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Montenegro Music

Part IV

Of other instruments there are pipes and reeds, while in Malesija they also use “sargije”. What is in common for all parts of Montenegro is that with the song, most often in several voices singing together, gives an outlet to emotions. Very musical, Montenegrins, would, in the past times as well as now, sing – someone would start a song, and the others would join him in the refrain. Most often those are the songs in which girls an boys outwitted each others, in which they celebrated the nature and the strength of men. The song for Montenegrins was the weapon with which they encouraged, stirred themselves, and with which, sometime hard life became easier. During the holidays and festivities, gatherings, especially in the north of Montenegro, the gatherings don’t go by without dancing the circle (“oro”) and singing.

Great gratitude Montenegrin music owns to cultural – artistic associations, which preserved the musical folklore mainly whole and in its original form, and then promoted it on every meridian of the planet. With the folk dance, costume and language, music and song are a part of every repertoire of each CAA from Montenegro, so we are warmly recommending the visit to some of the concerts or performances, which are a kaleidoscope of Montenegrin folklore, which is dominated by the dance. As for the Montenegrin folk dances, they take an important place in te folklore creativity of Montenegro. They are very diverse, because for centuries they have been made according to the specific life conditions of Montenegrin people, adjusting to the cultural and social needs. With the creation and development, Montenegrin dances mostly belong to the “Dinar”, and “Coastal” folklore area. Most characteristic are the ones from Old Montenegro – Zetsko kolo (DANCING CIRCLE FROM ZETA), Crmnicko oro – (DANCING CIRCLE FROM CRMINICA), and the dance for two.

Montenegro, what is really interesting was the inspiration to many foreign composers.  The opera Montenegrins or Les Montenegrins, of Belgium composer Limnander in the middle of the XIX century was extremely popular in the audience and critique in Paris. Hector Berlioz spoke with chosen words about the elements of the opera which speak about the country on “scary mountains which raise above the Adriatic shores”, and the special attention draw the costume and a libretto which celebrates Montenegrin courage and emotion. Musical drama Crna planina (La Montagne Noir or Black Mountain) by August Holmes, Slovenska majka (La Madre Slava or Slav Mother) by Nikol Stermich, and a ballet Roxana, Montenegrin beauty by Ludwig Mincus are just some of the pieces which were inspired by Montenegro and its citizens. All the works had great popularity, because for the first time they allowed European audience to meet an old people and a state, which for a long time lived surrounded by great forces. Maybe the biggest contribution to Montenegrin music was the one from the Italian composer who spent the most part of his life in these areas – Dionisio de Sarno – San Giorgio. With his Balkan empress – inspired by the work of King Nikola, got all the praises of Italian critique.

In the past four decades few performers of the original folk music stands out with the special feeling for that music. Among them the names of Ksenija Cicvaric and Branka Scepanovic are of great significance for the interprpetation of the female folk music. Zoran Kalezic, Ljubo Sevaljevic, Mirko Rondovic, Zdravko Djuranovic, and Drago Kovacevic are some of the names, which are significant because of their contribution to Montenegrin folk music. They have presented both traditional and modern songs with motifs of Montenegrin musical folklore outside the borders of Montenegro, contributing a lot to its popularity in other Balkan nations. On the coast especially in Boka, clapper music groups are popular, which preserve the Mediterranean spirit, such as Karampana from Kotor. On the other side, the orchestra of Sukrija Serhatlic – Zuti, best represents the honor of the capital city. On their repertoire they have folk music and old town music, which is filled with melancholy and memories of Old town and long gone times. Tambourine orchestra players from Pljevlja and Bijelo Polje are very good, and they have on their repertoire a great number of songs characteristic for tambourine music. The tradition of the choir is very long; in the second half of the XX century a great number of choirs appeared in towns supplementing the work of those from the pre war period. The activities of “Stanko Dragojevic” had a good reception in audience all over Europe.  City music exists in most part of Montenegrin towns and during the festivals and festivities they are amplifying that occasion with their music. Especially long tradition has the music from Herceg Novi. For a longer period of time, great attention is dedicated to the music and songs for children and young ones – festivals Nasa Radost (OUR JOY), Zlatna pahulja (GOLDEN FLAKE), and Zlatna staza (GOLDEN PATH) are affirming young interpreters, of whom some with time have grown into real starts of domestic music scene.

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