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Traditional Croatian Music

Updated on May 30, 2013

Music Influenced by the East and the West

Croatia is a country with wealthy cultural heritage which is mostly shown in Croatian folk music.

The culture of Croatia has roots in a long history: the Croatian people have been inhabiting the area for fourteen centuries, but there are important remnants of the earlier periods still preserved in the country.

The music of Croatia, like the country itself, has three major influences: the influence of the Mediterranean especially present in the coastal areas, of the Balkans especially in the mountainous, continental parts, and of central Europe in the central and northern parts of the country.

If you are not familiar with regions of Croatia, visit Taste of Croatia featuring video clips of different parts of Croatia and 16 traditional recipes.

Songs & Dances From Croatia
Songs & Dances From Croatia

The music of Croatia is rich and diverse. The Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble provides the colorful harmonics, chord progressions and unusual rhythmic structure of the melodies for which this region is known. Each stringed instrument: brac, bugarija, bisnerica and berde, adds its own unique ornamentation to this wonderful regional folk music. The musical vibrations and waves make me want to dance and improvise a kolo across the dance floor.

 

Klapa - Traditional a Cappella Singing

Sensation of Dalmatia and Mediterrane

The klapa music is a form of a cappella singing. The word klapa translates as "a group of people" and traces its roots to litoral church singing. The motifs in general celebrate love, wine (grapes), country (homeland) and sea. Main elements of the music are harmony and melody, with rhythm very rarely being very important.

A klapa group consists of a first tenor, a second tenor, a baritone, and a bass. It is possibe to double all the voices apart from the first tenor. Although klapa is a capella music, on occasion it is possible to add a gentle guitar and a mandolin (instrument similar in appearance and sound to tamburitzas).

Klapa tradition is still very much alive, with new songs composed and festivals held. Many young people from Dalmatia treasure klapa and sing it regularly when going out eating/drinking. It is not unusual to hear amateura sing klapa music on the streets in the evenings over some food and wine.

It is usually composed of up to a dozen male singers singing very harmonic tunes. In recent times, female vocal groups have been quite popular, but in general male and female groups do not mix.

Traditional meets modern

Tamburitza - Traditional String Instrument

Instrument that became popular worldwide

Tamburitza (tamburica, diminutive of tambura) music is a form of folk music that involves these and related string instruments. It became increasingly popular in the 1800s, and small bands began to form, paralleling similar developments in Russia, Italy and the Ukraine.

The main themes of tamburitza songs are the common themes of love and happy village life. Tamburitza music is primarily associated with the northern, Pannonian part of the country. It is sometimes said that the first sextet of tambura players was formed by Pajo Kolaric of Osijek in 1847.

Traditional tamburitza ensembles are still commonplace, but more professional groups have formed in the last few decades. These include Zlatni dukati and Ex Panonia, the first such groups, Zdenac, Slavonske Lole, Berde Band and the modernized rock and roll-influenced Gazde.

Folk Music from Croatia
Folk Music from Croatia

'Good Croatian folklore music is very difficult to find in America. And this album by Veritas is extremely accurate to the original tombura music I remember as a child.'

'Great CD, played it over and over. Kept the toes tapping.Best tumbura music.'

 

Gusle - Different Kind of Music!

The gusle music is played on this traditional string instrument. It is primarily rooted in the Croatian epic poetry with emphasis on important historical or patriotic events. It is the traditional instrument of inland Dalmatia and of Herzegovina, the part of Bosnia and Herzegovina with predominant Croatian population.

Gusle players are known for glorifying outlaws such as hajduks or uskoks of the long gone Turkish reign or exalting the recent heroes of the Croatian War of Independence. Andrija Kacic Miosic, a famous 18th century author, had also composed verses in form of the traditional folk poetry (deseterac, ten verses). His book Razgovor ugodni naroda slovinskog became Croatian folk Bible which inspired numerous gusle players ever since.

As for contemporary gusle players in Croatia, one person that particularly stands out is Mile Krajina. Krajina is a prolific folk poet and gusle player who gained cult status among some conservative groups. There are also several other prominent Croatian gusle players who often perform at various folk-festivals throughout Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Tell me what you think of Croatian traditional music by itself and mixed with modern music.....

This lens can be found at The Isle of Squid

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    • SmallBusinessId profile image

      SmallBusinessId 4 years ago

      But you've got to go to a kafana if you really want to enjoy it!

    • madoc profile image

      madoc 4 years ago

      It would be a wonderful place to study how people make music (ethnomusicology!)

    • SMW1962 LM profile image

      SMW1962 LM 4 years ago

      NIce music! I've never heard this before.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 5 years ago

      Very interesting - I have a friend who attends Croatian music festivals.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      This is all very interesting. Some of the music reminds me of American Swing.

    • OldStones LM profile image

      OldStones LM 5 years ago

      I love the Klapa music. I enjoyed reading and listening to your lens. It makes me want to visit Croatia again.

    • PRONTOMEDIA LM profile image

      PRONTOMEDIA LM 5 years ago

      Croatia is amazing country.Thanks for awesome lens.

