Sunday Evening Reflection: Klapa Music in Croatia

The Vancouver winter storm was to be over in an afternoon.  And yet, here I am in the late evening looking out my window onto a street full of snow, with more coming overnight.  It is a lovely sight, especially from my warm perch with a cup of tea close by. Tomorrow, everyone (including me) will be out with their cameras determined to capture the layers of snow.

Tonight, I chose to leave Vancouver and head over to memories of Croatia, where I discovered Klapa music.  Well, to be honest, I did not know it was Klapa music until a few days ago when I met up with my Croatian neighbour.  When I showed her my video, tears came to her as she remembered her homeland. It is a magnificent blend of voices that resonate with exuberance and power.

Klapa is a form of traditional a cappella singing that comes from Dalmatia, Croatia. In 2012, Klapa was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Klapa speaks of love, life and home.

“Klapa singing is a multipart singing tradition of the southern Croatian regions of Dalmatia. Multipart singing, a capella homophonic singing, oral tradition and simple music making are its main features. The leader of each singing group is the first tenor, followed by several tenori, baritoni and basi voices. During performances, the singers stand in a tight semicircle. The first tenor starts the singing and is followed by the others. The main aim is to achieve the best possible blend of voices.”

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Welcome to a new week.  May your days be filled with music of love, life and home.




Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

17 thoughts on “Sunday Evening Reflection: Klapa Music in Croatia

    1. Indeed they are. I tried to find the lyrics or even the name of the song in my video – still looking. Traditional Klapa groups are skilled amateurs who inherit the tradition from their predecessors. According to the UNESCO heritage site, ages vary with many younger people singing with older singers. Even more interesting to me is that Klapa music knowledge is transferred orally, so it is deeply embedded in the culture. Thank you so much for your visit – very much appreciated.

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    1. I knew that you would like this music. I had never heard of it before either. I am going to look more into this history of this tradition. What I found so far is Klapa singing has a high correlation with local group of friends. When they come together to play cards, drink wine, eat grilled fish (doesn’t that sound like fun) they would move on to sing local songs. It seems that,without any notation, the singing would turn into multipart singing form. It started out as only male singers, which is the tradition. BUT, traditions take on a life of their own. Now there are women who sing Klapa music! Love those twists and turns….

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly. The UNESCO heritage website is a goldmine of traditions that I have never heard about. Klapa music, which came about in the 19th century, reminded me of another tradition that emerged around the same time: The Welsh Male Choirs, which had origins in singing in Nonconformist chapels (would have like to attend one of their services) and the Industrial Revolution. Men working in the country’s mines, shipyards, factories and docks formed singing groups. Wherever and whenever we come together, we have the potential to create. ❤

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  1. So glad you were able to enjoy the snow from your warm perch, Rebecca. I find that this form of traditional acapello singing can be really moving to listen to, more especially for myself when it is sung by male voices. It’s like a group of friends who have come together to sing what is in their hearts.

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    1. You are very perceptive. I checked out the meaning of the word “klapa”. It comes from a northern Italian dialect meaning group of friends. It has been in use from the 19th century when klapa singing groups first started to form. I’m checking more into the history – it is fascinating how traditions come into being.

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    1. I agree – there is an amazing blend that comes from diverse voices coming today, young and old. We may believe that there are two types of people -those who can sing and those who cannot sing. I don’t hold to that theory. Every tradition has a capella singing. But I don’t know whether I could learn Tibetan throat singing. Would love to try.

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    1. It is a favourite place. There are several videos from different years that feature this spot. The acoustics are remarkable. I smiled when I saw several of the same men that were in my video. I am grateful that I was able to witness the singing.

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    1. It is Tuesday later afternoon here in Vancouver. The snow has come and is coming and coming and coming. Brian, my brother in Alberta, sent me a text that says that Edmonton area has an extreme cold warning. -41 C that feels like -47 C. This is bitter cold. So Game of Thrones – we know what you mean when Ned Stark says “Winter is Coming.”

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