Contact CCSO | Officers & Board |  2007 Newsletters! | Calendar of Events | CCSO Library Archives

Flag of Croatia CCSO Home
Contact CCS of Omaha
2007 Officers & Board
CCSO History
Calendar of Events

Music of Croatia

There is an old Croatian proverb that states: "An age is known by its music". There were many `ages' of Croatian music and this is an effort to shed some light on these. Nothing stirs the heart of a Croatian as the sound of a tamburitza or a Croatian folk song.

The first Croatian neum manuscripts for church music dates from the 11th century. Some of the Christmas folk songs from the 12th century are sill very in world's proportions.

A special place in the history of Croatian music has the Glagolitic church singing. The earliest mention of glagolitic singing in Croatia is from the year 1777, when Pope Alexandre III visited the town of Zadar. Glagolitic singing has three basic components 1) Gregorian coral, 2) Croatian folklore and 3) Byzantine church music. This type of singing is still preserved on some Croatian islands today.

The verses for the Croatian national anthem Our Beautiful Homeland (Lijepa Nasa Domovino were written by a Croatian poet and diplomat Anton Mihanovic (1796-1861). The music was composed by Josip Runjanin (1821-1878). Many Croats who sang it during the former Yugoslav regime under Tito (1946-1981) risked to be imprisoned. There was a jail not far from Zagreb, nicknamed "Jail for Singers".

In music probably the most original contribution is the tamburitza, the Croatian national string instrument and one of the hallmarks of Croatia. Our folk fire of one's heritage like the sound that comes from this beautiful instrument.

The first tamburitza concert in the USA was held as early as 1900 in Carnegie Hall in New York. That same year the American Croats were invited to the White House to play for President Theodore Roosevelt . Almost every home in the Croatian community played the 78's by the Sestric Tamburitzan Orchestra on their phonographs. You could walk past these homes and hear the haunting sounds that filled the air. For many recent immigrants this was their connect to their homeland. Numerous tamburitzan orchestras exist around the world and many Croatian choirs and folk ensembles still perform the "old songs" of their parents and grandparents. We in Kansas City are grateful to the Kansas City Ethnic Choir and the Strawberry Hill Folk Ensemble conducted by Mr. Ed Grisnik for continuing that tradition and for carrying on the traditional folk dances of our Croatian heritage.

We Croatian Americans stand proud of our beautiful country for the privileges and freedoms we and our forefathers are able to enjoy. As we hear the patriotic songs of the National Anthem and God Bless America, we stand proud of our citizenship of this United States of America and thank God for the blessing of our heritage and the life we have had in this "Land of Opportunity".

A Century of Croatian Music in Omaha (1900-1990)

Glee Club -1932

Croatian Liberty Orchestra - 1935

Croatian Liberty Orchestra (1937)

Blue Danube Orchestra (1937-1943)

Croatian Sons Orchestra (1952-1967)

Tamburitzen Festival

Contact CCSO | Officers & Board |  2007 Newsletters! | Calendar of Events | CCSO Library Archives