Croatia’s Mystic Sounds

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Program: #05-43   Air Date: Oct 17, 2005


NOTE: One of our most popular series ever is when we featured Croatian music from the Holland Early Music festival in Utrecht. Producer Nenad Bach has recorded two programs of folk and other haunting music from the tradition called "klapa" which are now generally available on disc, and we'll sample them this week.

You may reach the producer of this series, Nenad Bach, at:
Nenad Bach
Nenad Bach Music Ltd.

P.O.Box 145, Croton on Hudson
New York 10520

Phone: 914.271.7771
Cell: 914.557.6092

[email protected]
[email protected]

And order recordings at:
About this tradition, Jakov Ducik writes:
It is as if this sound emerged from the very bowels of the Earth, only to rise up and reveal the heavens.  This sound sings of a timeless age when the beauty of the landscape and the trials of history combined to beget music, not unlike the symphony of human voices that celebrated the birth of harmony.  But these mystical voices need neither instruments nor written music to summon the forgotten language, to commence reciting the songs to the souls of those yet unborn and to the speechless heads of stone that populate the facades of our churches.  This is a sound that is unafraid of its own silences, courageous enough to test fate as its harmonies ascend the walls of the stone cities along the sea.  It is a sound that embodies the promise of a new, undiscovered, mysterious beauty from beyond the boundaries of human knowledge, a beauty that hails from the cradle of creation. That is the song that is uncovering the threads of myth on the immemorial face of the earth in order to make an offering on the altar of history: the sound of verse and the beauty of Our Beautiful *

('Our Beautiful' are the first two words of the Croatian national anthem, and Croatians throughout the world refer to their homeland as Our Beautiful.)

 The men's ensemble is Klapa Sinj: For over twenty years now Klapa Sinj has been one of the most revered singing ensembles in Dalmatia.  Founded in 1982 in order to carry on and promote Croatia's musical legacy, its success has continued due to the extraordinary musical talent of its members who developed a wholly distinct performance style and even contributed a number of new compositions to the existing canon of the Klapa music.  Klapa Sinj's resume includes numerous albums and frequent concert appearances across the European continent.  Their crowning achievement came during the recent festivals of a cappella music in Verona, Bolzano and Prague where Klapa Sinj won top prizes.  Their repertory consists of a remarkable variety of traditional tunes and songs, and the joy with which they still approach each performance is audible in the beauty of the harmony created by so many disparate and singular voices.  Klapa Sinj's accomplishments are a standing testament to the fact that the magic of music can still, even if for a moment, change the world for the better.

The Klapa Sinj recording is CD NBM 119:

--A Beautiful Name.

--Oh Beautiful Marija.

--To the town of Sinj.

--An Empty Cradle on an Islet.

--I am Leaving My Darling.


--I Thought to Become a Young Nun.

--The Stars Tell Me.

--A Red Rose Has Grown.

--Thus is our Land.

 The woman's ensemble is Klapa FA Lindo: The joyful voices of the women who make up Klapa Fa Lin?o truly embrace a large swath of the Mediterranean: their harmony unites the heights of the skies with the blue depths of the sea. As their song bursts forth from the city walls, the entire world unfolds before them.  Music lovers are immediately seduced, and with their initial surprise turning to enchantment, they inevitably inquire about the singers’ place of origin.  That place is Dubrovnik, Croatia, a city whose special character and unique surroundings have endowed the singers’ voices with the softness of silk and the pungent aroma of the local flora.  Their songs seem sometimes to trace the outlines of the facades that adorn the streets of Dubrovnik, and sometimes to follow the flight patterns of the birds that gather above the city at sunset.  At another level, these songs guard Dubrovnik’s freedom, the same freedom that was once defended with the cannons whose barrels still dot the city’s ramparts and walls.  In place of the cannons, these Dubrovnik singers now use their voices to defend the city’s freedom, the very freedom that has in turn permeated their songs for centuries on end.

The Folklore Ensemble Lin?o was founded in Dubrovnik in 1965 and since then it has persisted in the singularity of its mission: to preserve and celebrate the invaluable cultural heritage of the Dubrovnik region of Croatia.  Its accomplishments over the last forty years have undoubtedly emerged as high points of Croatia’s cultural life and have contributed to the Ensemble’s international recognition.  

After it was founded in 2000 as a part of The Folklore Ensemble Lin?o, Klapa Fa Lin?o quickly distinguished itself at a number of prestigious festivals at home and abroad. ¬†In 2002 it won the Golden Token Award in the category of female folklore groups at the Verona Festival of Choral Singing in Italy. ¬†In 2003 and 2004, the Lin?o singers made the finals at the Festival of the Dalmatian Klapas in OmiŇ° where they won the esteemed Audience Choice Award. ¬†

The young women who make up Klapa Fa Lin?o participate in its performances both as dancers and singers.  Their vocal repertory consists of autochthonous Dalmatian folk tunes as well as of the more recently composed a cappella pieces.

The Klapa FA Lindo recording is CD NBM 118:
--My Little Boat.
--In the Field.
--It Was on Slova.
--The Victim of Love.
--As a Girl Was Picking Roses.
--My Darling Has Been Drafted.
--The Vine in the Crack in the Stone.
--Good Morning.
--My Mare, Light of My Life.
--Good Evening to You.
--A Little Boat.
--It is Midnight, My Dear Mother.
--In the Hills and Mountains.
--On Saturday Night.
--The Window is a Tree..
--This is Our Land.

CD Info

CD NBM 119, CD NBM 118

Note: The contact information in this episode may be out-of-date. You can contact us at this current link.

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