Croatia is one of the countries that was created after the explosion of Yugoslavia. It has a strange shape and a long coast with lots of islands and can be divided in different cultural areas. But do they yodel in Croatia ?
The Dinaric Alps stretch through different countries of Southern Europe, between Slovenia and Albania and it’s in these mountains of Croatia that you can find songs with yodel-like vocals, or at least vigourous shaking and trilling of the voice ! It’s a very old tradition of songs with a peculiar style of singing wich is of early Balkan origin and exists in the different countries around. These songs are mostly performed outdoors as a way to communicate with people who are far away – hence the yodels.
Pivaj, seko and Gospe Sinjska are two songs recorded in1995 in Kijevo near Knin in the eastern part of the Dinaric highlands, a region with scarce ressources and a cattle raising economy. These two short songs sung by a group of women show how archaic traditions survive even if the lyrics of the second song are related to the recent war. One singer starts with the leading part and the rest accompany her with the lower part.
From the same region come the male singers of Nema pisme nit pivanja and Pitaju me odakle si mali, recorded in 1993 in Zagreb. Wolf Dietrich already recorded examples of this style of singing in 1973 near Sinj in Dalmatia: Ojkanje songs. These songs, like the previous ones, are performed for the pleasure of singing on the syllabe “oj” and that’s where you can her the yodel-like vocalisations.
And for something quite different in style but inspired by the old traditions, a song by Darko Rundek & Cargo Orkestar, Kolo with yodeling.
If you want to learn more about Ojkanje songs, there’s a good article in PDF here.