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Music and Musical Life on Dalmatian Islands: Processions, Carnivals, Haka-musaka, Viroza party... Musical Traditions of Bol, the Island of Brac

Josko Caletta

The author is following and observing the (musical) life in the small picturesque town of Bol on the Dalmatian island of Bracˇ. The (traditional) musical life in the small urban and rural communities on the Dalmatian islands is still significantly present through a variety of traditional customs, both secular and sacral, and various vocal, instrumental and dance forms. Besides older layers of musical tradition, abandoning the old and creating, constructing and accepting the new musical idioms is the principal characteristic of their music making. The text examines the small community “double” life. During the summer there is a global life when the place becomes a typical Mediterranean tourist destination. The rest of the year local islanders keep their musical life, with local customs still alive. The author depicts those musical lives through ethnographic descriptions of the main local annual events.

Keywords: music and tourism, Mediterranean island's music, klapa singing, glagolitic singing.

Geographically and historically, the Dalmatian islands are integral part of the Mediterranean cultural area. Life, as well as the musical life on these islands has altered parallel to the changes of the cultures that dominated the Mediterranean area from the early dominations of the Greek and Roman cultures, to the dominance of the Byzantine and Ottomans, as well as various rulers, such as the Venetians (1409-1797), the French and Austrian. During the long periods of turbulent history, the Dalmatian islands were the final destination for numerous refugees from the broad inland regions, especially the Dalmatian Hinterland. The economic upheaval at the end of the 19th century forced numerous islanders to seek a better life overseas in the countries of the South and North Americas and Australia. Despite all the circumstances, the musical life in the small urban and rural communities on the Dalmatian islands is significantly present through the variety of traditional secular and sacral customs - various vocal, instrumental and dance forms.

Focus of my research is the musical life of Bol, the small community situated on the island of Bracˇ, the biggest middle Dalmatian island. I have been visiting Bol for years as a tourist, researcher, composer and director on the klapa music scene, which has become the area's new tradition. All mentioned made my position as a researcher quite a complex matter. As an ethnomusicologist, I look into the music as an integral part of a community's life, a recognizable musical feature formed and reshaped by the local society that most of the inhabitants identified with. In this case, I am not looking for one particular musical segment (musical form or genre) that will represent the islanders in the broadest sense. I am interested in the ways in which music repertoires are socially constructed and made meaningful within the particular island society. Therefore, when I address the musical scene of Bol, I will not try to diversify musical traditions according to their origin, content or age, but look into the matter of interaction, within its context - the daily life of the small community of this quite known tourist destination.

Although I have been studying the musical phenomena of the islands and the coastal Croatian regions for years, I am repeatedly astonished by the "double life" the local community of Bol on the island of Bracˇ leads. Tourism and ordinary living created specific symbiosis were space and place are evoked in rhythm and rhyme, symbolically re-constructed in sound and image. During the summer, the community functions as any other popular tourist (Mediterranean, global) destination, whereas during the winter, it lives a life of an insular community with all musical and traditional symbols of a typical (Dalmatian) setting.[[1]] There is not doubt that tourism deeply, rather indirectly, influences locals in creating their present (musical) lives. At a first glance, we might conclude that Bol is a community that gratefully enjoys the benefits of tourist economy and, during a tourist-free period, "gathers its strength" for new and improved offers for their future visitors. On the contrary, stated facts will show that tourism (read: material benefits), but no accompanying activities, are welcomed in the community. Their public performances mostly abound in resistance and resentment towards tourism that takes away their "peace" they can enjoy during the winter period.[[2]] On the other hand, creating their new cultural and musical images incorporates visible examples of the musical exchanges which characterize global mediascape influences that tourism brought to the island community. The function of this intricate process serves both, a sense of "home" in the sense of local and multilocal, global community belongings. [[3]] That is the reason why I have decided to present public musical practice, which, unlike private musical practice, tends to be more approachable, changeable, and easier to analyze.[[4]] The clash between global and local is present in each aspect of the public musical practices the inhabitants of Bol enjoy during the whole year. My attending and taking part in public events in Bol, as an observer or a participant, will attempt adequately confirm my hypothesis of the double life this community leads.[[5]] On the other hand, I purposely did not want to limit my participation to the "tourist" level that would give only superficial understanding of culture and the socio-economic ramifications of tourism. I am aware of possible division among researchers of music and tourism that differentiate native researchers vs. tourist researchers - "ethnomusicologists or anthropologists, who have access to 'real' culture, and thus an authoritative understanding of culture, and (ethnomusicologists) tourists who must content themselves with a superficial façade." (cf. LaBate 2009: 23) Public practices most often give a representative overview of the musical scene of a community, although conclusions should not be drawn hastily. I have learned to be careful during my past research of Bol's musical life that is one of the rare Croatian insular communities whose musical practices have been researched throughout the last century. Analyzing the works and findings of previous researchers on the music of Bol, who all had easier access to "real" culture than researchers from developed countries that prefer to explore "exotic" or "primitive" world cultures, one can see a variety of particular approaches, which does not explore complexity but particularity of music making in the community.

Music-making in Bol is mentioned in three works from the first half of the 20th century. Priest Antonin Zaninovic´ writes about Christmas carols (kolende) in Bol(cf. Zaninovic´ 1916). Bozˇidar Sˇirola looks for remnants of Glagolitic singing[[6]] in Bol and nearby situated Murvica (cf. Sˇirola 1935), whereas Matija Murko is interested in gusle songs[[7]] - players and the repertoire of narrative (epic) songs.[[8]] All the authors single out segments of a musical practice - the older, archaic musical practice. Numerous musical traditions, which existed at the time (e.g. instrumental dance repertoire, lijerica,[[9]] diatonic accordion, brass bands, tamburica[[10]] orchestras, church choirs) were barely mentioned. A complete insight of the musical practices of the time is comprehensible to some extent.

Sˇirola's report is the only research of the time that presents wider scope of interests and variety of sacral and secular traditional musical styles. His primary interest was Old Church (Glagolitic singing) that he believed still existed on the island. He was disappointed to find no Old Slavic singing that the oldest inhabitants at the time of research did not remember, but the masses celebrated in Latin. At first, he only listened to church singers, but on the recommendation of teachers and parish priests, "he invites chosen singers, mostly old men and women, and notes down their specific singing". (Sˇirola 1933/1934: 162) He travels through settlements on a mule and stays on the island for 12 days (Bol, Murvica, Gornji Humac) during which he writes down more than 140 melodies. Sˇirola gives a brief overview of what he regards to be the most interesting musical forms he has come across; he recorded liturgical and paraliturgical songs, wedding songs, working songs, love songs, carols (koliende) as well as the most popular dances of the time (ciciljona, kvatro pasˇi, vilota, bela rosa, polka, sˇotisˇ kvadrilja). He was especially interested in old epic songs sang in simple recital schemes, purely vocal but also accompanied by the gusle. (Sˇirola 1933/1934: 164)

Similar research has also been conducted in the last half of the 20th century. Reports from the 1960s and 1970s were limited to the older layers of tradition. These especially refer to the vocal data of particularly epic repertoire but also to the instrumental repertoires such as lijerica or diatonic accordion that were vanishing at the time. (Rihtman-Sˇotric´ 1974/75: 235)[[11]] In her work, Rihtman-Sˇotric´ concludes that "the tradition on the island is rather homogeneous, in forms and types and that there is a significant influence of Venetian folk music (to which this island and other Dalmatian islands have been exposed to for centuries T.N.) and wider Mediterranean area." (Rihtman-Sˇotric´ 1974/1975: 236) Comparing the musical tradition of the island, she infers that "the presence of common traits with the tradition of the nearest land and its hinterland cannot be denied." (Rihtman-Sˇotric´ 1974/1975: 238)

The dance repertoire, studied on same occasion, "was then inactive". (Ivancˇan 1974/1975)[[12]] Ivancˇan mentions numerous occasions on which people danced; he emphasizes dances during Carnival, church celebrations or feasts (fijere), dances during Christmas, New Year, Easter holidays and weddings.[[13]] Jerko Martinic´ studied the church repertoire in the 1970s and concluded that folk church singing had not disappeared in Bol despite numerous liturgical, economic, social and cultural changes. (Martinic´ 1976: 329) The style of church singing that the singers (kantaduri) from Bol pass on from generation to generation is unquestionably similar to Dominican choral singing. (Martinic´ 1976: 356) Martinic´ has recorded and transcribed monophonic and mostly polyphonic singing performed by older, male singers – leading singers at the time. The characteristic of the singing style are singing in parallel thirds in upper voices followed by parallel octave in the lower voice, slow pace of performing, rich ornamentation and recognizable cadenzas. Analyzing the transcriptions, because of the balanced and homogenous characteristics of its style, Martinic´ named this type of singing the Bol chorale. (Martinic´ 1976: 359) In the same time, he does not mention the more recent performing church singing practices (four-part singing) or any other changes in the repertoire.

