Monday, 21 December 2020

Richness of Traditional Croatian Christmas Songs In One Spotify Playlist

December 21, 2020 – Among many other things, Croatia can also be proud of its Christmas music tradition. For the perfect Christmas atmosphere, Croatian musician and guitarist Mihael Majetić singled out 54 of the best traditional Croatian Christmas songs in one Spotify playlist.

Traditional Croatian Christmas songs are considered the most numerous in the world, but it isn't easy to count them because they are mostly preserved by word of mouth. They are a precious and favorite part of the rich Croatian Christmas tradition, but also the Croatian cultural identity, and they belong to the most diverse and beautiful in the world.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many musical events had to be postponed this year, including many Christmas concerts showing their splendor every year. Choral church singing is also limited. However, despite the many negativities that 2020 brought to the Croatian and world music scene, some positive changes have taken place.

One of them is, of course, the arrival of the streaming service Spotify on the Croatian market, which allows Croatians to stream music without interruption, while Croatian musicians have another platform on which their music can be available. Therefore, this year, instead of experiencing live concerts, Croatians can stream music via Spotify. Due to this year's overall situation, traditional Croatian Christmas songs can be listened to exclusively in the pleasant home environment, but this in no way diminishes their beauty.

The incredible repertoire of traditional (but also popular) Croatian Christmas songs is now even more accessible. And to separate them all from the sea of different Christmas songs and gather them in one place, Croatian musician and guitarist with a London address, Mihael Majetić, compiled a playlist of 54 creative and original arrangements of traditional Croatian Christmas songs on Spotify.

A native of the Slavonian city of Valpovo, Mihael attended the Elly Bašić High School of Music in Zagreb and then continued his education at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London. He graduated last year and currently lives in London.

"The main guiding thought when choosing the songs was the quality of the arrangement and performance. The playlist includes exclusively Croatian traditional songs, but performed in different styles. So, in addition to the classics, you can also hear jazz, salsa, R'n'B, klapa, and tamburitza players. I do not claim that the list is final. I may even adjust it. And I will certainly be grateful if someone contacts me with suggestions that I may have missed," says Mihael, whose interest in the work of other musicians led him to listen to Croatian Christmas albums and thus making this playlist. In addition to performing and teaching guitar, he is also involved in arranging music.

The rich playlist includes some of the most famous names from the Croatian music scene, such as the recently deceased Krunoslav Kićo Slabinac, also one of the first Croatian musicians to record a Christmas album back in 1982. Although he was celebrated for his "bećarac "and rock songs, his album "Christmas with Kićo" became the best-selling Christmas album in the region of all time, with more than half a million copies sold. Out of the 11 Christmas songs from the album, two found their place on this playlist – "U to vrijeme godišta" ("At that time of year") and "Narodi nam se (kralj nebeski)" ("The king of heaven was born"). By the way, these are two very old archaic Croatian songs, and Kićo's versions are adorned with the inevitable overtones of tamburitza in the background.

The song "U to vrijeme godišta", or the old Chakavian form "U se vrime godišča" has its origin in the Latin tune "In hoc ani circulo" from the repertoire of St. Martial in the 11th century in the French city of Limoges. This tune spread from Italy to the Croatian south and from the Czech Republic to the Croatian north. Due to its popularity, it was given an honorary performance before the Christmas Gospel during Holy Mass.

"U to vrijeme godišta", otherwise the most widespread song in all three Croatian dialects (Chakavian, Kajkavian, and Shtokavian), according to musicologist Miha Demović, has a Glagolitic inscription, and the oldest dates from the 14th century. Apart from Kićo's songs, this playlist includes performances by the group Cubismo and composer Igor Kuljerić, conductor Tonči Bilić, and the Croatian Radio and Television Choir. Both versions of the song, Shtokavian and Chakavian, can be found on the playlist performed by the Mostar Cathedral Choir together with the Mostar Symphony Orchestra and composer Nikica Kalogjer, and singer Josipa Lisac and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Choir.

Apart from "U to vrijeme godišta," the song "Narodi nam se" is one of the oldest traditional Croatian Christmas songs. As reported by the Hrvatska katolička mreža (Croatian Catholic Network), and explained by Tihomir Prša, professor of church music at the Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Zagreb, this song dates back to the 13th century. Namely, Christ's name "young king" from the song reminds of the time of Arpadović in Croatia when the Hungarian kings wanted to crown their firstborn king as soon as possible. The expression "young year" reminds of the time when the new year began in Croatia on Christmas, and it was not after the 13th century. All worship services and all Croatian Christmas albums conclude with it.

