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<<  -- 3 --  Keith Bramich    PURE SERENDIPITY

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Two nights later, another concert given by Klapa 'Sufit' (a male voice folk group from Split) out-of-doors in the imaginatively lit Bateria-Museum (Gospina baterija or 'Our Lady's Battery', built for defence purposes by the Austrians, who inherited Vis from the British in 1815) featured Dalmatian a cappella songs. Nine men gave performances with audible connections to Russian folk music (in addition to the language -- Croatian and Russian are very similar), interspersed with readings in the Croatian language.

Klapa 'Sufit' from Split, performing in the Bateria-Museum, Vis Town. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich
Klapa 'Sufit' from Split, performing in the Bateria-Museum, Vis Town. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich

Later the same evening (19 July) Visko Kulturno 2003 presented 'Jazzy Nights' in Kut village -- classy performances from two groups -- the Matija Dedic Trio from Zagreb and the Ratko Divjak Band from Slovenia, which continued on into the night.

The Blue Cave, Bisevo, Croatia. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich
The Blue Cave, Bisevo, Croatia. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich

The 'Klapa' (Male Voice Choir) is a Dalmatian coastal phenomenon -- there's a group in most towns and villages. They mostly replace the older tradition of two-part singing by women. Many Klapa groups sing in the most surprising locations, with impromptu concerts often purely for the singers' own pleasure. The following day, on a visit to the tiny nearby Island of Bisevo with its amazing Blue Cave (Modra Spilja), lit purely by reflected sunlight coming from under the water and accessible only by boat, I heard and saw another, smaller, group of four, dressed only in bathing trunks, singing whilst standing in the sea at Porat, a small picturesque cove, followed by more songs in a bar adjoining the beach. This same group appeared in another bar in Vis Town on the same evening, appreciated by locals and tourists alike, and seemed never to tire of singing.

'Guarding' the entrance to the Blue Cave on Bisevo, a lady (in the small blue boat with her dog) collects tickets from tourists as they enter the cave. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich
'Guarding' the entrance to the Blue Cave on Bisevo, a lady (in the small blue boat with her dog) collects tickets from tourists as they enter the cave. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich

Bisevo, inhabited only during the summer holiday season, is slightly further from the Dalmatian coast than Vis, and is accessible most easily by small boat from the town of Komiza on Vis. The Blue Cave is well worth the visit -- it's been a magnet for tourists since the 1880s when an artist from Vienna, Eugen von Ransonnet-Villet, widened the entrance to the cave, making it possible to enter with a small boat. It's possible to stay on the island, which has a hotel and a few other buildings, plus at least one other cove, but any music-making you might hear on Bisevo will be pure serendipity.

Looking out to sea towards Bisevo from Komiza. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich
Looking out to sea towards Bisevo from Komiza. Photo © 2003 Keith Bramich

 

Copyright © 17 August 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK

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KEITH BRAMICH AT THE DUBROVNIK SUMMER FESTIVAL

CANTUS

SPLIT SUMMER FESTIVAL

KLAPA 'SUFIT'

THE ISLAND OF VIS

'PILGRIMAGE TO BISEVO BEAUTY'

JOSIP BROZ TITO

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