    • Marciajane profile image

      Marcia 6 years ago from England

      Great lens and I've learned some new things. One day I intend to visit Croatia, my mum has been and tells me it is beautiful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      y people come from the Czeck Republic. listening to Klapa Bonaca, O, Ti Duso Moje Duse, and seeing the slides was very beautiful. Where can I purchase the music?

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      I'm working on the Herman the Merman quiz, and I wanted to give another shout-out to this lens :)

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Particularly like the male voice a capella singing. Blessed by a squid angel and featured on Me?!! A Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      helen6488 6 years ago

      Rare collection you have posted here.

      I m loving it

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed listening to so many different types of music. I liked the Gulse performer a lot. It reminded me of a performance I once heard of part of the Poetic Edda accompanied by Norse fiddle.

    • profile image

      termit_bronx 6 years ago

      I like croatian music a lot, especially dalmatian music! I like the song "Da te mogu pismom zvati".

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image
      Author

      Mihaela Vrban 6 years ago from Croatia

      @Petstrel LM: Glad you like Croatian music! :)

    • Petstrel LM profile image

      Petstrel LM 6 years ago

      Great lens and great music!

    • BuildABetterMouse profile image

      Steve and Annette 6 years ago

      Very interesting lens - thank you.

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 6 years ago

      What an awesome lens! It's great to learn a bit about the folk music of Croatia.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      you know I love this lens. I'm featuring it on my new fan-club thank-you lens - so - thank you!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This is wonderful. I really enjoyed listening to the Traditional Croatian Music while reading and learning more about it. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      Great lens. When I was growing up I danced with the Duquesne Jr. Tamburitzans near Pittsburgh, PA. I loved it and have so many great memories.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Of COURSE I love this lens. I have the Bulgarian form of the gusle, a gadulka my bandmate Ken built for me. The music we play on it is cheerier than your clips! I love Croatian singing and I love Croatian embroidery and I wish I could visit.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a really nice lens you put together - great to get to know a little about Croatian music. I love to travel and hopefully will get a chance to visit Croatia some day!

    • Home Interior D profile image

      Home Interior D 7 years ago

      I'm very much a fan of music from your area of Europe. For many years I've listened to some fantastic Eastern European groups and this lens has introduced me to even more! Great lens and thank you.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 8 years ago from Australia

      Love a Capelle, I am a singer so I really appreciate the harmonies. lovely to hear different music. Thanks for showing us. 5* and a fave!

    • profile image

      QueSea 8 years ago

      Very interesting. I haven't had a chance to visit Croatia and it is only through opportunities like this that I will have a chance to learn. Thank you.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 8 years ago

      Loved this lens! Adored the videos - bookmarking to come back and listen again - and lensrolling to Instrumentally Speaking lens. Good job!!!

    • Pixelrage LM profile image

      Pixelrage LM 8 years ago

      Awesome, I've featured this one on squidoo.com/groups/croatia too ;) Please keep in touch whenever you make any new HR lenses!!

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 8 years ago

      I'm ready to dance now!

    • Angelina Howard profile image

      Angelina Howard 8 years ago

      Beautiful music. I like this lens. And many congratulaitons!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I love to learn about your culture. You do a wonderful job presenting it!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      This is beautiful, like all of your lenses. Excellent work! 5* for making me dance around the room to Miroslav Skoro's toe-tapping music

    • profile image

      ChristiannaGarrett-Martin 8 years ago

      It is wonderful music! ~ Many congratulations on your Giant Squid status! :)

      Christianna

    • OldGrampa profile image

      OldGrampa 8 years ago

      Interesting stuff, I had never heard this before. Thank you for sharing it!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 8 years ago

      I've always loved Dalmatian music, so I have something to listen to on this lens of yours... :)

      Congratulations on becoming a Giant & looking forward to see more of your lenses about Croatia!

    • profile image

      dandepp 8 years ago

      Never really knew what Croatian music was all about but now I think I have it down! Another great lens - you keep educating me on how to do squidoo right! 5 stars

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 8 years ago from Edinburgh

      Nice lens. You totally add a piece about the Eurovision Song Contest! I really like Eastern European music :)

    • EelKat13 profile image

      EelKat13 8 years ago

      Thanks for joining my Music Lovers United group. I'm adding this one as a featured lens on the front page.

    • MatCauthon profile image

      MatCauthon 8 years ago

      I play an instrument similar to the one in the intro. It's called a banduria. Twas a long time ago.

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      P.S.: Congrats on your new giant squidomness!!! Excellent work! Linda

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      The joy of sharing music erases the language and culture barriers, even knowing nothing about Croatia, I enjoy this music. Thanks for sharing and educating. Linda

    • profile image

      dkdaniel 8 years ago

      Music is the universal language, is it not? In a world where so many people get their information about other cultures from history books and television, you offer a window into a beautiful country and culture beyond politics and wars. Nicely done, fantastic lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Ah, the perfect lens to complete my 'visit' of Croatia today. Your lens is absolutely delightful. 5*****

    • TheInfamous7 profile image

      TheInfamous7 8 years ago

      Ah my fellow chef was one step ahead of me..

      This is indeed an excellent Lens..i learnt something about a music i knew nothing of previously!! Thats the beauty of Squidoo :-)

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This is very soulful music. You give a very informative presentation with your lens. 5*s

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