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Šaban Bajramović

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Šaban Bajramović (1936-2008) was a Serbian gypsy musician and composer.

Bajramović was born on 16th April 1936 in Niš, Serbia. He attended primary school for only the first four years. When he left school, the street was his main source of musical education. At the age of nineteen, having joined the army, he left because of a girl; he was sentenced as a deserter to three years imprisonment on the island of Goli otok; because he told the military court that they couldn’t hold him for so long as he could survive, they raised his punishment to five and a half years. He survived, as he was a good goalkeeper in the prison football team. Because of his nimbleness and speed they called him “Crna Pantera”, meaning “Black panther”. Soon he forced his way into the prison orchestra that played, among other things, jazz (mostly Armstrong, Sinatra, and Coltrane) together with Spanish and Mexican pieces. He liked to say that he read 20,000 books in his life, most of them whilst in prison. He also said that the prison on Goli otok was his university, where he formed his philosophy, adding that a person who has never been in prison is not a person at all.

After Goli otok, his imusical career began. He made his first record in 1964, and went to make some twenty albums and about and about fifty singles. With his first major earnings he bought a white Mercedes and hired two bodyguards. The story says that he soon lost his Mercedes gambling.

Bajramović died of a heart attack in Niš on 8th June 2008.

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