An exception to all mentioned works certainly is Glazbeni svijet Bracˇana[[14]] by Jerko Bezic´. The author is trying to direct our attention to the more recent phenomena - instrumental groups, brass bands, and the repertoire of Dalmatian urban songs. Bezic´ considers them "the basic elements of the musical world of island local communities".[[15]] (Bezic´ 1974/1975: 307) Analyzing often the same tonal relations, which tend to be in a major key, Bezic´ concludes that folk music is often not the art of the people but practice, a part of their lives, a necessity and not a mastered piece of art. (Bezic´ 1974/1975: 303) Furthermore, it is interesting to notice that Bezic´ as well considered tourism an unavoidable element that influences the creation of the community musical tastes.

Indeed, the immense rise of tourism industry influenced the present Bol's life - tourism is the main source of income in modern Bol. It has also influenced many of the habits this community did not use to have. The period between Easter and the last weekend in September is completely devoted to tourists, who visit this settlement in vast numbers. During the summer, Bol sounds as any other world's famous destination. At first glance, everything seems to fit into the typical tourist destination musicscape. Tourism industry have natural resources (sun, sea, beaches), sports and entertainment (popular vs. "global" music) as a target for their oncoming guests. In the same time, local organizers organize some of the programs, cultural events, for their guests (klapa, fiera, KUD). Numerous restaurants with live music bands (taraca bands), dance clubs featuring international DJ sessions and open-air concerts of Croatian popular music performers (Gibonni, Oliver…) take place together with the series of classical music concerts and art exhibition organized by local tourist board (Bolsko ljeto).[[16]] There is something for every tourist who come to enjoy sun tanning, swimming at the beautiful beaches, snorkeling, diving, sailing, boarding at the Bol beaches.[[17]]

The focus of the research is aiming for the locals, for their musical world that has been shaped and reshaped in the last five centuries. The impact of tourist industry, today's main source of income, reflects on their musical habits. In the process of rebuilding their musical identity, music, especially singing, serves as a tool of resistance against impact that tourism brings to the community. "Why music, why singing?" one may ask. Above all, music makes tourism enjoyenjoyable, framing and accompanying the travel experience. To follow Seeger's ethnographical ective, one may ask "Why do the Bol citizens sing?" Well, tourism inspires them to sing for and against it, provokes them to tend their musical heritage preciously, adding new musical styles and genres in order to establish their musical cultuculture more accommodated and accustomed to the present, global musical world.[[18]]

wing to our modern life style, each person, community, smaller or bigger social environment can be exposed to various musical influences, the complexity of which is impossible to demonstrate in its entirety. However, I have decided to present descriptions of seven musical images that will try to demonstrate the key visible part of Bol's musical life, the musical life of the local community. I have chosen the moments, which I had the opportunity to observe or participate. The choice of the video clips is specific because of the place they were filmed; I attended the performance of the play Cimer fraj in Zagreb and I listened to klapa Braciera at the festival in Kasˇtela. This way I wanted to emphasize that the musical taste of the people from Bol has influenced other environments, especially because of their well-rehearsed and influential performances. Musical images have been ordered chronologically according to division of Bol community's "public" and "private" part of the year. The "private" part of the year starts when tourists leave, which is at the beginning of October (it includes Christmas caroling, Carnival and processions) and ends with Lent, when the hotels reopen. Interaction between the local community and tourists exists during the "public" part of the year, through organized forms of musical practice (Sˇusˇur, Krejonca, Braciera) and the closing performance of the season, called Viroza party. These distributions of the examples are, of course, not the only musical events that take place in Bol. I will not discuss the repertoire listened to in clubs or bars (during the year), music education in schools, activities and concerts organized by the music school, church singing during the year, or veras singing[[19]] still sang at authentic Bol weddings. I will not discuss the concerts organized by various promoters during the season, the repertoire of numerous vocal and instrumental groups, which entertain guests at popular venues during the season, the repertoire of Dalmatian urban songs sang at private (winter) house parties (komini) in different companies, etc.


BOL – Carolling (koliendanje) in Bol (5 January 2001)

Numerous carol singers (koliendari) crowded the entrance of the Dominican monastery in Bol on the eve of (uzˇezˇin) Epiphany. After they had sung the most famous Christmas traditional song (kolienda) from Bol – Istekla je iza gore throughout Bol households, singers came to honor their "spiritual fathers", Dominican priests that serve them for centuries. They sang the Christmas song Kad se Bog cˇovik ucˇini and kolienda Istekla je iza gore in front of the monastery where they came with the live lamb offered as a gift to the priests. The priests welcomed them and invited them to a lavish dinner. This dinner and gathering is the peak of the procession of carol singers, which used to start on the last day of the old year or on the first day of New Year. The caroling culminates on the eve of Epiphany. Late in the afternoon of that day, groups of older singers visit homes singing koliende and receive food and drink from their hosts in return. Nowadays the youngest, men or women go caroling. Although most of the singing groups wear their usual daily clothes, at least one group dresses as the three magi, to whom the upcoming holiday is dedicated. According to the custom, groups visit different parts of the town and meet in the Dominican monastery for dinner. The hosts offer to elder singers a good walnut liqueur (orahovica), traditional doughnuts (parsˇurate) and cakes, whereas the young and children get money. The atmosphere during the dinner is merry and the monastery echoes with songs. It is interesting that, for more than a century, carol singers (koliendari) have been keeping a diary of their visits to the monastery, writing the names of the singers, the food they ate and songs they sang.

Before midnight, the hosts, the Dominican priests, say goodbye to the singer, who then go to numerous bars open late into the night especially for this occasion. Fifteen years ago, Toncˇi Kukocˇ Bager, one of most striking figure of Bol's social scene, started a new tradition.

Bager's popularity among his townsmen can be witnessed every year on Epiphany, which is also Bager's birthday, when, after carolling in front of Dominican monastery, a large number of people come together in his bar to toast the host and wish him to make even more pranks in the following year. Performing at important public events, Bager has gained the position of a local clown, entertainer, who is indispensable at local parties ("fesˇta") and, as his townsmen see him, a representative of the local spirit which does not want to conform to tourism. (Sˇkrbic´-Alempijevic´ 2006: 191)

The long and unbroken tradition of carolling (koliendanje) in Bol is a characteristic of all islands and, to a lesser degree, the coastal area. In the melodies of carols (koliende) from Bol many elements of Italian musical tradition can be detected, especially in melopoetic forms with a chorus. (Bezic´ 1974-1975: 250) Choruses Gospodine moj and S vamin angel stoj from the carol Istekla je iza gore can be found in other carols from the Bracˇ area. The characteristic refrain line I litos ka' i do lita ovdje, na dobro van mlado lito do?e, in the aforementioned carols, is also very common refrain in various carols from different parts of Croatia. In his article in the magazine Sveta Cecilija, priest Anton Zaninovic´ melographed various Bol' carols melodies (Zaninovic´ 1916: 4-12). Due to this publication, carols from Bol have become widely known. Kresˇimir Magdic´ was the first to interpret the carols that Zaninovic´ recorded; he interpreted the carol Na parvi dan o' godisˇc´a, later performed by choirs and klapa groups. The author of this text (C´aleta), inspired by the described event, interpreted the following carols from Bol: Kad se Bog cˇovik ucˇini, Istekla je iza gore, Zlatna grana od orija, I litos ka' i do lita ovdje, with the help of the narrator Jurica Bosˇkovic´. The suite for a male choir Bolska kolienda was first performed on 21 December 2001 at a traditional Christmas concert in the Cathedral of Zagreb by the national folk dance ensemble Lado. The variation of carols was also written for klapa groups; female klapa group Disˇpet was the first to record Bolske koliende, which were also recorded by klapa Nostalgija. The mentioned vocal groups have been rewarded many times for their performances of Bolske koliende. Recorded and broadcasted, the performances inspired diverse amateur ensembles to include Bol's carols as a part of their concert (Christmas) repertoires. Popularity of the carols from Bol, rearranged for the klapa singing into the complex multipart arrangements, did not affect the original performances - to the present day koliende in Bol are sang in two parallel voices in an interval of thirds, without rules and in all possible combinations. The importance of the participation in the ritual was evident in the communication with the carolers. Bol's inhabitants welcome changes that their carols introduced outside the community. Continuation of their practice is one of the established markers that signify their resistance against the loss of their cultural identity "endangered" by tourism. [[20]]

BOL – The Bol Carnival (12 February 2002)


Everything is allowed on Shrove Tuesday! Modern Carnival has replaced a sequence of social and traditional events – dances (bali, socij or kavalkina) that took place at several locations in Bol from Christmas to Ash Wednesday (Cˇista Srida, Pepelnica) at the beginning of the 20th century. My host in Bol is Jurica Bosˇkovic´, a 22-year-old student at the University of Zagreb, who has come to his birthplace on this occasion, like numerous of his townsmen who do not live in Bol during the winter. Talking about the Carnival, Jurica says:

A lot more people used to be in the Carnival procession. Besides people, the most important were donkeys and mules! There used to be a dozen of them, sometimes even more…People would dress and adorn them, put socks on them…Everybody knew where to go, where to stop, in front of which houses people would offer food and drinks. In these modern days, motorcycles have become more important and the number of people has decreased. There are several reasons; all the children join Children Carnival that takes place on Sunday and usually do not feel like attending the main procession; there is also always someone in mourning. This year, e.g. two groups, which are always the craziest and most creative will not participate at the Carnival because they are in mourning. Nowadays motorcyclists gather and prepare their motorcycles for Carnival – they paint them and take off the mufflers. They are the first on the pier and play pranks. Nevertheless, when the procession starts, the older always make sure that the order is followed. They just look at someone and there is peace. The troublemakers leave the procession and join it when they calm down. /p piJure Karnevol is at the head of the procession; this year's inspirations are global events. The local Bin Laden is placed between the illustrations of the two WTC towers, hit in the terrorist attack on 11 September. Bin Laden's back are covered with wanted lists and 100 DEM bills. On the truck, which is carrying Jure Karnevol, there is a poster with the following sign: "Why didn't Bin Laden attack Bol? Bol's skyscrapers may be a bit smaller but they are closer!"

