Sunday, 28 July 2019

Klapa Samoana: Samoa is Like Dalmatia, and a Polynesian Village for Croatia? (VIDEO INTERVIEW)

July 28, 2019 - Did you know that there are many similarities between Dalmatia and Samoa, and that there are plans to build a Polynesian village in Croatia?

One of the nicest evenings of this crazy summer so far (and there have been many of them) was on the top of the island of Hvar for a performance of Samoan singing sensations, Klapa Samoana at the wonderful Hvarcienda

I guess in my head I had this image of some Samoan guys in New Zealand who recorded a viral YouTube video singing Dalmatian klapa during the World Cup, and they had been dining out on the experience ever since. 

I could not have been more wrong. 


One of the things that really impressed me about the boys from Samoa is how hard they are working on developing their cultural links - and language - with Croatia, and how they are also working hard to expand their singing repertoire with regional songs from all over Croatia. 

And the love for Croatia, and particularly Dalmatia, is real. In fact, Samoa is rather like Dalmatia in many ways, according to Christian Malietoa Brown, one of the two brothers driving the Klapa Samoana engine.  

(A more relaxed performance at Dvor Dubokovic in Pitve the following evening)

Christian kindly agreed to give me an interview after the Hacienda performance, and it was a lot more in-depth than I had been planning. The similarities between Samoa and Dalmatia included landscape, laganini lifestyle, strong Catholic traditions, emigration and remittances, the different traditions and songs of each village, and more. 

(Not every Samoan gets the chance to sing Proud Mary with The Professor)

And the more he talked, the more interesting he became. Another plan to strengthen the multicultural ties between Croatia and Samoa is to try to find partners to build a Polynesian village in Croatia. It would be an additional attraction for Croatian tourism, be a window to showcase Samoan culture and traditions in Europe, and one more strengthening of cultural ties between the two countries. Apparently, I learned afterwards, there used to be a Polynesian village in Primosten during the times of former Yugoslavia.

Rather than me keep talking, why not listen to Christian and his plans in the video below? For the latest from Klapa Samoana, why not follow them on Facebook




Thursday, 18 July 2019

By Popular Demand in Pitve: Klapa Samoana at Dvor Dubokovic Tonight

July 18, 2019 - After their fantastic performance of top of the island at Hvarcienda, Samoan singing sensations will perform in Pitve tonight at Dvor Dubokovic.

What happens when you have a friend on Hvar who was born in New Zealand, has his own restaurants, and then hears that the world's only Samoan Dalmatian klapa group performed on Hvar, and your friend missed it?

Get them to perform again, of course!

Quick post, as I just got word from Professor Frank John Dubokovich, Guardian of the Hvar Dialects, that his Dvor Dubokovic restaurant in Pitve will host Klapa Samoana this evening, with the concert starting at 20:00. 


There are shots taken from the unforgettable night at Hvarcienda, which you can read about in more detail here

I really enjoyed meeting the boys from Samoa, and I was really impressed by their efforts to learn Croatian culture and language, but have they gone a step too far this time?

Who knows how the evening will progress, with The Professor internationally famous for his outstanding Hvar dialect language lessons. Here he is, demonstrating how to speak Croatian using only vowels. Klapa Samoana, are you ready for the challenge?

You can contact Dvor Dubokovic via Facebook.



Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Samoans Play Balote on Top of Hvar as Klapa Samoana Stuns Hvarcienda

July 16, 2019 - Klapa Samoana, the Dalmatian sensations from the Pacific, entertained about 300 guests at Hvarcienda, on the top of Croatia's premier island. It was quite a show.  

So authentic, and yet so authentic. 

Unique and unforgettable for sure, as two outstanding products met with no neighbours to disturb for an evening of music, food, wine, nature, dancing and fun. 

And boy - how did the main stars perform. 

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The concept of a Dalmatian klapa group from the Pacific island of Samoa might sound pretty far out, but Klapa Samoana won the hears of Croatians all over the globe last year during the World Cup, as their klapa singing went viral. 

If you don't know the story, it all started with a Croatian music teacher in Auckland and a school trip to Croatia in 2008. Rather than repeat the story for those who know it, you can learn more in the video below. 


