The CHF is a traditional sponsor of the festival, which this year gathered eighteen ensembles and 500 performers from Germany, Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Most of the heads of the dance and tamburitza sections and a number of the members of the ensembles have attended the CHF School of Croatian Folklore.
The 7th Guardians of Croatian Ethnic Heritage international folklore event was staged in Filderstadt on 19 October. The Croatian Heritage Foundation is a traditional sponsor of this event, organised with the core mission of bringing together folklore associations from the diaspora communities and those from the Croatian homeland, and to promote the beauty and wealth of our folklore heritage while working to preserve Croatian traditional culture and strengthening the sense of identity among ethnic Croatians abroad.
This year eighteen amateur folklore and tamburitza ensembles from Germany, Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia took part. Noteworthy is that most of the heads of the dance and tamburitza sections and a number of the members of the ensembles have attended the School of Croatian Folklore organised by the CHF. The event gathered some five hundred folklore performers and an audience of about a thousand, greeted by Croatia’s foreign and European affairs minister Goran Grlić Radman on behalf of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his entire cabinet, and on behalf of Croatia’s Roman Catholic bishops. “Croatia will always be your homeland,” Grlić Radman told the audience at the opening of the event, adding that they should, “Live and work as if they were doing it for Croatia.” Also on hand was Ivan Sablić, the Croatian general consul in Stuttgart.
The folklore groups competed in three categories: diaspora ensembles performing choreographed folklore, homeland ensembles performing stage folklore, and homeland ensembles performing native folklore. Sitting on the panel of judges were Andrija Ivančan, Vjekoslav Martinić, Vedran Vidović and Snježana Jurišić (representing the Croatian Heritage Foundation). They selected the best by categories and awarded prizes. The winning ensemble was the host FD Ruža ensemble of Filderstadt, performing the songs and dances of the western Herzegovina region (Sitan kamen do kamena (“Little Rock to Rock”)). The performances of the ensembles and choirs were delivered with the great liveliness and delight that is passed on from generation to generation. The performances were a true showcase of stunning folk costumes, practiced routines, vocal and instrumental dexterity and are the fruit of the invisible and selfless work of the ethnologists, ethno-choreographers and choreographers, ethnomusicologists, composers, musical adaption experts, and conductors. The competitive portion of the event was followed by a round table discussion with the leaders of the ensembles and the members of the expert panel on performances, folk costumes, and proposals aimed at improving their work and future collaboration. The dance festival was accompanied by a pageant to select a Miss Best Folk Costume from a field of thirteen competitors that proudly wore their best traditional garb. The panel of judges selected the three best, who will go on to take part in next year’s pageant in Tomislavgrad: Ivana Špoljarić of the KUD Fala ensemble, Lorna Cikoja from KUD Kolovrat (Switzerland), and Josipa Mrkonjić of FS Dijaskorak (Germany). The prizes and CHF commendations were presented at the gala evening segment of the festival. Light entertainment into the late hours was provided by the Slavonia Band.
Event organiser Dražen Žugac thanked everyone for participating and supporting the event and announced next year’s incarnation. “These are all folklore enthusiasts that often meet and socialise at the CHF’s School of Croatian Folklore,” Žugac told us, adding that, “there are more and more at these events, which we stage above all to bring folklore enthusiasts together, which is the point of this festival from day one. We are proud of all the young people that keep Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage close to their heart.”
The winning ensembles:
Category: diaspora folklore ensembles: FD Ruža, Filderstadt, 1st Prize; FS Dijaskorak, Offenbach, 2nd Prize; HKUD Kolovrat, Luzern, 3rd Prize
Category: homeland folklore ensembles: KUD Lovro Ježek, Marija Bistrica, 1st Prize; KUD Koledišće, Jezera, 2nd Prize; KUD Magdalena, Donja Kupčina, 3rd Prize.
Category: native folklore: KUD Dangubica, Kuterevo, 1st Prize; KUD Salinovec, 2nd Prize; KUD Ždala, 3rd Prize
The audience award went to KUD Branimir out of Benkovac for their performance of the melodies of Bukovica, the Ravni Kotari region and the Benkovac round dance.
By: Snježana Jurišić
Photography: Željko Cindrić