“My Beautiful Dalmatian song”: (Re)connecting Serbia and Dalmatia at Concerts of Dalmatian Performers in Belgrade


  • Ana Petrov


SFR Yugoslavia, 1950s, (post-)Yugoslav culture, Yugo-nostalgia, 2000s, Dalmatia, Dalmatian popular music, Split Festival, Opatija Festival, Serbia


Less than a decade after the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, some musicians from the former country started giving concerts in new post-Yugoslav spaces, provoking divergent reactions. One particular kind of musician has drawn the attention of audiences in Serbia: musicians from Dalmatia whose music is recognized as “typically Dalmatian”. Even though the texts of many of these songs refer to Dalmatia (and Croatia) itself, to a town in Dalmatia, or to Dalmatian music (such as Dalmatinska lipa pismo moja [‘My Beautiful Dalmatian Song’]), this kind of music was never marked as “nationalistic” or “Croatian” in Serbia and former Yugoslavia. On the contrary, it provokes positive feelings related to universal categories (love, past, youth, summer), and can also trigger specific Yugonostalgic recollections. I here discuss the reception of Dalmatian music in contemporary Serbia by pointing to ways in which the concept of Dalmatian music has changed since Yugoslav times, and by showing how these changes correspond with divergent political contexts that have shaped the ways this music is listened to. I analyse two kinds of concerts held in Belgrade in 2000s: those clearly labelled as Dalmatian, such as More, more: Veče dalmatinskih pesama (‘Sea, sea: An Evening of Dalmatian Songs’), and those given by various singers from Dalmatia.