Unlike carols (koliende) where traditional music dominates, in the Carnival procession we can hear the music that surrounds people every day. I was amazed by the way the local people make fun of the music and use it to express their attitudes: they mock the music scene using masks, loudly playing the music they hate or use the soundtrack of modern movies for masked performances.

Figure 1. Bolski karnevol, 2008 (photo: Ivan Lozica)

Many current musical forms can be seen in the Carnival procession. A single trumpet player accompanies the funeral procession, which is mourning a reliable tourist currency – DEM. His presence is significant. Today, a trumpet player is a reminiscence of past times, when organized brass bands were extremely popular on the islands and on the coast. Before the 1990s, every public event, including funerals, was accompanied by brass bands music, whereas nowadays funeral ceremonies are intimate and reduced to one or more instruments with a completely different repertoire (popular songs called sˇlageri and klapa songs).

The funeral procession is followed by several cars decorated as music bands stating their opinions through the refrains of their favorite pop songs [Vuco band, Bolje zˇivim nego ministar ("I live better than a minister" T.N.)].

Jurica mentions that men usually dress as women and vice versa but that the number of girls who wear extremely erotic and provocative costumes (mini skirts, suspenders) this year surprises him. A tractor carrying Bin Laden in chains and George Bush holding a gun follows the girls. The choice of people for these masks is interesting – Nikolica (a mentally challenged local rogue), and aforementioned Bager – the owner of the bar Marinero, where most exciting and active actors in the events that take place during the winter in Bol.

Characters and social functions of previous Bol's generations are recognizable at the Bol Carnival; kapo di balo, kapo sala, sˇotokapo, tresoro - organizers of one-time held dances, are present at modern Carnival. During my frequent visits to Bol, several individuals have drawn my attention. "Kapo di balo of all events" in Bol is definitely Ivica Jaksˇic´ Puko, a local poet, painter and performance artist who has devoted his whole life to Bol. He is engaged in all secular or church events. Puko's most "visible" project is theatrical group called Multimedijalna putujua artisticˇka skupina za mentalnu higijenu, fizikalnu terapiju i brzu prehranu SˇuSˇur Bol (Multimedia Travelling Artistic Group for Mental Hygiene, Physical Therapy and Fast Food - SˇuSˇur Bol). SˇuSˇur performs exclusively Puko's plays. The plays this group performs are specific because of the current topics (such as sex, terrorism and, of course, tourism) they focus on.

Jurica comments on the procession and warns that at its end a tasˇtamenat (testament) will be read, in which everyone who has done something wrong during the last year will be mentioned. Jure karnevol, the main culprit, will then be burned on the Bol waterfront "for the sins people did". However, Jurica also says that it is not good if your name does not come up in the testament – as if you are not even worth mentioning. Puko and several members of his group SˇuSˇur, who have written the tasˇtamenat, read it at the end of the procession. The main topics of the testament were also presented in the procession – a farewell to the former German currency (DEM), terrorism and tourism.

Jure karnevol suggests "that a monument to the German currency should be immediately built in Bol, but before Rev. Stanko from Selca takes a dump since people from Selca are famous for putting up monuments." The report on terrorism is delivered by an antiterrorist coalition Buol 2002. They present diverse cases of possible terrorism in Bol, such as municipal terrorism, the terrorism of the hotel group Zlatni rat, the terrorism in the school, the post office terrorism, a terrorist husband, car terrorism, medical, mercantile, tourist and catering terrorism.

After Jure karnevol has been burned, the Carnival dance takes place in the hotel Elaphusa. For the last ten years, the visitors from other settlements on the island have been drawn to see the plays premiered at the dance by SˇuSˇur. In 2002 the group performed a play called Autenticˇni kulturno-umjetnicˇki program – Samer tajm ("Authentic Arts and Cultural Programme" – Summer time). The performance had three parts: a group recital Kratka povijest lazˇi (A short history of lies), recital of the poems from the book Samer tajm, "an intimate confession of a former (anonymous) playboy from Buol,[[21]] told through summer encounters with (mostly) members of weaker sex who came to visit Buol on the island of Bracˇ from various countries of Europe and the world" and a group recital Opc´a povijest seksa (A general history of sex). Puko, the main director of the play, (named in this play Tonino Gratakazˇa), recitalist, singer and an anonymous playboy, skillfully directs the play whose performers are of different age and gender. The music they perform is of various origin and character; choruses of popular hits and Croatian popular music translated into the local dialect, serenades from Bol and church songs as well as various international pop songs that "occupy" their space in the summer time. Allusions to their summer co-inhabitants are part of the reality that prominent individual leaders, authors of the performances cannot avoid on the great carnivals. Mockery of the long, crowded, summer time, entertain them during their own "private" part of the year.

BOL – the procession Priko poja (Across the field) (9 April 2004)

Figure 2. Procession Priko poja 2008 (photo: Jadranka Nejasˇmic´)

Krizˇu sveti, krizˇu blagi![[22]] loudly and hoarsely sing besˇtimaduri,[[23]] men who are following the cross carrier in the early morning of Good Friday. The procession makes circular tour around the place and the fields. When there is rain, the procession takes a shortened route across the fields in Bol – around the church to the west and back. Even today, the processions are one of the most important (religious) events of the year for the people from Bol. Several processions that used to take place in the past have been reduced to a few processions, most of which are the processions on Good Friday. There are two processions in Bol on Good Friday: the morning procession, organized by the townsmen, and the evening procession, led by the priest holding the Holy sacrament.

The people of Bol restored the morning cross-carrying procession Priko poja in 1997, after an interval of around 40 years, and it regularly takes place ever since. In the past, most of the church processions were organized by brotherhoods – guilds, secular organizations that take care of church belongings. After WWII, all of the guilds in Bol discontinue their existence. A group of individuals, churchgoers as well as aforementioned notable individuals (Puko, Bager…) restarted the procession. The procession sets off at 7 a.m. from Velo crikva, a Dominican monastery (built in 1475), with all of the crosses from Bol (11 crosses). The crosses are lead by the big votive cross – veli krizˇ, weighing 19.5 kg and golubica ("dove"), a cross with the figure of a dove on the top, carried by a woman. A specific group of pilgrims follows each cross. Men, singers (besˇtimaduri) follow the votive cross, stop at arranged stands, and sing "Krizˇu sveti, krizˇu blagi", known as the main song for a morning procession in the Bol. A poet and one of those who act as spiritus movens of Bol's cultural life, Ivica Jaksˇic´ – Puko, introduced the custom of reciting the verses of the song before they are sung. Although most of the people, especially of older generation, know the verses after the first word is sang, this novelty has become widely accepted. I have decided to describe this scene to illustrate the musical and sociological way this community functions. Ivica Jaksˇic´ Puko, the leading person at numerous public events in the community, should be marginalized completely in this case and prominent singers should take on the central role. Contrary, that would seem "unnatural" to Ivica Jaksˇic´, as well as to the community, which has accepted him as the dominant figure in the town. To "make" the situation "natural" Puko assumes the dominant role, recites the verses and presents Bager as the leading singer, which gives the whole scene of singing religious songs the air of extravagance and quasi-carnival features.[[24]] Other groups that are praying the rosary or singing Madonna's lament follow other crosses creating the musical counterpoint.

Figure 3. Procession Priko poja 2008; Puko and Bager, leaders of besˇtimaduri singing; Jurica Bosˇkovic´ embraces the cross (photo: Jadranka Nejasˇmic´)

Music, i.e. musical tradition, secular and church, is one of the foundations of the communication in the community. The lives the people live are as different as their interests and professions. Therefore, communication through music – singing or dancing - proves to be successful, even in a small local community such as an off-season Bol. Adventures that may happen during the procession, Carnival, caroling or (public) dances, which are visited by most members of the local community, provide the basis for stories. These will be transferred through generations, maintaining the quality of traditional values at a level the community is satisfied with. Along with Puko, the videos feature other protagonists of most public events in Bol: Jerko Martinic´, the leading church singer, whose "vocal chords are especially appreciated" and Vinko Karmelic´, a 16-year-old organ player (now student of music in Zagreb), conductor of the church choir and organizer of many musical events in Bol.

