UNESCO Croatian intangible cultural heritage
Ojkanje singing, found in the Croatian regions of the Dalmatian hinterland, is performed by singers (male or female) using a distinctive voice-shaking technique created by the throat. Each song lasts as long as the lead singer can hold his or her breath. Melodies are based on limited, mostly chromatic, tonal scales, and the lyrics cover diverse themes ranging from love to current social issues and politics.
Ojkanje owes its survival to organized groups of local tradition bearers who continue to transmit the skills and knowledge, representing their villages at festivals in Croatia and around the world. Although Ojkanje is traditionally passed on orally, audio and video media and organized training within local folklore groups now play an increasing part in its transmission. However, the survival of individual voice-shaking techniques and numerous two-part forms depends greatly on talented, skilful singers and their capacity to perform and to pass on their knowledge to new generations.
Recent conflicts and rural to urban migration that reduced the population of the region and changes in ways of life have caused a sharp decrease in the number of performers, resulting in the loss of many archaic styles and genres of solo singing.
Ministry of Culture