Klapa Kaše: Traditional Dalmatian Klapa Singing in Dubrovnik

Total Croatia News

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Klapa represents the soul of Croatia, a form of traditional cappella singing that holds the key to the essence of Dalmatia: friendship, family and traditional values.
Even the word “klapa” means a “group of friends” who gather together to sing about the motifs woven deeply in the lives of the people of southern Croatia, such as the sea, the homeland, old and new love stories, family, and, of course, also the fine wines and the olive trees which offer perfect examples of the strength of nature in this area.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation of UNESCO recognised the value of the Klapa singing which embodies the identity of the Dalmatian people and inscribed it on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in December, 2012.

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Modern-day klapas are sometimes followed by a guitar or a mandolin, a musical instrument that is usually plucked with a plectrum or “pick’.

There are male and female klapas in Croatia with the male ones dominating: a group of the male klapa consists of a first tenor (the highest male voice within the modal register), a second tenor, a baritone (lies between the bass, that is the lowest voice, and a tenor, the highest one) and a bass (the lowest male voice).

The first groups of klapa were formed by men back in the 19th century: it is said that the first groups would gather somewhere in the square or in a small tavern and sing songs. Legend has it that the first groups would gather beneath the windows of the girl in a Romeo-like fashion and would sing in order to seduce the desired girl.
These songs were quickly accepted and it is interesting to track the songs back throughout history, where one can see how some of them were constantly handed down from one generation to the next.

The tradition kept in the klapa songs is still very prominent today, with plenty of festivals along the Dalmatian coast during the summer season. One of the most popular festivals is definitely the Festival of the Dalmatian Klapas in Omiš, held annually since 1966.

Klapa Kaše

One of the most famous present-day klapas in Dubrovnik is a mixed klapa Kaše formed in 2007. The name of the group derives from a name for the breakwater Kaše that is located in front of the Old Town port (stara luka). The chosen name, according to their account, symbolises klapa as a breakwater of polyphonic singing of the Dubrovnik region. Since the group members are exclusively students, klapa soon came under the umbrella of the University of Dubrovnik.

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Klapa Kaše has already performed in numerous festivals in Croatia and abroad, regularly winning awards, among which one in particular stands out: the best klapa at the aforementioned Festival of the Dalmatian Klapas in Omiš, won in both in 2012 and again in 2014.

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But Klapa Kaše did not stop with fulfilling their creative potential there: the group has started with a concert program titled “Tracing the Republic” in which it reanimated and gathered 16 original songs of the Dubrovnik region, and with the help of actors and dancers, displayed a musical reflection of Dubrovnik’s musical history. In 2013, Klapa Kaše released their first album “Rego” (Gift), and in 2014, the second album “Tracing the Republic”.

If you would like to listen to Klapa Kaše and find out why they are winning award after award, check out the following videos:


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