Traditional Croatian Music
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.
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.
'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