In the life of each person who is living and working abroad (or as we call them using ancient, traditional Serbian word - Gastarbeiter) comes the moment when homesickness decides to kick in. For some, it happens sooner, for some it happens later. Or much later. Or REALLY much later.
Coughs. Or after two years.
Uvac river, Serbia, author Sasapokimica CC BY-SA 4.0
Each time I was asked about my home country, I would reply with bitterness and resentfulness. And somehow I would always point out the negative aspects of life in Serbia. And although some really messed up things happened during my life there (a complete economical isolation, wars, Serbian turbo-folk), I think that I might have been unfair to Serbia. At least just a little bit.
So I decided to make it up to my country and write about something I'm really proud of, and that I would like to share with you - Serbian traditional music and Serbian flute.
Serbian traditional music
Traditional Serbian costumes from Šumadija, author Unknown CC BY-SA 3.0
The one who sings means no harm.
The old Serbian saying. Is subject to discussion though. However, people firmly believed in this saying (and many of them believe now as well) throughout the history. After Turks left Balkans, peasants were predominant social class, and that's why peasant folklore is considered to be traditional (or ethno). Song was an important part of everyday life in rural environments. People especially liked singing during work in fields. A song would be born spontaneously, in the mind of an unknown author, and then would continue to live through coming generations.
Water nymph (Rusalka), author Сергей Панасенко-Михалкин CC BY-SA 3.0
Serbian traditional or ethno songs were mostly about mystical, unbreakable bond of human with nature. They were made in the form of short stories, during which the listener is introduced to the plot by conversation (or sometimes even monologue) of the main character (usually young woman or young man) with the moon, the sun, animals, mountains or mystical forces of nature in general. If we consider that during that time people's lives greatly depended on natural phenomenons (they needed rain for their crops to grow, they needed to save their cattle from wild animals, such as wolves, etc.), we can understand why the element of nature and all related to nature has main role in the Serbian folklore. Belief in all sorts of mythological creatures living in the forests was widespread as well, and could be also found as the essential element of Serbian folklore.
For example, in one of the most famous Serbian ethno songs, Gde si bilo jare moje (Where have you been, my little goat), a man is asking his goat where it has been. The goat then tells the story about how it went to the mountains, where it was looked after by the shepherds. The amazing interpretation of this traditional song by one of the most stunning female vocals Jelena Tomašević you can listen here.
Shepherd boy playing a flute, author John Linnell CC0 1.0
Of course, no folklore can be complete without musical instruments, which complement singing in efforts to express even the most tender feelings through music. One of the most common traditional Serbian instruments was by all means frula (Serbian flute). Originally this instrument was invented by shepherds, who were playing it for the sake of their own pleasure and as a pass-time activity, while watching over the herd. Frula is usually made of woods, and it contains six holes in the front, and one in the back. Such construction makes possible for this instrument to produce seven tones in two octaves. Moreover, the design of the instruments play a significant role as well in Serbian folklore, which means that frula is usually painted with interesting traditional ornaments, and woods are being carved.
How this instrument sounds?
I would like to show you that by sharing the compositions of one of the best frula players in Serbia (in my opinion), Bora Dugić. I think that his work of arts represent Serbian traditional music in most authentic way.
First one is called Tren (A Moment), and is accompanied by the amazing vocals of aforementioned Jelena Tomašević:
Second one is called Običan Balkanski Dan (An Ordinary Balkan Day):
And the last, but not least, Zov za nedostižnom lepotom (A Call for the Unattainable Beauty):
Hope you enjoyed learning something new about traditional music of Serbia, and I especially hope that you liked the tunes :)
What would be the traditional music of your country?
Please share in the comment section :)
Until the next traditional post, relax and keep steemSTEM! ;)