26-hour music marathon at Dom Mladih. Kodeksi broke their record the following year by playing 32 hours at the same venue.

The Ambassadori appeared on the scene in 1970 and the public’s fascination with disco and pop put Zdravko Čolić at the top of the region’s pop scene.

Bijelo Dugme’s arrival created quite a stir. Goran Bregović’s mix of pop-rock and ethno/folk caused critics to start using the term “shepherd rock,” which enjoyed overnight popularity.

Young bands played at Sloga from 1977 to 1982 and during the 1980s, clubs like Kuk, CDA, Zub, AG, Rebus, Stelex, Zvono and Crvena Galerija were homes to the avant-garde and alternative scenes.

A new wave hit in the 1980s with Novi Primitivizam, a punk-inspired movement, along with the bands, Zabranjeno Pušenje, Elvis J. Kurtović & His Meteors, Bombaj Štampa and Crvena Jabuka.

Olympics and Yu Heavy Metal Fest 

Jadranka Stojaković composed the theme song for the 1984 WOG and Merlin, Plavi Orkestar, Hari Mata Hari, Valentino, Regina, Bolero, Divlje Jagode, Vatreni Poljubac... all appeared around the time of the Olympics. The annual Yu Heavy Metal Fest was held from 1986 to 1991.

Sarajevo’s music scene was active even during the Siege of the 1990s, with bands like Sikter, Konvoj, Almanah, Erogene Zone, Lezi Majmune, Z.O.Ć., Macbeth, Fazla....

Many “students” of the Sarajevo pop-rock school are still major players on the region’s music scene. Amir Misirlić, a music historian and publicist, profiles the work and activities of these figures, as well as bands that have become popular since the end of the war (Dubioza Kolektiv, Letu Štuke, Skroz...) in his encyclopedia, 50 Years of BiH Pop-rock, which is available at Šahinpašić and Magaza.