Croatia: Music

George Sassoon forwards this: The "music" of which your friend speaks comes from remote western Hercegovina, and is known to the Croats as GANGA.  It is sung with the gusle [a one-stringed fiddle], and there are many details to be found on the link <www.imota.htm> . I have no doubt that this "music" can be obtained from specialised businesses on cassette and CD, which they sell on the Gastarbeiter [Yugoslav workers in Germany] market.  George adds:  Now I think of it, I have heard of the Imota region (imotski kraj) but have never been there. I went to the site <www.imota.htm> , which is very professional.  If you select "ganga u zvuku" (ganga in sound) on the left, you get a list of tunes.  If you right-click on them you can download them - quite short - about 500 kbytes each.  Or left-click to hear them directly.  All that I have found are unaccompanied singing, not found any yet with the gusle accompaniment.

George Sassoon writes: l I spent some time downloading the MP3 files on the main page of <www.imota.htm>  , which include Smrt u Dallasu (death in Dallas) about President Kennedy.  I also read the text, which made me think that this "ganga" music is a peasant art-form which has been taken over by Zagreb intellectuals, who are a race apart.  They must prove that they are better than those terrible uneducated Serbs, and the validity of Croatian culture! The web page is written in educated Croatian but with local dialect (ikavci).  Is the same thing happening in Spain, with intellectuals taking over dialects? I stayed with some once in Zagreb, having been sent there by the tourist bureau, who asked if I was interested in music.  When I got to the house, they were standing round a piano.  At once, they gave me some music and forced me to sing a part in an operetta which they were composing!  According to the web site, anyone who doesn't like ganga music is on a lower intellectual plane, like those who do not appreciate Stockhausen! Obviously, to like ganga music is the "in thing" to do.According to Dr. Andjelko Mijatovic, the name derives from the English word "gang" and came via Trieste.  Mijatovic was an adviser to the late Tudjman, president of Croatia.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: March 17, 2005