SKLONIŠTE (Shelter; Bosnian)

Sarajevo, 1996. The city is under siege. Sniper fire kills civilians every day. The citizens of Sarajevo run to avoid being shot.  They run for one thing: shelter. Sklonište (shelter) was spray-painted throughout Sarajevo to guide its citizens to underground shelters. The siege lasted 1,425 days.

Combining the experiences and motivations of international aid-workers and the surrealism of war; Sklonište – for live musician and video, is a 60 minute alternative reflection on the longest siege in modern warfare – 13,952 were killed. Expect the surreal, the tragic and the humour of a people determined to survive.

Sklonište was originally developed with support from the PRS Foundation and Arts Council England.


Original music/concept – Ailís Ní Ríain (England/Ireland)
Classical Accordion – Dermot Dunne (Ireland)
Photography & Interviews – Jim Marshall (Scotland/Sarajevo)
Poetry – Semezdin Mehmedinović (Bosnia/USA)
Patrick Ketch – Animation (Ireland)
Voice – Amira Medunjanin (Bosnia)

Sarajevan citizens who lived through the siege
Plus contributions Elma Serdarevic, Amar Custovic and Elma Jucovic


Images from Sklonište

Liverpool Skloniste13
Liverpool Skloniste12
Paris ’17 -27



11th September 2015 – Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
12th September 2015 – Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
20th October 2016 – FACT, Liverpool, UK
22nd October 2016 – Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds, UK
23rd October 2016 – Wainsgate Chapel, West Yorkshire, UK
21st November 2016 – Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, UK
22nd November 2016 – IABF, Manchester, UK
23rd November 2016 – Delius Arts & Cultural Centre, Bradford, UK
24th November 2016 – Stan’s Cafe Theatre, Birmingham, UK
9th February 2017 – The Irish Cultural Centre, Paris
17-19th March 2017 – Sarajevo Irish Arts Festival, Sarajevo, Bosnia
8th June 2017 – City University New Music Series, London, UK
1st February 2018 – Derry, IMBLOC Festival, Northern Ireland
24th June 2018 – Cork Midsummer Festival, Ireland
5 April 2019 – Sha Tin Cultural Hall, Hong Kong

Liverpool Skloniste12

Performer & Composer

Dermot Dunne has been a regular performer throughout Ireland, Europe and the USA. He took masterclasses in Belgrade (Serbia) during the war followed by studies at the Kiev conservatory in the Ukraine. His time in Belgrade remains a subject close to his heart. He is a much sought-after musician who specialises in contemporary music. He plays with various chamber groups and orchestras including the RTE Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra, Crash Ensemble and Concorde. 

Sklonište also includes prepared piano (Ailís Ní Ríain), violin (Elaine Clarke – Leader of the Irish National Symphony Orchestra) and the vocals of Bosnia’s leading Sevdah singer Amira Medunjanin.

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Ailís Ní Ríain is an Irish contemporary classical composer and published writer for stage. She was aware of the Bosnian war, some of its complexities and the international response to it while a student. In particular Miss Sarajevo, Bono contacting Sarajevo live from stage during U2’s Zooropa World Tour in 1993, the Warchild campaign, Zlata’s Diary and the cellist of Sarajevo – all things most people were aware of in Western Europe around that time.

However, it was in 2012 during her first visit to Bosnia that she first became interested specifically in the Siege of Sarajevo, how it was perceived in retrospect, what it was like for those who lived through it and how ‘peace-time’ had altered the city and its inhabitants. Ailís returned to Sarajevo for additional research in 2014 and for the Bosnian premiere of Sklonište in 2017.

Responses to Sklonište

“Ni Riain has composed a work which is serious, engaged, authentically post modern – but which still manages to be lyrical, melodic and deeply moving.”

“Powerful, poignant.”

“I was deeply effected by your piece…what a piece, I am still in “there”…

“Thought provoking.”

“Sklonište pays respectful homage to the people of Sarajevo, a timely reminder of how the horrors of war impact on innocent civilians. Discordant accordion lent a disturbing sense of immediacy ever truly evoked a strong response.”  – The Irish Examiner

“Weird, and beautiful.”

“I loved the black humour.”

“A very subtle and sophisticated way to approach so difficult a topic.”

“Beautifully paced and the music was just right.”

“Succinct, balanced.”

“Very, very moving and not what I expected at all.”

Interview with Urban Magazin - Sarajevo, Bosnia


Funders & supporters