The traditional a cappella music of Dalmatian klapas

A traditional Dalmatian klapa

The music of klapas is a traditional type of multipart a cappella singing found in the Croatian coastal region of Dalmatia. The word klapa broadly means “a group of friends”. It is widely accepted that the origins of klapa music can be traced back to liturgical singing. The klapa songs range in motifs – they celebrate family, love and female beauty, native grapes and wine, as well as the homeland and life-giving sea.

Klapas usually consist of up to a dozen male or, less frequently, female singers. A typical klapa is made up of the first and second tenors, a baritone and a bass. There can be only one lead singer in a klapa, and that role is assigned to the first tenor.

Being an indelible part of life in Dalmatia, klapas can be found singing in the streets of coastal towns throughout summer. A number of klapa festivals are held in Croatia every year. In 2012, the music of Croatian klapas was included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Yes, Dalmatians are good singers! Enjoy our common heritage …