Croatian traditional instruments

Once upon a time when giants lived on the Earth, a man was walking along a river bank. He was alone. Only the wind played around his shoulders, running here and there through the reeds that grew along the riverbank. Suddenly, he heard a strange sound, different from any other sound he had ever heard before. Silence, then the sound again. Silence, then the sound again. With every gust of wind, he would hear the sound, which stopped as the wind abated. The man approached the reeds to discover what creature made such strange sounds. He did not see anything, only one hollow, split reed stem that stood out from the rest. The wind blew again, the reed vibrated and he heard the sound again. The man’s heart was full of joy; he took the broken reed and blew into it. Since that time, he was never alone again.

It was a long, long time ago, at the dawn of the human race, but this relationship between the wind, the reed and Man has lasted until today.

This is how my story begins. Fifteen years ago I did not even dream that ancient, almost forgotten instruments would become my life’s preoccupation. Until then, I had never heard of or seen any of these instruments that I will now present to you. I did not know that they even existed. Now I am making them, playing them and writing about them.  I try to return them to “life” and I cannot imagine my life without them. Thanks to them, I have travelled around the world, have seen beautiful landscapes, met many good people and have peered deeply into the human past through generations of those “strange ones”, who have always lived somewhere on the border between the visible and the invisible world, and who have passed on these instruments for thousands of years from one generation to another until today.

Although the times and the world are different, I believe that even today, somewhere deep in the forest the fairies dance when someone somewhere plays the bagpipes, shepherd’s pipes or at least a twin-reed.

Let us now look at this miraculous world of old Croatian traditional instruments.

Stjepan Večković