On NO MORE WAR, composer and award-winning accordionist Semir “Sammy” Hasić shines a spotlight on the 1991 Battle of Vukovar, which plunged eastern Croatia into turmoil. Through the clever usage of dissonance, illogical harmonies, and polyrhythms, the poignant album highlights the aural terrors of a warzone, made all the more jarring by the timbre of the usually cheerful accordion. The message, however, is not all doom and gloom: melodious themes and accompaniment by members of the Philharmonic orchestra provide contrast to the horrors, highlighting the perseverance of the human spirit and how individuals can come together to find hope.

Today, Sammy is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to hear how a strike of inspiration led to a broken door, and the minute of silence he endured that felt like a year…

When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

I wanted to be involved in music since I was a child, when I saw musicians playing live. I wanted to be an artist when I realized that I have a gift to make a melody from some 10 years of my age.

What was your most unusual performance or something most embarrassing that happened to you during the performance?

My performance in Istanbul held 10,000 people. When I finished the performance, there was silence for about one minute, and for me that minute was as long as a year because they were silent and unreactive. Then everyone started clapping lightly, faster and faster for about 10 minutes. Then gifts, pictures, newspapers, and interviews followed. I didn’t know about their customs.

If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I would travel the world because I get inspiration in nature and its various landscapes and weather changes: hills, mountains, rivers, bridges, buildings, the sun, rain, and night.

What was your favorite musical moment on the album?

In the composition My Country, I had two parts and I missed the third. When it came to me I ran home and broke down the door with my foot, recorded it, unscrewed it at 300w, listened to it and then of course the police came and warned me to reduce the volume. They looked at me strangely and asked who broke down the door.

What does this album mean to you personally?

It is a sum of my compositions that I have wanted to record in this classic way for years. Of course, I have been involved in humanitarian work all my life and this is program music where each composition sends a humane and noble message: a message of peace and love.

Is there a particular feeling you would like to convey to the audience in this piece?

The feeling of perfection, peace, tranquility, peace, love, well-being, health and social care of people for each other.

Explore Sammy’s Latest Release

NO MORE WAR - album cover


NO MORE WAR is available now from Navona Records. Click here to visit the catalog page and explore this album.

  • Semir “Sammy” Hasić

    Semir “Sammy” HASIĆ (b. 1964) began playing music at the age of 6. He attended music school in Zenica and studied theoretical and pedagogical direction under professor Vinko Kreitmeyer in Sarajevo, eventually completing his studies of composition and conducting in Würzburg where he became professor of composition and conducting.