The sopila (or roženica, as a similar instrument is called in Istria) is an old traditional instrument similar to today’s oboe. It has been preserved in the areas of Kvarner, Kastav, Vinodol, and on the island of Krk.
The sopila is a descendant of the old European shawm, an instrument that developed near the end of the Middle Ages and whose main characteristics were double reeds and a conical bore along the entire instrument. This primitive instrument disappeared completely from European music around 1700, when it was replaced by the much more refined oboe. The old shawm was still to be found here and there in Europe, but only as a folk instrument (e.g. in the Swiss Alps, in Abruzzi, Italy, where it is called the piffero, and, of course, in Istria and the Kvarner region of Croatia).
Central European influences are most obvious in the couple dances (mazurka, valcer, polka, schotisch, siebenschritt, rašpa, štajeriš, furlana, palaisglais) in north-western, northern and central Croatia, and in Istria and the Gulf of Quarnero region.
Croatian dance traditionally refers to a series of folk-dances, the most common being the Kolo. Croatian dance varies by region, and can be found throughout the various regions of Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia, Hungary, and Romania. The traditional kolo is a circle dance, where dancers follow each other around the circle, is relatively simple in form and widespread throughout other Slavic countries. Due to immigration, Croatian folk dance groups are prevalent throughout the diaspora, most notably the United States, Canada, Australia, and Germany.
Music is a very important part of Croatian folk dance, with of the most common instruments used are the tamburica, lijerica, jedinka, šargija, bagpipe, and accordion. Today, kolo is danced at weddings, baptisms, holidays such as Easter, and ethnic festivals.
|Once upon a time when giants lived on the Earth, a man was walking along a river bank. He was alone. Only the wind played around his shoulders, running here and there through the reeds that grew along the riverbank. Suddenly, he heard a strange sound, different from any other sound he had ever heard before. Silence, then the sound again. Silence, then the sound again. With every gust of wind, he would hear the sound, which stopped as the wind abated. The man approached the reeds to discover what creature made such strange sounds. He did not see anything, only one hollow, split reed stem that stood out from the rest. The wind blew again, the reed vibrated and he heard the sound again. The man’s heart was full of joy; he took the broken reed and blew into it. Since that time, he was never alone again.
Although the times and the world are different, I believe that even today, somewhere deep in the forest the fairies dance when someone somewhere plays the bagpipes, shepherd’s pipes or at least a twin-reed.
Let us now look at this miraculous world of old Croatian traditional instruments.
* Gajde , Gaida , Croatian bagpipes ,
Croatian national costume or Croatian dress (Croatian: narodna nošnja, plural: narodne nošnje) refers to the traditional clothing worn by Croats living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, with smaller communities in Hungary, Montenegro, and Romania. Since today the majority of Croats wear Western-style clothing on a daily basis, the national costumes are most often worn with connection to special events and celebrations, mostly at ethnic festivals, religious holidays, weddings, and by dancing groups who dance the traditional Croatian kolo, or circle dance. Each Croatian region has its own specific variety of costume that vary in style, material, color, shape, and form. Much of these regional costumes were influenced by the Austrian, Hungarian, German, Italian, or Turkish presence, due to whichever power ruled the region.
For the female dress, attire consists of a plain white dress or blouse (košulja) or underskirt (skutići), which is usually the basic form of the costume. It is then added with other clothing and decorations, which may include another overdress or skirt (kotula), a decorative jacket (đaketa, djaketa, paletun or koret), apron (ogrnjač or pregjača), scarf (ubrsac), kerchief or shawl which are usually decorated with a floral or animal motif. The embroidery is very intricate and is usually red, white, blue, gold, or black. Her jewellery, ranging from necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings could consist of gold, silver, beads, pearls, or even corral from the Adriatic. Hair is interwoven into one or two braids and decorated with red ribbons for girls or women that are unmarried, while married women wear woven or silk kerchiefs on their heads. Costumes of brides consists of a crown or wreath often made of flowers (vijenac) and large amounts of jewelry. The woman's head could be adorned by a kerchief, cap, or a headdress, the most famous being the headdresses worn by the women from the island of Pag. The amount of paraphernalia a woman is adorned with, either very much or rarely any at all, depends on the region. Completing the costume are stockings (bječve) or knee-high socks, and boots or a special kind of sandal called opanci.
For the males, the national dress usually consists on loose, wide slacks (gaće širkoke) and a shirt, and both are usually either black or white, or both. The man may wear a decorative or plain vest (fermen or jačerma), over his shirt, and possibly a waistcoat. The man almost always wears a cap, varying in shape and design depending on the region. The most famous cap is perhaps the Lika cap, worn in the Lika region for centuries by the people. Footwear, like the women's', consists mainly on boots and sandals. Because of the weather, certain places often have woolen vests, cloaks, coats, or fur for the colder regions, and silk and light linens for the warmer climates.
There are four main types of costumes associated with the regions: the Pannonian style in the north and east, the continental or Dinaric style, and the coastal style on the coast.