Listen to these dozen songs from South Africa, Bosnia, and America and you will be reminded that there are universal elements in the music made by humans of all cultures. From my own experience, there are reminiscences here both of Balkan folk songs and of modern music in East Africa. There is a passion and a felicity in these songs that have stirred me deeply every time I have listened to this disc. I could only wish that everyone who hears this music might have the pleasure I have had, of seeing in person these two Americans, Enid Holden and Asim Haracic--a former surgeon from the Balkans and an artist from Natal--perform with the other talented musicians that joined them here in Colorado as others have done in Washington. These people are, I know, inspired by the belief that there is a commonality in their themes. There is also striking beauty.
--Peter Bridges, former American ambassador to Somalia
A new crystal clear voice wrings our soul from Enid, out of the depths of Africa with light Afro-fusion, caressing our ears, amazingly laid-back, even poetic in lyrics, the music flows like an African river. The lyrics have the wide breath of Africa, so expansive and free, yet the message is chilled by poverty.
The freedom and the grace of the songs are full of gentle magic while the odd African drum song brings out a real rhythmic flavour. Enid Holden and Asim Haracic sure have a special laid-back feel and the rest of us should experience this debut album. May there be many more.
Angus Reid - South African Poet
This collection of songs represents a mutual journey in which Asim Haracic and Enid Holden shared their longing for and their celebration of their native countries, Bosnia and South Africa, as they embraced new lives in the US. While their countries had very different histories, they found that they had much in common. Almost all of the songs are original collaborations with lyrics mostly written by Enid and Asim composing the melodies. One traditional Bosnian folk song, Rosa, written by the late Tanasievic, is included. Outside Sarajevo and Deserter are about Bosnia and were brought to the table by Asim with the kind permission of the Bosnian poet, Semezdin Mehmedinovic. The one Zulu song, Sizo Bonan, is a simple love song composed by Enid, something along the lines of a traditional Zulu melody. This whole project took shape under the wise direction of Marco Delmar without whom we would have remained in constant flux.
The band Siya Jika (pronounced See ya Jeeka) originated as a Washington DC band, mainly mixed race South Africans playing traditional South African music in Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho. It evolved into an ethnically diverse band playing world beat and traditional music from Bosnia as well as South Africa once Asim joined the band. As the band developed into writing and recording original work, it was the fusion of experiences of Asim, a surgeon who fled with his family during the war in Bosnia and Enid, who emigrated to the US from South Africa, during the apartheid era, before the political liberation heralded by Nelson Mandela. Asim and Enid’s collaborations reflect commonalities such as a commitment to freedom, peace, human rights, longing, displacement, and contemporary issues such as HIV spread in Africa.