N. K, a correspondent for the newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, writes about the procession in Bol on 10 April 2004:

The folk procession "Priko poja" has been shortened this year due to bad weather conditions. Domagoj Marinkovic´, , who waited several years for his turn, carried the votive cross (Veli krizˇ). His sister Hozelita Klaric´ carried the "dove" (a small cross). The people who sang the songs "Krizˇu sveti" and "Gospin placˇ" followed the young cross carrier. During Holy Week in Bol, besides everyday liturgy in the parish church, there was a celebration. The parish priest, Rev. Anastazije Petric´, managed to obtain a new Kawai electronic two-manual organ, which was blessed during the mass visited by many people and accompanied by the church choir. The first to play the organ was a 16-year-old Vinko Karmelic´, the church organ player and conductor of the church choir. Rev. Anastazije also declared that the church was awaiting the wooden stations of the Way of the the Cross, which were being restored. He also was starting to collect money for the new church benches in order to complete the restoration of the parish church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Therefore, he had already warned the people during baraban[[25]]that it was the last time they are allowed to bang on the benches. (Kraljevic´ 2004)

Local reporters often publish valuable information in their texts. We learn that cross carriers have to wait for their turn to carry the cross. We learn that there is a cross for men and a cross for women and that a new organ was bought. We find out about an exceedingly young organ player, a leader of the church singing in Bol. Another valuable information one reads about the baraban, the custom of hitting sticks against the church benches during Holy Week, which is one of the unique traditions of Holy Week in island communities. The report also mentions the names of the two songs sang in the procession. We have not read that the aforementioned besˇtimaduri sing first and then are followed by the women who go after the "dove". The songs mentioned play a part in the great tradition of folk church singing in Bol. When we listen to the way besˇtimaduri sing, we can notice the simplicity in the performance and the change of harmony. Which changes have occurred in church singing?

According to Sˇirola and Martinic´, the Bol chorale can be described as monophonic or polyphonic singing in the interval of thirds. The older layer of these songs still makes a homogeneous unity of a distinctive style. A complex melody and specific ornaments characterize the style of singing. Martinic´ emphasizes that church singing in Bol has not disappeared despite liturgical, economic, cultural or social changes. (Martinic´ 1976: 329)

The distinctive features of the singing he has noticed, distinguished rhythm and melody and the idiosyncratic ornamentation, led him to conclude that this type of singing will be passed on "from generation to generation." Martinic´ considers his contribution, the audio recording of the repertoire, a crucial archive for future generations. Some changes have occurred in the meantime; a two-part singing has developed into four-part singing, which is typical for modern klapa singing style. Modern singers (including women, which Martinic´ does not mention, like other researchers of the traditional church singing) tend to simplify the melodies, which makes them more and more similar to the styles of singing of other island and coastal parishes. Despite this, a great number of Bol's church songs are still sung by the church choir, accepted by the people who sing them at masses and important events, like the mentioned processions.

ZAGREB – Haka-musaka on Cvjetni Trg (Flower Square) in Zagreb (30 June 2005)

"Tourism" is derived from the Turkish word "tur", which means "arse". If we greet our guests with kisses but complain that they are a pain in the arse, tourism is not tourism but arse kissing.[[26]]

(from the play Cimer fraj)

Figure 4. Haka-musaka in Zagreb, 2005 (photo: Zdenka Krunic´)

Parvo u ime Bozˇje![[27]]

…echoes Andro's command on the half-full Square (Cvjetni trg) in Zagreb, in the early summer morning. A group of around 20 men, aged 10 to 60, stripped to the waist, rhythmically recites the verses in a strange island dialect and move according to the prepared choreography. The ritual ends with the loud chanting of the slogan: evo ti ga na – Ha![[28]]

We have just seen a warm-up of the people from Bol before their performance at Eurokaz, a prestigious theatre festival, which, for the 19th time, takes place in Zagreb. After the final shout they all cheerfully head towards the theatre Kerempuh and comment on their performance: "It has echoed so well among these buildings! We did it! We haven't 'hacked' so well for ages!" An accidental passer-by might get an impression that these young men have just achieved their dream although they still have to perform in the theatre. Many random onlookers were not sure what had just happened or who they had seen. That cheerful group was the people from Bol, all members of SˇuSˇur.

Drugo u ime Bozˇje![[29]]

As I mentioned before, SˇuSˇur is the name of an amateur theatre group with an impressive number of actors, singers and dancers of all ages. The founder and exclusive manager of the Multimedia travelling artistic group for mental hygiene, physical therapy and fast food is the referred lucid multimedia artist Ivica Jaksˇic´ Cˇokric´, called Puko. In an interview for Vjesnik Kruno Lokotar gives a very interesting description of Puko: "Ivica Jaksˇic´ Puko is an artist versatile as a Swiss army knife, an optimist who is not deprived of realism, satire or joy of the world and in his heart has – Bol."[[30]] In the same conversation, Jaksˇic´ defines himself and the group he has formed:

… The reason I have survived is the fact that I am not an institution: in Bol, Split and certainly not in Zagreb. I am no cultural or political institution, although I deal with politics and culture. Institutions are sluggish, inefficient and you do not know which is worse, the governmental or non-governmental ones. I am an individual, perhaps a strong individual… I do not work alone (alone always goes with factor x, which I call the Divine spark), I work with people; several individuals which have their own personality, their mark (timbre). On these principles the group I run functions: Multimedijalna artisticˇka skupina za mentalnu higijenu, fizikalnu terapiju i brzu prehranu SˇuSˇur Bol (Multimedia artistic group for mental hygiene, physical therapy and fast food SˇuSˇur Bol). With the group of 1-40 members or more (depending on the project) I have (we have) created 30 carnivals (political theatre), around 15 street performances (mental hygiene, physical therapy and fast food…), e.g. moving the beach Zlatni rat out of the reach of bureaucracy, Viroza[[31]] party (jumping into the whirlpools a catamaran makes while sailing) and a trilogy from 2000-2004: Gujin rode, Svi smo mi judi and Apokalipsa (a modern folk mystery play).[[32]]

The origins of his activities Jaksˇic´ traces in his lifelong participation at the Bol Carnival. Although his group has been writing the texts of the testaments read at the end of carnival processions, and organizing other events related to Carnival for more than 30 years, its official start was in 1988. This was the year where the group got its current (official) name: Multimedia travelling artistic group for mental hygiene, physical therapy and fast food SˇuSˇur. The group is especially proud of their trilogy of modern folk mystery plays Gujin rode, Svi smo mi 'judi and Apokalipsa in which they reinterpret introductory, central and the final scene of the New Testament. Although at first glance it may seem that the central figures of the plays are Jesus Christ, St. John the Baptist and Judas, the plays tackle the problems of everyday life and its social, economic and political background. The group drew public attention with the play Cimer fraj (Free rooms - vacancy). A critic at Eurokaz describes this play and "theatre" as "the place of social and artistic subversion…in which the theatre ignorance of the actors is being played upon, but which also expresses criticism towards the theatre itself, their ignorance and amateur insecurities." (

Figure 5. Haka-musaka in Cimer Fraj, Bol 2004 (photo: Josˇko Egekher)

Tako lipo, tako dobro, u ime Boga, dobro[[33]]

About the beginnings of the group's theatrical activities Puko says:

I have completed the Bible theme and needed to move on. I have decided to return to the early beginnings of my work and tourism in general, to the song "Cimer fraj", which I wrote with An?elo Karnincˇic´ 25 years ago. I have finished what I had started, used some old songs and researched into the origins of tourism in Croatia which started in 1948, when Informbiro was founded. I am not joking; Pansion Vidosˇevic´ in Bol was nationalized in that year, which marked the beginning of the hotel group Zlatni rat. Former anglers are modern hackers; fishing net is the modern internet. From anglers to hackers, that is my story.

A krok[[34]] opera Cimer fraj is a comic farce, which mocks the world and human weaknesses, especially greed for money and bad consequences of the earnings from tourism: it tackles all possible reasons for "selling one's soul to the devil". The farce gives a brief and clear overview of how tourism develops in Croatia using the hotel as the symbol of the development: hotel Slavija in former Yugoslavia, hotel Croatia in the independent republic of Croatia and hotel Europa in the EU. It abounds in ideologies, mythologies and archetypes of human communication and ambitions.[[35]] The text of the play is written in Bol dialect, like other Puko's works, and draws many parallels with other world languages. Unpretentious, simple and humorous costumes and theatrical scenery use the elements of local culture (reminiscence of socialism, hauling out the fishing net) but also evoke the elements of other cultures (Maori dance) constantly referring to current media reporting. The musical forms of Jaksˇic´'s works are compilations (potpourri) of numerous popular songs refrains, with no apparent connection. There are two basic methods of composition that he employs, one-adding the text in local Bol dialect to the melody of a popular foreign song and two-making humorous and ironic textual interventions in the original text of a national popular song. There are also many quotations of Bol traditional songs in Jaksˇic´'s work, especially from church folk songs. During the years, Jaksˇic´ worked with many musicians but, as he proudly points out, he is the author of his music. Quality and performance were improved when klapa Braciera was formed. All members of this singing group (klapa) are also members of SˇuSˇur so their singing acts were included in repeat performances of the plays. In the play Cimer fraj, apart from the song about Bol, Braciera performs the song "Apartman mit frustuck", Jaksˇic´'s interpretation of a well-known klapa song "Milki pod prozor."[[36]]

