“Fiofest 2018”: Celebrating Croatia’s musical heritage as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage

Objavljeno 26.4.2018.

Marking the anniversary of the birth of Dinko Fio, Croatia’s notable 20th-century folk song collector, composer, conductor and music educator, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) is organising the second Fiofest concert. By establishing a tradition of music events in honour of this distinguished Croatian maestro, the Library wishes to promote the work of a man who deserves everlasting credit for his contributions to Croatian culture, bring closer to the wider public Croatia’s folk traditions, provide opportunities for their modern interpretation and encourage the use and evaluation of valuable resources preserved as part of the its Music Collection.

For many decades, maestro Fio (28 April 1924 – 2 November 2011) dedicatedly collected Croatia’s folk songs, thus saving this valuable heritage from oblivion. By reworking and including them in the repertoire of the choirs, klapa singing groups and arts-and-culture associations that he cooperated with, Fio made them fully alive in the context of contemporary Croatian music. He donated his legacy to the Library’s Music Collection, which he frequently visited throughout his life.

The Fiofest 2018 concert programme will include performances by Zagreb-based klapa singing groups Slavić, Obilanca, Ćakulone, Figurin, Bošket, Nostalgija, Sagena, Euterpa and Petrada, Poj from Samobor, and Prvi komin Snježanin, with special guests, the members of a one-time Children’s Choir of Radio-Television Zagreb (Dječji zbor Radiotelevizije Zagreb), which maestro Fio successfully led as choir master between 1961 and 1975 and with which he won the first prize at the 1961 world children’s choir competition in Lille, France.

Croatia’s folklore tradition is its national treasure, but also the treasure of Europe. The old folk songs from its coastal region make an especially valuable part of that treasure, whose significance has been reinforced by the inclusion of klapa multipart singing on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The organisers of Fiofest wish it to grow into a biennial festival of Dalmatian klapa songs and in this way become an event with a long tradition focusing on the preservation and promotion of this part of Croatia’s musical heritage. This year’s Fiofest, which is financially supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, is organised as part of the national programme marking the European Year of Cultural Heritage.