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Tovareća mužika (Donkey music)

As Sali is a place with a thousand-year-old fishing tradition and every house had a horn in the past, which was used for signalling while catching oily fish.
Tovareća mužika

However, younger generations have thought of another way of using this object: as a musical instrument. It all started as a joke at the expense of those who got married in later years. In 1960 one “old girl” married a widower in Zaglav. The wedding ceremony was intended to be kept a secret, but the young people learned about it and organized a joke. They walked behind the wedding guests blowing horns and beating with metal tools and irons. To get rid of them, the groom and the bride offered them drinks, and the pranksters after returning to the village decided to re-organize these "concerts" for their own pleasure. This is how the donkey music started, which now operates as an organization and its performance celebrates many events in the Zadar County and throughout the Croatia.

The group eventually formed its performance and also determined some rules. The musicians are during one part of the performance dressed in traditional fishing costume with sailor hats on their heads (called Raska), and during the second part in ceremonial robes. What is most striking in donkey music are certainly the rhythmic melodies, which are not complicated, but its rhythmic background (performed on various kinds of drums and old irons filled with pebbles) leave a deep impression on the audience. A special experience is the patriotic song performed by the group on Sunday morning during Sali's festivity “Saljske užance”, which echoes through the sleepy village and awakens the most stubborn sleepers.

During the festivity Saljske užance, the Tovareća mužika (donkey music) goes around the whole place in several performances, stopping at some places doing their program. The music conductor leads the musicians, maintains order and begins the figures that the musicians perform while playing music. On Sunday, after the donkey race, the group enters into the sea in the port of Sali playing music as the musicians keep on blowing the horns until the water rises to their necks and thereby ends their show at the festivity of Sali.

Related photos

Traces of the past

Dugi otok

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