Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Review: Scream For Me Sarajevo

Country: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2017

When we say Iron Maiden, most of us think only of Bruce Dickinson in all his glory. That’s more than true and all die-hard fans would kill to see, just for one moment, the most popular band on the planet. Maiden are gods! Their greatness no other band will ever experience. Okay, they are a band for people who start to listen to metal but Maiden actually are far beyond. They are a special, evergreen band. Great people and artists. I am not saying that all British people are that polite as them but you can see in their interviews and concerts that they are so polite, full of respect and well educated men.

Let’s leave behind their musical background and go back to one important moment in the history of ex-Yugoslavia, which is well connected with the best vocalist of all times.

It’s year 1994. Yugoslavia is falling apart in a bloody civil war. Death and fear is all you can see and feel around. It wasn’t easy in any of the 5 countries, but Bosnia went through hell in its full meaning. I am sorry for all those people, children, soldiers who died or were left without their loved ones on all three sides.

War is hell for everyone and one moment in life that makes you love your life one more time. Every moment is so precious. To see the sky without a bomb fog, to drink water to eat and hug whoever you want, no matter which religion or nationality.

So, there is one wish that Bosnian people had… For the war to stop. The end was far away and every day seemed like a year. Information among civilians was hidden. Some rock star is suddenly coming to Sarajevo. That seemed impossible. No one believed it, but…

Some people made it happen. Can you even imagine the surprise on those faces who don’t even know if they will be alive in one hour? No, no one can!

Sarajevo in that moment, under siege, doesn’t even know what is going on in the world. A local radio station called “Zid” (The wall) is trying to bring the moral up, but it was a heavy situation. They couldn’t listen to music, see what is going on in great America or go freely to a Saturday night party. Day by day they meet their friends in basements. Every day the groups are smaller and smaller. Kids couldn’t play their instruments. Only in shelters, if the electricity comes in 10 or 20 days, maybe never. Unrealistic pictures every day. Their city burnt, gone and hungry.

A few men did the impossible and, through hell, entered Sarajevo. A mega star as he was those days, Bruce Dickinson secretly did something Bosnian metalheads will never forget. He made a concert in Sarajevo, at a place called “Teatar 55”, in the basement hole, with an audience of around 200 people, for free. Amazing!

I don’t know about you, but… This means a lot, even to me who wasn’t even in plans to be born then. Not for money, publicity or fame. It was an act of love, respect and humanity. Going by truck near minefields? Okay! Sleep in sleeping bags made for soldiers? Okay! Do the concert for free without professional lights and technical staff? Okay! That’s what I call – the star!

One fan in the movie said: “The guy is either crazy or he got a million dollars for this. It seems like this, impossible, dude!” Seeing Bruce, and all the others who were involved, just talking through the movie was an amazing experience. In some moments so emotional that makes you cry. Why? Bruce got those kids forget where they are and make their dreams come true for two hours. This is not the same as Marylin Monroe who was singing for American army in Vietnam. Especially, it is not the same like nowadays when celebrities are sending peace messages through social media just to make their fame even bigger. He sang from the soul, for common people who risked their lives, just like he was, for that and only one meeting and feeling. Vanja Nogo, a fan who went from the frontline at the cost of life to see a man who marked his childhood said: “There was one yellow light that was going from some artificial lightning and I thought that it was the only light in that moment in my life that was going to the God.” Amazing!

Magical thing is no one knew about this. No one believed, but it happened and the rest is history. The soundtrack made for the movie is specially made by Bruce and inspired by everything he heard and saw in tree days of hell. Songs like “Eternals”, “Tears of the Dragon”, Dogs of War” are just some of them and watching the movie you get all the explanations for every single one of them.

Point of this review isn’t just about the documentary movie made by producer Tarih Hodžić and Adnan Ćuhara, called “Scream For Me Sarajevo”. It’s about life and how we sometimes, led by our ambitions and some stupid rich dreams, forget to love and have human needs. We forget about the most important things in life. First to be a human being and second to live life to the fullest. Message made by me is never to let this happen again, because after the concert those kids maybe didn’t find their parents alive at home. Maybe they didn’t come home alive and there is no money or fame or gold that can bring them back. Bruce knew this and passed the test of humanity!