The play's grand finale, its most important part, is the Maori dance Haka-musaka. Nowadays the whole world can be a source of inspiration for curious men like Jaksˇic´. In the interview with Suzana Marjanic´, Jaksˇic´ reveals how broad his interests are and describes how he obtains information and draws conclusions:[[37]]

I consider the Maori dance to be the most representative example of a folklore dance. It is so magical and powerful I was stunned the first time I saw its live performance. I knew then that I was going to use it in my theatre. I have read all relevant studies on the dance available on the Internet some books and I have also learned some information by word of mouth. I found out the basics: the dance is derived from their hunting and defence tradition; they needed to hunt and eat but also to defend themselves against their enemies. Since we have the tradition of fishing, I have just changed some elements, like the words "Kamate Kamate Ka Ora! Kamate Kamate Ka Ora!" The old chief who is dying is saying "Kamate!" (I will die) and the young chief-to-be the words: "Ka Ora." (I will live). The following lines are: "You hairy black man, the sun is shining; today is a beautiful day for dying. The old chief is going, the young chief is coming, and the hairy are the enemies." "All Blacks", a New Zealand rugby team, performs the Maori dance (Haka) before each game. After extensive research, I have discovered that the manager of the team for eight years was from Supetar on the island of Bracˇ. We have also met several people from Bracˇ who live in New Zealand and it would be wonderful if we could make a cultural bridge between Bracˇ and New Zealand – perform our "Haka" to them and watch them dance the original "Haka" in Bol. It would also be very interesting to dance together and study the differences, which would have come up.

I have also written the book "Cimer fraj" but, unfortunately, have not published it yet. As you can see in the play, it is about tourism but I also write about the Maori in a comic way; I humorously falsify the history, writing how the Maori are actually people from Bracˇ who went to colonize New Zealand.

In our version of "Haka" we evoke the old way of thrusting a fishing net into the sea so there are no new words. We use the phrases shouted when throwing the fishing net into the sea and signals for pulling it out: "Parvo u ime Bozˇje!" (the first cord is down), "Drugo u ime Bozˇje!", etc. and "Tako lipo, tako dobro u ime Boga dobro!" as the signal for the beginning. At the end of the play, we rhythmically recite "Kamare kamare cimer fraj",[[38]] translated and interpreted words of the Maori "Haka".

The biggest problems in his work with SˇuSˇur Puko ascribes to its size and diversity; during the summer, the group can rarely perform. He describes the problem he had during their performance at the Eurokaz festival:

"SˇuSˇur (Bol)" consists of people aged between 11 and 80. Some of them work as shift managers and had to be at work the day after the performance. The performers included a manager of a hotel, deputy mayor and waiters from a hotel who hardly get a day off. Around seven or eight of them had to leave immediately after the performance; they took a midnight bus to catch the early morning ferry and get to work on time. "Tovarec´a muzika" from the island of Sali could not appear at the festival because they all (around 30 of them) work on the island of Kornati during the summer. Therefore, we can perform only during the winter.

BOL – Bolska fiera (Our Lady of Snow feast) (5 August 1999)

Figure 6. KUD "Krejonca" – Bol Folklore Night 2006 (photo: KUD "Krejonca" archive)

It is the 5th of August 1999, the peak of the tourist season. In front of the parish church (Molo crikva)[[39]] a lot of people have gathered to witness an unusual event; a group of costumed men have put a demijohn in the centre of the circle and started to dance kolo (circle dance). The dance is of open type. The leader of the dance starts a song and other dancers answer in responsorial unison.[[40]] Dancers have their hands on the belt and the leader holds a bandanna in his lifted arm.[[41]]

There are several unusual things about this performance. Firstly, the costume, very different from modern style of dressing in Bol. Secondly, kolo, a dance, more common for other areas of Croatia – Pannonian Croatia, Central and Northern Croatia or Dinaric Croatia. Thirdly, the difference is the archaic, monophonic (responsorial) style of singing and the melodies that are completely different from musical styles heard in Bol nowadays. If we also know that the dance we have just seen used to be performed on the feast of St. Stephen, we must ask ourselves: What is going on? The answer is simple. A group of enthusiasts from Bol decided to present their recently founded folk group performing a simple dance with the attempt of continuation of the old tradition of Bol. The folk group Krejonca, a section of the cultural and performing society KUD Jozo Bodlovic´, was set up in Bol on that day, 5 August 1999, to "preserve the traditional heritage of its ancestors and protect the authentic national treasure of tremendous cultural value."[[42]]

The group chose a perfect day for the promotion – the St. Patrons day. Fijera (the feast) is the most important event in small local communities and usually the day when the patron saint of the community is celebrated. The secular part of the celebration has different names in different regions: festa, fiesta, zbor, dernek, prosˇtenje. Most feasts take place in the summer. Nowadays it is common to celebrate feasts on the weekend closest to the actual date a saint is remembered in order to attract more visitors.[[43]] Tourist destinations always try to organize many accompanying events (festivals, concerts, happenings) to attract and entertain possible visitors.[[44]] Bolska fijera takes place at the peak of tourist season on the feast of Our Lady of Snow on August 5th. Although the feast is mainly of religious character, tourism has influenced the event. Many visitors attend the feast to entertain themselves so the local residents have intervened in the organization of one of their biggest processions ever. They have shortened and changed its route so the procession does not pass through the town any more. This move is also the symbol of their protest against tourism as an "intruder"; they cannot live without tourism but they refuse to share their "intimate" moments with the tourists.


Figure 7. Performace at the ?akovo Festival 2002 (photo: KUD "Krejonca" archive)

The folk group Krejonca started their activities on that day. Next to kolo from Bol, their repertoire also includes old dances from the island of Bracˇ (ciciljona, kvatro pasˇi, vilota, bela rosa, polka, sˇotisˇ kvadrilja) – urban dances of European origin that have variants in many Dalmatian towns on the islands, including Bol. Most of the dances are influenced by southern Italian dance traditions, which is not surprising given the fact that the connections between the two coasts have always been strong. The mentioned dances used to be performed in Bol from Christmas to Carnival until the 1950s. They were usually at more posts in different parts of the town. (Ivancˇan 1974-1975: 343) Such gatherings were called bali, sociji, kavalkine or munde and still take place on the island of Korcˇula. The forming of the folk group is supposed to replace former dance gatherings, with one important distinction – the group performs in front of an audience. Members of the group have revived the old dances with the help of older residents and members.

Figure 8. Reconstruction of the Bol's female costumes from the end of the 19th century (photo: KUD "Krejonca" archive)

All of the members helped during the process of reconstruction of the costumes they presently perform. Paintings and photographs, form the Bol families archive and examples of original costumes that are kept in the Ethnographic museum of Split, have also helped to restore the costumes. This also had to be done with the instruments. Nowadays, the chromatic accordion and the guitar accompany these dances. Traditional instruments that used to accompany these dances, like mijesˇnica or lijerica as well as the diatonic accordion, are trying to be restored by the group. Performing their (dance) tradition in other places on the island and throughout Croatia is one of the group aspirations.[[45]] At the beginning of their existence, they did not frequently perform during the summer (due to their working obligations) but today they regularly perform at Bolsko ljeto (Bol summer festival). Tourists in Bol can nowadays see a part of the local musical and dance tradition performed by a local folk group, instead of performances of folk groups from Split.

KASˇTEL KAMBELOVAC – Henjueke performed at Kasˇtelanski ?ir (June 2006)

It is Saturday night at Brce square in Kasˇtel Kambelovac. It is also the second evening of the 8th Dalmatian Song Festival Vecˇeri dalmatinske pjesme called Kasˇtelanski ?ir. The atmosphere heats up, the auditorium is packed to the last seat and the concert goes live on the Croatian National Television (HRT). The festival evening Kasˇtelanski ?ir is a competitive concert where contemporary Dalmatian klapa groups interpret popular songs of domestic performers,[[46]] mostly those written in Chakavian dialect or those sung by popular Dalmatian performers.[[47]] This evening klapa groups do not perform traditional Dalmatian songs – simple melodies in homophone syllable usually sung parlando – rubato or tempo giusto.

Figure 9. Klapa Braciera, performance at the Omisˇ' festival 2008 (photo: Pero Zˇuljevic´)

Klapa and klapa singing are the terms that need to be elaborated; the phenomenon of klapa singing, multipart singing tradition of the coastal and island part of Dalmatia (Southern Croatia) is a continuing and relatively old phenomenon, which was pointed to by researchers and musicologist at the end of the 19th century. Over the time, the character, musical content, and style of the klapa have been dynamically modified, freely adopting new changes; the phenomenon that started as occasional and informal exclusively older male singing transformed into organized, all age, non-gendered singing. Nowadays, this organized form of singing, because of its manner of presentation, is perceived as a style of popular rather than traditional music.