A great story. And so when I heard that they would be performing on Hvar - more specifically at Hacienda on the very top of the island - I knew that we had to go. Hvarcienda is a new concept for 2019, an organic oasis of gorgeousness offering 'food with views'. Although I hadn't tried the food yet, if it was anything like the views... The ultimate chill zone, with literally no neighbours for miles, Hvarcienda hosts a range of cool events, from yoga to immortelle harvesting workshops. It was time to pay a first visit. 

We weren't the only ones who were excited. Here are the Klapa Samoana founding brothers on top of Hvar the day before the concert. 

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We arrived about 20:00, just in time for sunset.  

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A truly divine part of the planet.  

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And, for the hikers, some pointers on the important mountain peaks in the world, with Hvar's very own peak of Sv. Nikola looking achievable at 621m above sea level, or 'very close'. 

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The recently harvested field of immortelle. It must look glorious in yellow.  

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A natural and safe paradise for all the family. So much space, so much nature, so much The Mediterranean as It Once Was.  

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When we arrived, the guys were playing balote *see lead photo), the latest incursion into Dalmatian culture since their World Cup success.  The main man, Christian, was very approachable and was impressed that my brother-in-law had visited Samoa - twice! He had never heard of a Croatian who had been to his country twice. 

A quick change from the casual balote t-shirt and shorts, and the boys were ready for action. 

Samoa meets Dalmatia. Just stunning. There were a LOT more people than expected, and a truly memorable performance. I had expected Klapa Samoana to have a range of songs they had learned and just to sing those, but it quickly became apparent that the initial World Cup success had started something much bigger. Their knowledge of Croatian culture (and language) was impressive, as was their understanding of the regions of Croatia. They had a song for each, asking if there was anyone from Istria, Zagorje, Slavonia - then producing a song for each. 

Much more than a concert, it was an evening of song and a narrative of the developing love affair of Samoans for Croatia. 

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And all the while, Hvarcienda was providing culinary support.  

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The menu was small but delicious and healthy.  

But that was not the end of the evening, for this was a sunset to sunrise party. With no neighbours to disturb, Hvarcienda guests were free to express themselves and party. Klapa Samoana gave way to the tunes from DJ Occko, and after the lively Samoan warmup, the crowd was ready to dance. 

I disappeared with Christian to his room to record an interview, which I had planned to add to this article. But he was SO interesting and covered so many topics, one of which could be really interesting for Croatian tourism, that I will cover that in a separate article in a couple of days. 

An amazing night. High-quality Croatian tourism, with content, content, content. 

You can follow the Klapa Samona story on Facebook.

Hvarcienda is a true hidden gem. Here is how to find it.  

To learn more about the island, check out the Total Croatia Hvar in a Page guide



Saturday, 13 July 2019

Event of the Summer? Klapa Samoana from Samoa Live on Top of Hvar

A really special night on the top of the island of Hvar on July 15, 2019, as Samoan singing sensation Klapa Samoana make their way from the Pacific to the peak of Croatia's premier island. 

It is one of those unlikely cultural stories - a group of Samoan singers performing traditional Croatian songs a cappella exactly like a Dalmatian Klapa group. But Klapa Samoana not only are the only Samoan klapa singers, but have also won the hearts of millions of Croats with their renditions of Dalmatian classics during last week's world cup. They even have a town square named after them in one Croatian town. 

And Klapa Samoana are coming to Hvar and will be performing live on the top of the island at Hvarcienda on Monday, with their concert starting at 21:00.  


It seems the Samoan sensations are even TCN readers, as one of our articles from last summer was included in this interview explaining how they became interested in Croatia and its music. One of the group had a Croatian music teacher in Auckland who first aroused interest in Croatia. A tuba player, he went to Croatia on a school trip, and the rest is history. Watch the video - a very nice story.  

The concert will be part of an evening from sunset to sunrise at Hvarcienda, a stunning chill zone by Hvar's peak of St. Nikola, in splendid isolation. You can learn more about Hvarcienda here


Klapa Samoana will be followed by DJ Occko for a dance party which will go on until the early hours. There will be food, wine, and the most divine setting. 

Space is limited, so book soon to avoid disappointment. TCN will be covering the event. You can reserve your spot via the Hvarcienda Facebook page or by calling +385-95-5227-135. Here they are in action:

Saturday, 14 July 2018

When Samoans Sing Dalmatian Songs: Klapa Samoana Takes on Grdović World Cup Hit

An extra bit of motivation for the Croatia national team going into the World Cup final tomorrow.