Heritage is alive and well
Dalmatian music lovers will get a sneak preview of the Dargaville Tambaritza Orchestra's upcoming performance in Hamilton, when the group performs a "dress rehearsal" concert this weekend.
The band will head to Hamilton for the Garden Arts Festival on February 17 and the "dress rehearsal" will be a mini-fundraiser to get the members there.
Dalmatian music is traditional village music from Croatia's coast.
Nicholas Puharich has been involved with the band since 1946 and is the last remaining founding member.
"I'm part of the furniture," he laughs.
He says Dalmatian music stems from the days when villagers used to tend their sheep and goats.
"They had very little recreational music then."
He says the music goes hand in hand with a lot of singing and dancing.
"It's a very happy atmosphere for all different festive seasons," he says.
The orchestra uses special Dalmatian stringed instruments.
The berda, (double bass) keeps the main timing, the guitar-shaped bugarija (the j is pronounced as a y), then keep time with the berda.
Then there's the main melody instruments - the brach, and two smaller ‘guitars' with the largest names - the bisernica and constrashica.
The instruments are old and all come from the Stipan Gild family from Sisak, near Zagreb, which has been turning them out for five generations.
There are 14 instruments in a full Dalmatian orchestra and Mr Puharich says the orchestra is the only four-string complete orchestra in the Southern Hemisphere.
"It's unique and we're very proud of that fact," he says.
Anyone coming along to the concert can expect a combination of traditional Dalmatian music interspersed with modern waltz tunes.
"It should be quite an interesting afternoon," Mr Puharich says.
What: Dargaville Tambaritza Orchestra
Where: Dalmatian Hall, Dargaville
When: Sunday, February 10, 3pm
Cost: Gold coin donation.