Friday, October 20, 2006

Croatian Folklore Redux: Anima Croatica

Jutarnji list's big music news today is the issue of a seven-CD box set of Croatian folk music, co-published by the Croatian Tourist Board and the Croatian Composers' Society and titled Anima Croatica.

The compilation, with its cover designed by Boris Ljubičić (the man responsible for all those Croatian chequerboard logos), isn't intended for commercial release, but rather for tourist promotion. Its non-commercial orientation means all the pieces are available for download at the compilation's website.

There's a sense in which every compilation gives editors the opportunity to put forward a particular narrative of the place or musician they're describing (maybe downplaying other aspects as they go), and Anima Croatica is no exception: its concept of Croatian musical culture is based on 'four autochthonous regions: the Istrian region, the Alpine, the Pannonian and the Dinaric-Dalmatian region, also including the regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in which Croats also live, dance and sing.'

The selection, edited by the eminent klapa composer Ljubo Stipišić Delmata, includes four sections - Folklor (demonstrating that 'the question of what sound should represent us in the world and be our sound identity', Sacra (church music and folk songs connected to religious festivals), Klape (which 'has not flinched in front of the false premise that everything klapas sing countas as 'klapa song' - so no sign of the schlager-klapa hit Da ti mogu pismom zvati), and a final CD devoted to Etno, including modern ethno-musicians such as (the usual suspects) Tamara Obrovac, Lidija Bajuk, Mojmir Novaković's two bands, and Dunja Knebl.

According to JL's critic, Branimir Pofuk, the compilation finally rectifies a situation in which:

Since an independent Croatia has existed, we have been hearing lamentations and wailing over the lack of meaningful presentation of Croatian culture and artistic heritage, over the non-existence of real Croatian cultural souvenirs and so on.

Croatian music publishing and broadcasting is scattered with attempts to put exactly that to rights, including the late-nineties ethno movement of Novaković, Bajuk, and the rest of the usual suspects, plus various attempts by Croatian Television (HTV) to make room in its schedule for 'authentic' folk music.

(The HTV shows do have a tendency to be overtaken by showbusiness: by the time I caught up with this year's Svirci moji, launched at the tail-end of the Štikla case in order to 'show the difference between the more and more ever-present narodnjaci and real authentic folk [narodne] music', its big finale was Ivana Banfić reprising her performance of her own ethno-kitsch Dora entry, Kad se sklope kazaljke.)

There's no trace of the Banfić tendency on Anima Croatica, of course, and even less of the Štikla one. Even though the Putokazi track in its Etno section happened to be first performed at a ZadarFest six years ago...

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At 8:30 pm, November 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately i can not download Anima Croatica. The link mentioned abow is dead. Does anyone know where it is available? Thanks in advance.


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