Winter festivities on Hvar: a Christmas concert in Vrbanj

Last night was a real treat. The Croatian national folk ensemble, LADO, gave a concert of Christmas songs in Vrbanj church. They’ve been responsible for researching and preserving music and dances from all around Croatia, and we were very happy to find their Christmas tour included TWO dates in nearby Vrbanj.

LADO folk ensemble

LADO folk ensemble

The musicians were playing a selection of tamburitsas, which sound very similar to mandolins. There was also a guy on bagpipes for a couple of numbers!

Piper!

Piper!

Many of the songs sounded very familiar to me, though they didn’t quite follow the expected tunes that I know. And some had a more exotic sound, with Hungarian or maybe other eastern influences. There were a few songs with kolo rhythm, as if they would normally be sung while dancing. Unfortunately that was not part of the concert, and we didn’t get to dance around the aisles!

LADO singers

LADO singers

The costumes were beautiful, and for once, it was appropriate that they should be warm. Even with all the folk in the church, it was still a touch chilly. The men’s outfits looked like officers from a cavalry regiment, with rows of shiny buttons.

Soloists

Soloists

LADO are really good, we will have to look for more concerts, maybe in other parts of the country. The choir was excellent, and the various soloists did a great job. I also loved watching the musicians, especially the guy on the double bass, who was clearly having a great time. The whole concert was filmed, not sure if that was for TV or simply the LADO website. Will investigate and if possible post a link!

Sopranos

Sopranos

And finally, here’s a glimpse of the nativity scene in the Vrbanj church – more of a cave than a stable. Merry Christmas!

Nativity scene

Nativity scene

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