SVANIBOR PETTAN (Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku, Zagreb, Croatia/Academy of Music, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

"Balkan Popular Music? No, Thanks." A View from Croatia

The three widely recognized Croatia's ethnographic/cultural zones (Pannonic, Adriatic, Dinaric) correspond to three broader "cultural circles" meeting each other in Croatia (Central European, Mediterranean, Balkan). Of the three, only the Dinaric/Balkan is widely regarded as a source of unacceptable Eastern traits. Croatian media promote traditional tempered, tonal music of Pannonic and Adriatic zones, but to a considerably lesser extent the musical heritage of Dinaric shepherds, which strongly departs from Western music. Similarly, the media promote popular music genres that point to Croatia's connections with the West, and actively oppose e.g. the newly composed folk music, the most beloved Balkan popular music genre of former and present Yugoslavia. The same distinction counts for stylistic features of both music and lyrics, and for musical instruments.

This paper provides an analysis of the political - musical division in regard to the war and to the refugee crisis as a consequence. Music production of the war time was marked by the sharp difference between the state supported songs and those sold exclusively on the black market. Refugees made the situation even more complex, for most of them escaped from what is seen as the Balkan area, bringing with them their own musical preferences. The consequence is, according to a recent investigation, the existence of the Balkan popular music subculture in Croatia.


© 1996 Kabi d.o.o.