The harmonization of the voices is typical of klapa homophonous singing. The melodic line of the highest voice (prvi tenor - first tenor), in traditional klapa song arrangements, is regularly followed by a parallel melodic line in thirds below (drugi tenor – second tenor). Singing in thirds is a typical characteristic of klapa singing. The third voice (bariton – baritone) line defines the third note of the chord. In traditional arrangements, the baritone cadence regularly progresses from the leading-tone degree to the dominant degree (VII - V). Contemporary arrangements of the baritone lines have more embellishments and passing notes. The melodic line of the lowest voice (baso, baso profondo – bass) features the harmonic functions of the tonic, dominant and subdominant, typically in root position. Technically, klapa singers express their mood by means of open guttural, nasal, serenade like sotto voce and falsetto singing, and usually in high-pitched tessitura. It is not always possible to draw a clear dividing line between the specific styles of singing mentioned above. A klapa ensemble can sing using a combination of singing styles depending upon their mood. The main aim of the singers is to achieve the best possible blend of chords. This is of primary importance to the prestige of klapas, in their competition to win audience support.

Contemporary interpretations of klapa groups differ from the traditional ones primarily in the harmonic structure of their interpretation: more than four independent vocals, free use of various chords in all pitches, unusual accompaniment and frequent polyphonic shifts. The difference is also visible in the rhythmical structure of the melody, which, unlike the free sung rhythm (parlando-rubato), has a firm, defined, two or three-stroke rhythm as its basis. It is a stressed synoptic rhythm used as at unknown basis in performances of klapa groups.

A group of singers dressed as anglers or sailors with white shirts over striped sailor T-shirts, red linen bands over dark trousers, captures the audience's attention. The program presenter announces a new group of performers – Klapa Braciera from Bol. They perform a song with an unusual title – "Henjueke". ( [[48]] Last summer that song was a real summer hit performed by local singer Gego and Picigin band. ( Both song variants (vocal-instrumental and a capella) have the text written in insular dialect.[[49]] Extremely motivated male performers are singing the tune that resembles more of an African than Dalmatian vocal music tradition.[[50]] Their performance was extremely well accepted by the audience and expert jury, which resulted in winning all the available prizes that night on the festival in Kasˇtela.[[51]] What is more interesting than the performance ritual and winning the prizes, is a reaction of their locals to this joint success. Live TV coverage enabled many to watch the festival and a large number of locals in Bol were up until late at night in front of their TV sets. Many have compared this excitement with the voting at Eurovision. In the next couple of days everyone in Bol was talking about the victory in Kasˇtela. The performers were greeted as real (sport) winners. The town of Bol had its true heroes, which they took pride in it for days.

How and where has such a successful klapa in Bol appeared from? Jurica Bosˇkovic´, the klapa's leader, said about its beginnings:

A group of friends have been singing together on numerous parties and growing up in Bol since their childhood and thus they decided to get into singing more seriously and founded klapa Braciera by the end of 2000. In 2001 we performed on a debut evening of the Festival of Dalmatian klapa in Omisˇ and won the first prize by the audience.

Explaining the reason for the forming of the klapa group, Jurica said that Dalmatian songs in Bol always surrounded them, but he did not say anything about the role he played in it. Jurica got acquainted with klapa singing during his studies in Zagreb as a singer in male klapa groups (Kadena, Sagena), leader of the male klapa group Petrada[[52]] and a founder and leader of female klapa groups (Disˇpet, C´akulone, Mirakul). With aforementioned klapas Jurica has been achieving significant results in the country and abroad for years now.[[53]] He has shared his knowledge and experience gained in Zagreb with his friends in Bol. Precisely that experience from Zagreb played a crucial role in the creation of a successful klapa group. On his initiative, klapa has established cooperation between the cultural institutions of Bol (Municipality of Bol, Library, and Cultural Centre of Bol) and the Festival of Dalmatian klapa in Omisˇ. He has also encouraged the cooperation of renowned composers and songwriters to make songs about Bol and Bracˇ and new versions of traditional songs from Bracˇ. Following the example of the Zagreb klapa events, klapa Braciera has initiated klapa events on the island of Bracˇ. Among others, the First Festival of klapa groups on the island of Bracˇ, klapa seminars and composer evenings of distinguished klapa songwriters (Dinko Fio, Kresˇimir Magdic´). All the aforementioned brought about numerous concerts in Dalmatia, Zagreb, Istria, Slovenia and Italy.[[54]] From its beginnings, klapa has been enriching the cultural life of Bol through its many performances.

Figure 10. Klapa Braciera, performance at the Zlatni rat beach 2007 (photo: Ivana Bosˇkovic´ – Ivicˇic´)

During the summer those are the regular performances at the cultural and tourist event Bolsko ljeto (Bol Summer Festival) as well as numerous performances in the hotels of Bol. Frequent solo and other performances by the klapa group have become, as Jurica says, "a distinctive and indispensable symbol of Bol."[[55]] Although they are mostly active as klapa singers, most of klapa members also sing in the church choir, SˇuSˇur, they are active participants of carnival organization and all the other significant social events in their town.[[56]] Their activities have also motivated others to work in an organized and serious way. Female klapa group Uzˇonca was established two years ago and is slowly following the example of its male forerunners.

BOL – Viroza party (1 October 2005)

The autumn has begun and the tourist season is almost over. The sunny afternoon attracted a large number of people to the waterfront of Bol (Bolska riva) and the pier Veli muost. Apart from the onlookers, there are different types of music (brass music, music from loudspeakers, local band) and pageant led by SˇuSˇur. Everything is ready for the final event of the season and the final party, so called Viroza party. What is Viroza party? An objective description would be that it is an "original celebration of a direct marine connection of Bol with the town of Split and the adjacent island of Hvar." (Franicˇevic´ 2005) Through this festivity, the entire town celebrates the connection with the mainland thus showing how important it is for the inhabitants of the island to live normally.[[57]] Still, this party is more than that. Viroza was invented by many times mentioned spiritus movens Ivica Jaksˇic´ Cˇokric´ Puko who promotes the practice daily and leads the party during its duration. The locals and later tourists as well have widely accepted his initiative – by jumping from the jetty on the Veli muost pier into whirlpools and bubbles made by ship turbines every time a catamaran leaves the port towards the island of Hvar. The first Viroza started in 2003 and ever since then it has been regularly held and celebrated. It starts on the 24 June, on the feast of St. John the Baptist – patron saint of the Bol parish. It is a day that traditionally presents the opening of the swimming season for the inhabitants of Bol and it lasts until the 1 October, when it is ceremonially closed with the Viroza party. The same event symbolically represents the end of the summer tourist season and the beginning of the winter one. "Upon introducing the new date into the local calendar and turning the usual into the unusual, it is necessary to make a distinction between this time segment from grey and inconspicuous ones." (Sˇkrbic´ Alempijevic´ 2006: 210) Viroza party is precisely that – a very conspicuous wild event colored with a completely different spectrum of colors. It is an excellent example of the creation of new traditions that, although imposed by individuals, remain a common property of the entire (local) community. It is a guarantee that this day will remain a significant date in the calendar of this community – a day that divides the summer from the winter tourist season; the season when the locals can finally have time for themselves.

A news reporter has given a very picturesque description of the whole event:

… Due to precarious small port of Bol the catamaran often skips Bol during the winter, just as it happened yesterday, so that the locals despite bura[[58]] and cold weather through their final ritual and unique performance on the Mediterranean Viroza party 2005 point clearly to their main problem – bad connections!

The program of the third Bol Viroza began on Friday when Gego and Picigin band bravely and professionally gave a concert for several hundreds of excited young inhabitants of Bracˇ during fierce bura. Guests of the SˇuSˇur group that has organized this event are also musicians from Brass band from Selca. The first Viroza party was visited by Poseidon, the second one by Caesar and a "special guest" of Bol and entire today's festivity was Napoleon Bona Partio (Napoleon farewell) who was played by Toncˇi Kukocˇ Bager, an agile caterer from Bol. Pope Benedict XVI, President Mesic´, Prime Minister Sanader, Vice Prime Minister Racˇan and others wired their (fictive) witty greetings. The hotels in Bol are still packed and it is hard to find a spare room! Tourists in Bol who gathered on the packed waterfront were thrilled by Viroza and its brass music, efforts of caterers, a well-known friendship dance Haka-musaka (a combination of Bol and Maori dance) and cancan. A traditional business sense of the locals in Bol has shown itself in successful sales of topical T-shirts, videos, hats, lighters and pens. The crew of Dubravka catamaran was given a healthy dose of red wine Plavac and a framed piece of graphics. Alongside dance, music and fireworks Dubravka catamaran set off for Jelsa at 17:20 and after that some 50 young and elderly locals of Bol led by Puko dived into the sea and swam into whirlpools! The program of Viroza continued until late into night.

