Down the Croatian coast – Part II

Although the heat is still overwhelming, Zadar feels like a long time ago! I am now in Bari, Italy, where my mother was born and raised! I’m enjoying the contrast between solitude and being entirely taken care of by my family – amazing food, clean clothes, a bed, shade, and I’ll let you imagine the rest.

After Zadar, I cycled down towards Split, the second major city in Croatia. I was planning on stopping half way in a beautiful natural park called Krka. As I was about to turn of to head inlands for the park, I saw signs for Sibenik advertising it as having been elected a capital of culture in 2003. I had to pause and decide what I’d rather do: see a beautiful park with a river and waterfalls or a town which could be potentially interesting music/sound wise. I looked at the time and decided I could do both! So I raced to Krka bought a ticket and walked towards the waterfalls. By the time I arrived, the park was closing and everyone had left – I had a huge park all to myself! I went round the waterfalls, had a nice swim then climbed back up to where I’d left Doppler.

By the time I got to my bike the sun was about to set – cycling in the south is already dangerous when one can see clearly… So I put my lights on and reflective jacket and darted towards Sibenik. When I got there it was already dark and I needed to find a place to sleep and some food! I guessed that my best bet would be to go along the port. I was right! As I got to the end of the road, I came across a small bar selling sandwiches and beer. Set up just outside was a little stage with cajon and a table on which were lying a violin, a saxophone, a flute, two guitars and an accordeon. Thus, I sat down with a sandwich and a beer waiting for the concert to beginning.

The band was called etnOrkestar and played a series of traditional tunes from all around the world. During their first break I went up to them and did the usual “I’m doing this project you see… and I happen to have everything here to record… Would you like to take part in the project?”. They answered positively. Sadly,  they didn’t have time to play non amplified after the concert for the recording as half the band had to run away to catch a night bus back to Zagreb. Therefore, if I wanted to record it had to be during the concert and that’s just what I did. The two recordings that sounded the best are Limonchiki which is a klezmer song from Odessa (Ukraine) and Hitwhich is a orginal composition by the guitarist of the band (Danijel Maodus).

After the concert, I found a place to sleep on the rocks and left early the next morning. I was heading towards a town called Kastel Sucurac, 15km from Split. In this town, Ruzina had got in contact with me and invited me to come to visit Sensoria, his studio which is under construction. He is building it in the wine cellar of house belonging to his family. The project is to create a creative space for european wide projects i.e bands come down to record and work in collaboration with Ruzina whilst having a nice little holiday in Croatia. A project I obviously fully suport and invite everyone I have recorded so far to get in contact with Ruzina when the studio’s finished!

Ruzina kindly invited me to stay at his place and gave me some contacts for Split. The next day I hit the big city! I stayed there two nights but ended up not doing much as I was working on a piece for Rubbernaut. Nonetheless, I visited the beautiful town and went for a few swims. On the last evening, I was invited to record one of the last rehearsals of representation of Nabucco, an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. The dressed rehearsal took place in one of the most beautiful squares in the old palace called Peristyle. It was all closed to public and, as I walked in I was surprised to see the grandeur of the set. There was a full orchestra and 20 or 30 people on stage. Unfortunately, as it was an important rehearsal I didn’t want to bother anyone with my recording and wasn’t able to position microphones where I wanted to. Thus, the recordings didn’t turn out well and would rather not share them with you as it would ruin the beauty of the performance. Just use your imagination!

The next day, I set out for Dubrovnik and the rest is for part III.

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