During these two week in July the twenty-four folklorists of the Nova Nada ensemble staged eight performances and visited Plitvice Lakes National Park and the towns and cities of Osijek, Đakovo, Vukovar, Zagreb, Jastrebarsko, Zadar, Nin, Trogir, Šibenik, Marija Bistrica and Varaždin.
The Croatian Heritage Foundation has again this year successfully organised two summer tours of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina featuring folklore ensembles. One of these was the Nova Nada Croatian Folklore Ensemble out of Warren, Michigan in the United States of America. The tour ran for eighteen days and saw its highlight with the group’s participation in the gala parade and performance at the 50th annual Đakovački Vezovi event. See the photo and video gallery at: www.sokacki-portal.com.
During the two weeks of the July tour the Nova Nada folklore group performed at eight venues and also visited Plitvice Lakes National Park and the Croatian cities and towns of Osijek, Đakovo, Vukovar, Zagreb, Jastrebarsko, Zadar, Nin, Trogir, Šibenik, Marija Bistrica and Varaždin. CHF tour leader Snježana Đuričković joined the US participants Banfic Barbara, Cooper Jeanna, Domsic Ann Marie, Elmore Pamela, Franks Tom, Hinckley Margaret, Jakubowski Sarah Lilian, Knox Kerro, Kosta Ariana, Lukicek Mijo Mike, Morand Cathy, Mros Gordon, Mros Laura, Muylle Andrew, Pozderac Nathan, Rudnicki Dragica, Rubnowski Marianne, Silva Ann Marie, Stajninger Brian, Stajninger Zdenka, Talan Anna, Talan Steve, Vocanec Teodor and Walker Anica.
They also paid a visit to the Gradišće Croatian village of Petrovo Selo (Szentpéterfa) in Hungary. There they staged a joint performance with the Koprive Tamburitza Ensemble. This hamlet, namely, is where the Talan family of Nova Nada leaders Steve Talan and his sister Anne Talan draw their roots. The hosts organised an emotional welcome for the US ensemble and the Koprive tamburitza players sang their Love is Invincible (Ljubav je nepobjediva), inspired by a love story involving their ancestors.
The US ensemble performed their songs and dances for the first time ever for audiences gathered in Đakovo for the Đakovački Vezovi event. After the gala parade they took to the main stage near the renowned Roman Catholic cathedral in Đakovo. This was followed by an unforgettable appearance in Vukovar. Three ensembles – Nova Nada from the United States of America, the Croatian Folklore Ensemble Zagreb from Wollongong in Australia and the Dunav Croatian Culture & Music Society of Vukovar – sang and danced together for an emotional performance at the Together for the Water Tower concert on Trg Republike Hrvatske (the main city square) dedicated to the reconstruction of the water tower that became a symbol of Vukovar’s resistance to Serbian aggression during the Homeland War for independence. The group also toured the city, visited the Vukovar Hospital, the Memorial Cemetery and Ovčara, the site of the massacre of Croatian prisoners of war and civilians by Serbian paramilitary forces and the former Yugoslav Army.
Near Zagreb, in the village of Markuševec, our US visitors performed with the Prigorec Croatian Culture & Arts Society before moving on to Jastrebarsko to take the stage together with the local Matica Umirovljenika Culture & Arts Society on Josip Juraj Strossmayer square. The performance in Jastrebarsko was also special as it is the town that ensemble member Mija Mike Lukiček left when he moved abroad at the age of eleven.
In the small town of Nin in the southern Croatian region of Dalmatia the Nova Nada ensemble took part in another brilliantly staged joint performance, this time with the Branimir Culture & Arts Society Tamburitza Orchestra on the local Višeslav square venue.
In the Hrvatsko Zagorje region in northern Croatia the ensemble took part in an evening Roman Catholic mass in folk costume on the occasion of Saint Mary Mother of God of Bistrica Day and the celebration of the local Municipal Day. The Catholic mass was followed by a performance at the best-known Catholic shrine in continental Croatia, on Trg pape Ivana Pavla (Pope John Paul square).
The group was welcomed warmly wherever they went and every performance was followed by a party and socialising with the hosts to late into the evening.
On this year’s tour we had great support from family and friends in Croatia, some of whom have not seen their American friends and relatives for many years. The members of the ensemble said that this tour was an adventure they would love to revisit and we at the Croatian Heritage Foundation are keen to see their wish come true. These meetings should continue and the new friendships should be nurtured.
Text by: Snježana Đuričković; Photos by: Jeanna Cooper, Tom Franks, “Nova nada”