Figure 11. Viroza party, 2006 (photo: Ondina)

In 2006 Bager is Napoleon who is painstakingly keeping an eye on the event. The procession of participants is approaching the pier whilst the Brass band from Selca (one of the last active brass bands on the island) is ardently playing marches. At the same time different sounds from loudspeakers in adjacent bars and from the official loudspeaker blend with shrieks from Haka-musaka which is about to start. Waiters are setting tables and white tablecloths on which they are putting catered food. During this time, the band (taraca band) is setting up the instruments ready to join in the festival with their music. The howling of turbines from the approaching Dubravka catamaran enhances the loud noise. Musically, the situation resembles a carnival where noises dominate over tones; noise dominates over the organized sound having in mind only one thing – the urge to chase away. Here we are chasing away the spirits of summer, the remaining tourists who have occupied "private" space of the community throughout the summer, which was on the one hand materially beneficial to it, but on the other hand, it was a nuisance. The report from Viroza party 2007 is a bit scarcer but it also shows the intense influence of this event onto its local community.

Yesterday's afternoon in Bol was amazing and the last Viroza of this season was attended by all inhabitants of Bol and also by tourists who were observing this to them unusual event with interest and surprise on their faces. For those who still do not know what this is about, it is a "folklore" which has been promoted by the inhabitants of Bol led by a multimedia artist Ivica Jaksˇic´ Cˇokric´ – Puko and his amateur theatre for five years now.(

As one can conclude from the above-mentioned, a new tradition is being born. With it, new individuals are born who will later on follow the steps of Puko, Bager, Nikolica, Jurica, Jerko, Kosta, Andro, Vinko and others. I would like to emphasize the important role of individuals within the music process because Bol is a true example of a community with influential generational leaders that with their activities support, maintain, reconstruct and develop the (music) tradition thus passing it over to the next generation.[[59]] The musical patchwork, accepted by this generation and then formed at their own discretion, has spread its influence far outside the borders of its local community. Similar notions could be found in the works of the colleagues that have interest in the islands' music. Ramnarine found that "…island boundaries are sonically blurred through the juxtaposition of various musical elements and through the versatile approaches of musicians to a variety of musical traditions and repertoires in which musical and aesthetic considerations override all others." (2004: 167) As Dawe said in the Introduction of the Island musics, "It is essential to understand the ways in which social and cultural boundaries are put in place, how cultural difference is constructed, how local culture interacts with the world beyond the horizon (the 'world system') with international and transnational process, social movements and new technologies. How are new configurations of time and space affecting a world view? How are people finding a space and a place to live in, in what some commentators have called 'a new world order'?" (Dawe 2004: 5)

While music tourism, in the name of progress and survival, as Gibson and Connell argue, "implies the construction of diverse and fluid identities on the part of performers and audiences, and for places and even nations" (Gibson and Connell 2005: 271) the case of Bol community clearly stands as a community voice "against" it, against global prosperity that comes with it. On the other hand, all of the above-mentioned makes this "suite of music and gesture collective activities" seem lcollective activities" seem like "un fleuve tranquille". "Give us back our old, tranquil life" – is the musical message of this community, whose singing represents typical (musical) life of Croatian (Mediterranean) islands. The music practice - continuity, reconstruction, innovation, improvisation, abandoning the old and accepting new music idioms, will surely find their recognition with new generations of Bol inhabitants as well.


  • [1] Musical and traditional symbols of Dalmatian, especially insular environments, have changed their specific traits in the last 50 years; they have abandoned archaic idioms (gusle, one-stringed Balkan folk fiddle), epic singing, untempered monophonic and polyphonic singing, and accepted basic characteristics of tonal musical style (mostly in a major key). (C´aleta 2001: 41)

    [2] Focusing on the local community's musical life it is possible to differentiate its understanding of the term "their" (our) music: the music they adopted from different sources, the music they play and accept as the music that presents them, the music they want to share with their guests, and music they want to keep to themselves.

    [3] As Ramnarine notes, the importance of considering musical exchanges is that they reveal the ways in which musicians (locals) are imaginatively and creatively involved in the re-conceptualization of what constitutes contemporary society. (cf. 2004: 154)

    [4] In the last 20 years, ethnomusicologists have intensively studied the relation between music and tourism. Tourism ethnomusicology (Stokes 1999: 141) has become a significant subdiscipline of ethnomusicology and of anthropology of tourism that focuses on ethnographic research into single tourist destinations, tourist musical phenomena, music tourism, professional tourist musicians and the terms such as authenticity, representative and local qualities, and nostalgia.

    [5] Anthony Seeger also regards musical performance as the main point of reference in the research into public musical practice: "History is a subjective perception of the past from the present perspective... Events do not occur simply, per se; events are always created and interpreted by the community it is developed in. Members of a community hence create their past, present and their vision of future, partly through musical performance." (Seeger 1993: 23)

    [6] The Glagolitic singing (chant) is a part of a Croatian Roman Catholic rite performed in Church – (Old) Slavonic language, written in the Glagolitic script. Sound recordings of the chant demonstrate different music variants native to the immediate location in which the recording was made, adopted from the traditional music of the particular region where the Glagolitic tradition was preserved or recorded. Its historical dimension can be investigated based on sound recordings and transcriptions (those dating from prior to the last decade of the 19th century being extremely rare), and through literary, iconographic, and archival sources.

    [7] Gusle songs – The repertoire of the long, heroic epic songs performed by guslari, the singers who accompany themselves on the gusle. The gusle is a bowed single (rarely double) stringed fiddle found throughout the Balkans. The gusle consists of a wooden sound box covered with animal skin, a neck and beautifully carved head. A horse-heir string, stretched along the entire length of the instrument, is bowed by a curved wooden bow also with horse-heir. Guslari, as a rule, are gifted individuals who are capable of committing to memory long narrative texts about heroes and events from the distant and not so distant past and to improvising new ones in decasyllabic verse (deseterac). (C´aleta 2000: 425)

    [8] Matija Murko reports on having seen several gusle players adding that there used to be a lot more of these players and instruments in the past. (Murko 1951: 50) He gives the names of players/singers (Pravdan Katic´ Gusˇte, Dinko Sˇimic´, Ivan Bezeric´ from Bol and Ante Barhanovic´ from Murvica) and provides interesting information about each person (literacy, profession, performance, playing skill and information on instruments). (Murko 1951: 178-179) Besides male gusle players, Murko mentions two female singers from Bol (Marija Cvitanovic´ and Vica Bezeric´) and adds that Vica is a very interesting narrator who tirelessly sings and performs many epic songs, including gocˇice (humorous and satirical poems). Murko also brings interesting information about the "bad" songs. According to Vica, they were love songs that priests used to ban when she was young and refused to grant absolution to the girls who sang them: "It is a bit different now... but the more women who know how to read, the more sins are committed because women write against each other". (Murko 1951: 198)

    [9] Lijerica, a three stringed pear-shaped fiddle, is a solo traditional musical instrument that is played to accompany dance, less frequently, singing. The musician (lijericˇar) usually plays the instrument sitting down, resting it on the knee of his left leg while forcefully stamping the entire surface of his right foot against the floor simultaneously drawing the bow (arket) across the two strings. The lijerica is still widely played in the Dubrovnik coastal area, in Konavle, on the Peljesˇac peninsula, the Neretva valley and the islands of Mljet and Lastovo. (C´aleta 2000: 427)

    [10] Tamburica, recognized as a Croatian national folk instrument, refers to any member of a family of long-necked lutes popular in Eastern and Southern Europe. All took their name and some characteristics from the Persian tanbur but also resemble the mandolin, in that its strings are plucked and often paired. The frets may be moveable to allow the playing of various modes. There is little reliable data showing how the tamboura entered Central Europe. It was probably brought by the Turks to Bosnia, from where the instrument spread further with migrations of Sˇokci and Bunjevci above the Sava River to all parts of Croatia, Serbia and further.

    [11] Dunja Rihtman-Sˇotric´ bases her research on studying "common and specific traits of traditional practice related to the tradition of neighbouring areas – types and forms of musical tradition of a specific area, which represent the traits of the local tradition in the best manner." (Rihtman-Sˇotric´ 1974/1975: 236) In this category she includes ritual and custom songs (wedding songs, carols), which have changed the least over time, lullabies, narrative songs, instruments (especially the oldest – gusle and plonerica) and songs with similar repertoire; love songs, songs sang while leaving for the army or faraway countries and songs sang for pleasure.

    [12] Ivancˇan always uses the past tense when he talks about dance events (People danced, bounced...). (Ivancˇan 1974/1975: 317-363)

    [13] He divides dance parties into those held in the open air (during certain holidays); social dances organised by political, cultural and educational institutions, fire fighting and other organisations, so called socijetade – events organised by groups of young men and so called kavalkine – dances people had to buy tickets for, organised by innkeepers. (Ivancˇan 1974/1975: 317-363)

    [14] The title translation is The Musical World of the Bracˇ Inhabitants.

    [15] One of the popular genres at the time was sˇerenade (serenades). Besides serenading to their loved ones, singers started frequently singing serenades during the summer and serenading "have become popular because tourists, especially women, love to listen to them." (Bezic´ 1974/1975: 309) Bezic´ also emphasises that the Festival of Dalmatian klapa in Omisˇ encourages serenades, not knowing that, around 30 years after his research organised klapa groups would "swamp" the island of Bracˇ and take over the role of serenade performers.

