Jovana Backovic


Jovana Backovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia where she graduated classical composition from the Faculty of Music Art in 2006. While studying for degree in composition, she founded, composed for and led the ensemble ‘Arhai’ in Belgrade since 1998, and their debut album ‘Mysterion’ was released in 2006 on the Serbian national label PGP. In its Serbian incarnation Arhai was a ten-piece electro-folk orchestra that developed a fusion of traditional music from the Balkan region with ambient sounds and jazz-influenced improvisation, using classical flute, ‘cello, piano, electric guitar, bass and percussion/drums, along with a trio of female singers.

As a UK resident Jovana continued to create music under the name ArHai.  She also began her collaboration with British folk guitarist and tambura-player Adrian Lever and developed the current live performance format that combines cinematic fusion of multilayered vocals with tambura, dumcimer, tarabuka and electronics. This collaborative work was generously supported by Arts Council of England in 2013.

Aside from her contemporary classical works, Jovana mainly composes music for theatre, as well as feature and documentary movies.   Her current interest lies within the field of electro-acoustic music and live improvisational performance – exploring the process of the creation and development of individual music identity through improvisation and the use of technology. Jovana has completed her PhD thesis at University of East Anglia  in 2014, with the subject ‘Between Two Words: Approaching Balkan oral tradition through the use of technology as compositional and performance medium’.


Composer Website