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Konoba Blues: New Song Presenting a Dalmatian & Croatian Treasure

The konoba (Photo: Konoba Bratinic)

The man who has the first and only konoba in Croatia with Croatian protected cultural heritage status has now released a song telling the story of the Dalmatian and Croatian treasure.

Miki Bratanić, the owner of a traditional Dalmatian konoba on the island of Hvar, is the author of The Story of the Konoba, a book promoting Dalmatian history, cultural heritage, songs, wine, and the way of living through the example of the konoba, or traditional wine cellar. He has now released a song.

Konoba Blues is the title of the song in which the author, Bratanić, speaks about universal human values which through work, socializing and song, are passed on to generations, and in this new dynamic and technologically shaped contemporary way of life, have become even more precious and important.

Miki Bratanić

“Having faith in a better tomorrow, respect for work, perseverance, love for friends, good neighbourly relations, fostering tradition, and many other human qualities are highlighted in this song, which in the end has a positive message, emphasising that there is nothing nicer than drinking and singing with neighbours,” Bratanić says, referring to the final lyric in the song.

“Nothing is sweeter in the world than drinking with neighbours and to sing in old clothes in the konoba.”

The music for the song was written by Split music producer Želimir Škarpona and Dalibor Musap. Bratanić’s wish was to have a blues version, which is unusual for the theme of the konoba and Dalmatia.

Konoba

However, Bratanić, in the background of this song, creates a story that in some way links Dalmatian klapa music with Afro-American blues on a world music level.

Dalmatian klapa, which is UNESCO protected non-material Croatian heritage, was created by the hard-working people who, after a hard day’s work in the vineyards in their konoba found consolation with their neighbours in food, wine and the joy of the song.

The food was modest, mostly salted sardines in olive oil. The wine was has God intended it. And the song was melodically simple.

Inside the konoba

“In a similar way Afro American blues started, songs were sung way back in cotton plantations, in sadness and in malice, which brought hope, faith, and love, and after a hard day, people gathered in their huts. Simple in the expression, like Dalmatian klapa, they did not require a special musical accompaniment, but human voices were instruments. And it was “acapella”.

However, those songs were adapted for simple people without music education who had all the depth of feelings and riches of expression. The songs did not require instrumental accompaniment, but only human voices.

Often mixed with sacral elements and seasoned with spiritual themes, in just a few tones it attracted those who did not know how to sing, but they could feel it. So the song became a gathering invitation and a sign for socialising, so the konoba or hut would fill up with people and singing would go late in the night. It is a living habit.

In times of hardship, shortage, uncertainty, survival, finding a motive for joy and being happy with little is really an art. Our forefathers were artists in this,” he says.

Food was basic yet tasty

Bratanić says that despite modest singing ability, he has sung this song with his heart and soul, and he believes it will touch the audience.

The video for the song will be filmed in the spring of 2018 and will surely give the song an extra media dimension and enable what the author wants, and this is a worldwide promotion, not just for the song Konoba Blues and his story about Konoba, but also for Hvar island, Split, Dalmatia, and Croatia.

Check out the song (lyrics below)

KONOBA BLUES (lyrics)

Ispod hlada našeg dvora
Di se ćuti vitar s mora
Na stolu je bocun vina
Tu je moja didovina.
Prid konobom moga dide
Još se mogu čut beside
O životu i o trudu
I da ništa ni zaludu
I da ništa ni zaludu

U očima našeg oca
Uvik iskri ista forca
Ruke su mu pune voje
Dok govori bit će boje.
Tim u meni budi viru
Da nam vaja naći miru
I na ovom škrtom škoju
Umiriti dušu svoju
Umiriti dušu svoju

Kada dozri grožđe slatko
Brat će dati ruke svatko
Napunit ćemo maštile
Demejane karatile.
Ništa slaje svitu nima
Nego pit sa susidima
I u onoj staroj robi
Zapivati u konobi
Zapivati u konobi

Zapivati u konobi…

KONOBA BLUES (English)

Under the shade of our courtyard
Where the wind from the sea could be felt
On the table is a bottle of wine
There is my family heritage

In front of my grandfather’s konoba
Words of wisdom still can be heard
About life and effort
And that nothing is futile
And that nothing is futile

In the eyes of our father
There is always the same force spark
His hands are full of power
Till he says “It will be better”

That wakes up my faith
For the need to find a life measure
And on this miser island
Calm our soul
Calm our soul

When sweet grapes mature
Everybody will help to harvest
We will fill up the deeps
Demijohns and barrels

There is nothing sweeter at all
But to drink with neighbour
And in those old clothes
Sing along in the konoba
Sing along in the konoba

Accompanying vocals: Teo Brajčić and Brankica Jovanovski
Accompanying klapa vocals: Brodosplit choir – Eduard Grenc Mladen Velat, Dragan Popović, Ante Kovačević, Igor Bakotić, Ante Smoljo, Damir Radovan – led by conductor Vlado Sunko.

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