The already mentioned performers also found a place on this playlist with the performances of the song "Narodi nam se se", and the performance of the Croatian singer Marija Husar from her album "Plesni Božić "("Dance Christmas") from 2009 is lovely.

The song "Kyrie eleison" which translated from Greek means "Lord, have mercy", is also one of the most famous Croatian Christmas songs, despite the Greek title and parts of the song in Greek. According to the first manuscript, it originates from the 19th century in Međimurje, and professor Prša reveals that the song was written by the Kolaj family. The author of the word was organist Janko Kolaj from Kotoriba. His son Ambrozius wrote down the words of a song from 1835.

Of the other traditional Croatian Christmas songs, the most famous are "Radujte se narodi" (Rejoice, people), "Veselje ti navješćujem" (I announce joy to you), "Svim na Zemlji" (To all on Earth), "Djetešce nam se rodilo" (A child was born), "Oj pastiri, čudo novo" (Oh shepherd, a new miracle). The only foreign song that is sung during the Christmas Mass in Croatia is "Silent Night". Christmas songs have a special meaning for Croats because they express their faith and find haven in them.

In addition to the already mentioned performers, the playlist includes performances by singer Marko Tolja, singer Mia Dimšić, composer Igor Geržina, pianist Matija Dedić, Jazz Orchestra of the Croatian Radio and Television (Big Band), music duo Marko & Laci featuring Zita and Ivana, composer Anđelko Igrec, the only organ duo in Croatia – Quattro Obbligato, and Klapa Luka Ploče.

To follow Mihael Majetić, visit his profiles on Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as his website.

To read more news about Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Dalmatian Students to Uphold Klapa Traditions in Zagreb

Far from the calm yet rugged shores of Dalmatia in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, Dalmatian students are set to showcase Dalmatia's rich history with traditional klapa singing at the seventh student klapa festival.

As Gordana Igrec/Morski writes on the 16th of March, 2019, Klapa music can be heard up and down the Dalmatian coast and is an intrisic part of Dalmatian culture. From Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia up to northern Dalmatia, many different groups exist from area to area and from city to city.

The word klapa means ''group of friends'' and this type of a cappella singing, which focuses mainly on romance and love, as well as on the sea and various parts of Dalmatia, traces its long roots back to littoral church singing.

The seventh festival of student klapa organised by the Split students' association will be held on March the 23rd, 2019, at the Student Center in Zagreb (Studentski centar, Savska 25), starting at 20:30.

For the seventh year in a row, the festival offers students the opportunity to be part of a traditional and cultural event which works to present the richness of Dalmatian musical heritage to the public and to continental Croatia. All those interested in this type of music are invited to come and showcase their talents and present Zagreb with one of the most influential and recognisable symbols of Dalmatia - klapa singing. There's still time to register.

When one walks the usually busy streets of the very central European City of Zagreb, the sights and sounds of Dalmatia appear a world away. Owing to this festival, the capital will become a hub for the sounds of the city's resident Dalmatian youth, as it has been in previous years.

In this way, Dalmatian students are able to freely continue to cultivate their klapa singing traditions and their culture away from their coastal homes, and further  enrich the continental Croatian City of Zagreb, where they have come to study and work, and where many will remain permanently.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow.

 

Click here for the original article by Gordana Igrec for Morski

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Šibenik Klapa Impresses European Parliament

Brussels gets to hear the sounds of Šibenik.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Šibenik Students Sing in Brussels!

The Belgian capital gets a taste of Dalmatia.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Local Klapa to Sing in Streets of Dubrovnik Once Again!

Five Dubrovnik Klapa groups will enchant both visitors and locals to our city.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Traditional Female Music Festival in Vrpolje Tonight

Although the traditional dalmatian klapa singing was mostly reserved to men in the past, women had their own way of expressing music and preserved their traditions up to this day. This unique festival is dedicated to Female traditional singing and music and will take place tonight (August 6, 2015) from 20:00 in Vrbolje near Trilj.

The "Vesta Festa" Festival will entertain its visitors with:

- Traditional female songs from the Cetina region

- 30. anniversary of ethno-music of Lidija Bauk

- Stories and legends of the Cetina region

- Exhibition: Vrpolje in old photograps

- Fair of traditional hand-made products and gastronomy 

 

A rather interesting evening it will be. Get to know the local culture among those special ladies from the Cetina region.

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