Few words about traditional Istrian Music, Dance, Languages and Dialects
Recently Dario Marusic issued an artwork DVD named: ISTRAD - “Istrian Traditional Music Atlas”. The information found in that Atlas was very important in preparing the content of the pages related to the Istrian music.
I used to say that culture, music, sports and children enjoy the cosmopolitan World. This is also the mission of the Smrikva Bowl and music is for sure part of the culture of a territory and I think would be nice to give you a brief overview of the Istrian traditional music background and you might appreciate even more our people, our architecture, our history, our food, our wine and our olive oil.
Istria might not be pluriethnic and multicultural as New York or London in terms of number of different ethnic communities, but is a very interesting multicultural microcosm with its own particularities.
There are several ethnic groups in Istria that are today considered autochthonous ethnic groups such as: Croats, Slovenians, Italians, Istro-Romanians and Peroj’s Montenegrins. Some of them came in Istria several centuries ago and some others more than thousands years ago. Unfortunatelly many Istrians, over the centuries, and especially during the 20th century, left Istria during every major political regime change.
Istria is today the region of 18 different languages and dialects…
According to Dario Marusic’s analysis, if we consider the whole Istria including the territory that is in Croatia and the territory that is today in Slovenia and Italy, we get a total of 18 languages and dialects that are still spoken in Istria. The split he made is the following:
3 linguistic standards:
3 unstandardized languages:
- Istro – Montenegrin
- Istro – Romanian
- 3 Slovenian: (Rizan’s, Savrin’s, Notranj’s)
- 7 Croatian: (North-western chakavian, South-western chakavian, Stokavsko – chakavian, Ikavian – ekavian chakavian, Pazin’s – Zminj’s chakavian, Labin’s chakavian, Liburnia’s chakavian)
- 1 Slovenian – Croatian: Buzet’s kajkavian – chakavian
- 1 Italian: Istroveneto
I received an oral information that another detailed study have been made in Istria that made evidence of close to 200 different dialects in Istria and another study counted 114 dielects. Dario Marusic's cluster analysis is a very good picture of current Istrian language microcosm.
Most of the people living in Istria speak at least two languages. I grew up listening to my grandparents speaking in home Zminj’s chakavian that is a sweet dialect and every time I hear a person talking in that dialect I feel nice. Istroveneto that many people call also “Polesano” is also lovely to me.
Labin’s chakavian is very particular and people from Labin are very proud on their history and language and many people living in the World try to keep their community together.
Buzet’s kajkavian – chakavian is also very nice to me. Even in Croatian chakavian you will find a lot of latin words. Just to give you an example: ”segoman” would be in Italian assugamani, “kusin” would be in Italian cuscino, “spina” is in Italian spina, “grote” is in Italian grotte, “lancun” – lenzuolo, “padela” – padella. In Croatian dialect is written in one way but the way you pronounce it is almost the same.
Istria is not the mere sum of different cultural backgrounds, which, by historical changes and migrations, co-existed one next to the other and mixed with each other over time, but is a centuries long spiritual and cultural sedimentation.
Istrian people had many hard times in its several thousands years old history and not in every period was an easy task to maintain the multiethnic culture. Today the multiethnic culture is reflected in Istrian traditional music, in Istrian food, in Istrian architecture, and in languages and dialects that are still spoken in Istria.
Hopefully the civil society of the following generations will be curious to understand and help to preserve this heritage.