    [16] (accessed 15. 6. 2010)

    [17] As Gibson and Connell said "sometimes music is the main attraction, at others merely the background to fun; music may take tourists inwards in search of themselves or outwards to new heights of exuberance. Whatever uncertainties are attached to the future of the travel industry, it is this enduring feature – music as a social catalyst – that assures the future of music tourism." (Gibson and Connell 2005: 271)

    [18] If culture as a lived practice refers to our everyday world, it is culture as dead practice that becomes the "living heritage of tourism". Culture in this sense is to be distinguished from the culture industry, which includes museums, art galleries, film and various kinds of commercial entertainments, not least of which is cultural tourism. (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1996: 5)

    [19] Wedding (toasting) song sang in Bol.

    [20] As Mark Slobin would say "music harbors the habitual, but also acts as a herald of change." (Slobin 1996: 1)

    [21] A local variant of the town's name.

    [22] The holy Cross, the merciful Cross!

    [23] Besˇtimaduri are the persons who curse. It is also very usual for ordinary people to curse using God's name. Besˇtimaduri are singing but the manner of their singing while following the Cross has to be similar to the manners of the crowd that was following the Jesus in his last journey.

    [24] A prominent musician, composer and klapa conductor, Kresˇimir Magdic´, attended the procession and was amazed when he noticed a "little theatrical play". He said: "While, at one end of the procession men mock the God, women follow them, praying fervently".

    [25] Baraban is the local custom of hitting the twigs extremely loudly on the benches during the mass on Holy Wednesday.

    [26] Adaptated humorous introduction to the play Cimer fraj. T.N.

    [27] First in the name of God, the anglers' shout given in the past while fishing from the shore that signalled that the first cord of the net is in the sea.

    [28] It is necessary to present visually the body movement that this slogan symbolizes. The choreography ends with a very firm and loud strike of the left palm against the inner forearm of the right bent arm. It is a well-known symbol of revolt (disˇpet), disobedience and a usual non-verbal way of communication in small Dalmatian towns. The movement represents a male sexual organ that the disobedient party sends to the "oppressor in its natural size". According to Jurica Bosˇkovic´, this slogan and movement are a response to everything that tourism brings to the local man and the community; it symbolizes the nonconformity of the community with the situation.

    [29] Again in the name of God, a second shout, see 27, T.N.

    [31] A play on words – in Croatian whirl is vir, virosis viroza, T.N.

    [32] Jaksˇic´ also mentions other projects, such as exhibitions of paintings and sculptures: Ribe, sˇkoljke i rakovi, Ratni muzej, Muzej Zlatnog rata, Muzej kamena, Prozofoni (mirrors), Predzi?e ribarstva, Mape show, All that wind surfing, Bolske cˇunke, Genetski modificiran Zlatni rat and Sˇkoj, books of poems: Put od krizˇa, Cˇovik, Gujin rode, Zlatni kalendar, Samer tajm, Ex katrida (the column Pomet in the newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija) and ten unpublished works, as well as the songs: "Ima jedno misto", "Zlatna punta Zlatnog rata", "Tankesˇen her Gensˇer", "All that tennis", "Cimer fraj"... and a demo single "Jebe mi se za sve stranke".

    [33] So good, so nice, in the name of God, good, a third shout, see 27, T.N.

    [34] A play on words: krok is the name of the belt fishermen use to pull out a fishing net; it also combines two words: kro as Croatia and rok as rock.

    [36] This song is very popular and widespread; in northern Croatia its variant is called "Pod tvojim prozorom tecˇe vodica". It is also popular in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (it was probably brought to Dalmatia by a Czech bandmaster) so it is not surprising that Jaksˇic´ translated it into German.

    [38] Free rooms – signs on the houses that offer private accommodation during the season, usually written in different languages, T.N.

    [39] Molo is "little" in Bol dialect; there are two important churches in Bol: the parish church, called Molo crikva, and the monastery church, called Velo crikva (velo is "big" in Bol dialect).

    [40] This type of folk dance is called sˇetano kolo and is one of the archaic traditional dances of Croatia.

    [41] The custom of men dancing a kolo on the feast of St. Stephen in front of the church of St. Anthony disappeared in the 1930s. "The last time men danced was before the war. They would take hands and close the circle. One would start singing and the others would respond. It would last for two or three hours, then they would drink and continue dancing." (Ivancˇan 1974-1975: 344)

    [43] E.g. Our Lady of Angels is celebrated on the first weekend in August in Biorine (Ganga fest).

    [44] Timothy Cooley presents the most relevant study on tourist festivals in his work on tourist festival in Polish winter resort Zakopane (Cooley 1999). According to the author and from his scientific point of view, tourist festivals are rituals. On the one hand, they symbolically represent objects, beliefs or truths of significant importance for the community. At the same time, they are transformative and effective; as in other rituals, participants are transformed as well as the relationships of all members of performing groups. The continuum maintains the distance between the two opposing instances of motivation for performance: pleasure (ritual quality) and entertainment (theatrical quality). (Cooley 1993: 31)

    [45] KUD "Krejonca" web page proudly lists their most important performances, like those at the festivals Smotra folklora Dalmacije in Metkovic´, Me?unarodna smotra folklora in Zagreb and Dvorski i starogradski plesovi i pjesme in ?akovo. (

    [46] Klapa groups are formally differed through their musical and performance guidelines; they can be divided into traditional, festival and modern klapa groups. (C´aleta 2003: 245)

    [47] Polyphonic (spontaneous) harmonizing of popular melodies or hits is called klapa singing (na klapski nacˇin) today. In the same time, the term stands for the festival evening at the klapa VDP Festival in Kasˇtela, as well as the most organized and visited klapa web site (

    [48] When asked what the word Henjueke stands for, the singers from klapa Braciera answered: "It is a sort of a new word used by young people today to say that something is nice or they are having a good party. When you ask them 'How was it?' and they answer 'It was Henjueke!' it means it was a good party, a whole lot of things were going on! It is well-known that today's slang uses a lot of words taken from English." In addition, the meaning of some general nouns is changing. Hence, the words "a whole lot of things" stood before mostly for prosperity – abundance of food and drink, but today and in this case, it stands for a lot of alcohol, drugs, dancing, sex…

    [49] The trend of dialectal/regional styles of popular music occurred in various parts of Croatia in the 1990s. It was spread particularly in the parts that use Kajkavian dialect – there were bands such as Dreletronic, Zadruga, Vjesˇtice, then the bands in Chakavian dialect – Kvartet Gorgonzola, Sˇo Mazgoon, Kuzma&Shaka Zulu, as well as the wave of Istrian and Kvarner bands that, due to their mostly dialectal distinction, became known as a cˇa wave. (C´aleta 2003: 248) During the last decade a style under the common name island rock has been formed among the above mentioned music styles. All the rock or alternative bands that sing in local dialects and perform on (Dalmatian) islands belong to this style: Kvartet Gorgonzola – the island of Korcˇula, Gego – the island of Hvar, Stividen – the island of Bracˇ. Also the bands whose members descend from islands belong to it: Sˇo Mazgoon – the island of Bracˇ, Picigin band – the island of Hvar, Kopito – the island of Vis.

    [50] The singing style is more similar to the performance of the famous South African a capella band Smith Black Mambazo and their performances from the renowned Paul Simons' album Graceland.

    [51] They were awarded the first prize by the audience Zlatna kula Cambi (Golden Tower Cambi) for their performance, the first prize by the jury Zlatne Kasˇtelanske Trisˇnje (Golden cherries from Kasˇtela) for the performance and the first prize by the jury (Zlatne kasˇtelanske tresˇnje) for their interpretation of the song. The following year 2007 klapa Braciera won the third prize Broncˇana kula Cambi (Bronze Tower Cambi) by the audience for their interpretation of Gego's song Judi moji (My people) at the same festival.

    [52] Klapa Petrada was named after the local (Bracˇ) word for quarry and it consists of mostly young singers, students from the island of Bracˇ that study in Zagreb.

    [53] The above mentioned female klapa groups have won several prestigious awards at the Festival of Dalmatian klapa in Omisˇ. Klapa Disˇpet has won the most valuable awards at International (choir) festivals (Verona, Prague, Bratislava, Barcelona).

    [54] In April 2007, at the international festival XVIII Concorso internazionale di canto corale in Verona (Italy), klapa Braciera won the golden plaque and the first place in the competition of male folk groups.

    [55] One of the possible changes in the near future could be the recognition of Bol as a musical (klapa in this case) place. "The rise of music tourism took music from being simply an expected, or occasionally quite unexpected, adjunct of a holiday to a central role. As tourism has become organised around different music genres, the diversity of relationships between place and music became evident." (Gibson and Connell 2005: 14)

    [56] Klapa Braciera won the Annual Award of the Municipality of Bol for "extraordinary achievement and promotion of cultural heritage and its community" for the year 2006.

    [57] A morning departure from Bol and an afternoon arrival are just what the locals of Bol prefer. According to them, most of the inhabitants of Bol would not support an introduction of a larger number of direct (summer) connections that would bring many people from Split to beautiful beaches of Bol. They perceive that as direct exploitation of their natural resources without (material) benefits for the local community.

    [58] A north-eastern wind.

    [59] Paradoxically, most of their activities are funded exclusively by tourism profit, their "worst enemy".


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