Thursday, 19 May 2016

Klapa: The Rhythmic Heart of Dalmatia

Klapa singers on Vis 2016
One of my first experiences of klapa music during my stay in Split was wandering around the city late one cold March evening. I had only just arrived and I was feeling homesick. I turned a corner in the picturesque old part of town and heard singing to make my hair stand on end. A small group of young people had gathered in an ill-lit courtyard behind an iron grill, and they were singing songs a cappella. I stood and listened with tears running down my face. You didn’t need any knowledge of the language, they had absolutely nailed how I was feeling. I was missing my lost love, my home far over the water, and I was wallowing in – completely romanticised – nostalgia.

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Tradition of Bosnian Catholic Tattoos

There was a spell in the not so distant past where I did a module on exhibiting the body as part of my MA in History of Art. It was one of the more challenging subjects because of the sheer newness of the subject to me; basically I was pinging around like an over enthusiastic firework because every lecture we had presented a new idea which I wanted to pursue. Did I want to stay in the renaissance where the body was emerging as a machine, or head into enlightenment with wax modelling, Victorian health and death, or be in the present with bodies and taboos? This also coincided with some interesting events at London's RAI, where I wrote up a film about bodily suspension. Body modification and using the body as a canvas still really intrigues me, which is why a talk given by one of my fellow students in the Croatian Civilisation and Culture class today made me dash here and blog about it. The research is all hers but where I was unsure, I've added, clarified, and interjected because I'm annoying like that.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Walking on Vis

Night has fallen over this scene of convivial voices;
Brotherhoods bonded over the thrum of tones.

Sounds revolving around the thickness,
Atmosphere of fire smoke inviting wisps of mountain down.
But the notes rise up to send love skyward

Day has filled us with sounds of light and conversations;
Friendships walking together winding up through the green.
Crunching over stones sibilant voices harmonise.
Atmosphere of pine scent catching all with amber glow.
And our loads lightened by love falling skyward...


A piercing of the air
With cries of summer
A graceful winging arc
Against the pastel blue

A stirring of the sky
With an urgency of spring
A vortex of black specks like
Tea leaves in Wedgwood.