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The Tambura Tradition - 16th SF Tamburitza Festival

  Sat - Sun, Feb 14-15, 2015         7:30 PM        $15,$12 advance, Children free: Two Days of Music: See schedule

Event Details

tamfestflyer_300For the past decade and a half,  the Croatian American Cultural Center has annually showcased the best tamburitza music in California and presented nationally renowned tamburitza orchestras. The *Tambura Tradition has been part of San Franisco history since at least 1902. On President's Day weekend each February; the San Francisco Bay Area is filled with singing, dancing, and the music of the tamburitza. For two days the halls reverberate with a rich tapestry of tambura music both traditional and contemporary. The ensembles perform for listening, play dance tunes, polkas and waltzes and circle dances, and sing Becar tunes until the bar closes late at night.

The festival headliner, SINOVI of Chicago, has taken tambura out of the village and has adapted it to life in the new world. For more than two decades, the Sinovi trademark has been to mix traditional Croatian music with country-western, bluegrass and rock-and-roll. Also, performing will be Sidro Tamburitza Orchestra, Slavonian Traveling Band with Lilla Serlegi, and St Anthony's Tamburica Orchestra.

Two Days of Music, Dancing and Singing

Feb 14: The Tambura Hungarian Tradition & Welcome Dance 7:30PM. Bring your Valentine!  Jerry Duke teaches kolos. Sinovi plays for dancing. For special treat Eszterlanc Hungarian Folk Ensemble performs to tamburitza music. Ethnic food and drink will be available.

Feb 15: Concert, Dancing, Sing-a-long 12PM-8PM.  After the Concert by Sinovi, there will be a special Remembrance and Tribute for Caroline Bahr. Everyone is invited to sing several of her favorite songs to the playing of all the tamburasi. Food and drink will be available.



SINOVI Orchestra of Chicago...

It's only partially true that the SINOVI Tamburica Orchestra of Chicago, which consists of Joe and Nick Gornick, and Steve and Joe Kirin, was formed in 1978. It's also partially true that the group was created in the Croatian cities and villages of Zagreb, Zlobin, Gospic, Ostrc, Vrbovsko, Sveti Martin and the Island of Brac. And in Chicago, Joliet, Alsip and Wood River, Illinois; Gary, Indiana; and Pueblo, Colorado, as well. You see, "sinovi" is Croatian for "sons," so this orchestra is part of an unbroken circle that began to take shape long before any of its members can remember. They're carrying on the traditions of their great-grandparents, their grandparents, their parents and the countless people who packed their hopes and dreams into trunks and headed from wherever they lived in the Old Country to wherever they settled in America. Since the guys from SINOVI were children, they have been playing the music of these people—their songs of love and loss.

A mutual love of the instruments they play, the tambura, caused their lives to intersect. Most of they guys learned to play tambura, and gain appreciation for music and entertaining, from their musician fathers who passed on their love of this magical instrument and musical tradition. SINOVI doesn't play only Croatian songs for audiences, however. In much the same way that their ancestors left Europe for North America, SINOVI has taken tambura out of the village and has adapted it to life in the new world. For more than two decades, SINOVI's trademark has been to mix traditional Croatian music with country-western, bluegrass and rock-and-roll. They've written their own songs and have learned others by everyone from John Denver, Frank Sinatra and Paul McCartney to top performers from the Old Country, like Kico Slabinac, Oliver Dragojevic and Miro Skoro—all in the interest of keeping people entertained and making the sweet sound of the tambura accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

During performances throughout the last 35 plus years, SINOVI has taken listeners from the plains of Slavonia, the hills of Zumberak and the sun-bleached coast of Dalmatia to the mountains of Colorado, the street fairs of Chicago and the clubs of Liverpool, and back. They share with audiences the music of where they came from and of where—and who—they are. SINOVI takes you on a round trip, full circle.

*Origin of the Tambura:

Tambura's origins can be traced back to Europe the mid-1800s, when along the central Danube River and its tributaries, tamburasi (tambura musicians) began to form ensembles. While it is believed that Hungarian Roma were the first to play tambura instruments in groups modeled on their famous violin ensembles, the first known ensemble was formed in 1847 in Osijek in eastern Croatia. They played a repertoire much like that known today: Croatian folk songs, and circle dances, folk songs and dances from neighboring peoples, light classical songs and instrumental pieces, and popular music of the day.

Five instruments are key to tambura music: the small lead prima (or bisernica), the alto brac (or basprim), the tenor celo, the chordal bugarija or kontra, and the large fretted bas or berde. It is not unusual to find other instruments in a tambura orchestra; violin and accordion are most common.

When massive immigration from eastern Europe to North America peaked in the years 1870-1910, tambura ensembles began to make their appearance in the immigrant's new country. The first known American ensemble was active in the early 1890s around Steelton, Pennsylvania. 

The first tambura ensemble in San Francisco was organized in 1902 when Ilar Spiletak, a carpenter from Dubrovnik, started the Tamburitza Orkestar "Zvonimir"


Two Days of Music, Dancing and Singing at the SF Tamburitza Festival

Feb 14: Welcome Dance 7:30PM

7:30 Hristo serves food. 

7:30 Jerry Duke teaches kolos

8:30 Sinovi of Chicago plays for dancing 

9:15 Eszterlanc Hungarian Folk Ensemble

9:30 Sinovi of Chicago plays  

Feb 15: Concert, Dancing, Sing-a-long 12PM-8PM

12PM - Food ready 

1:00  How tambura styles have changed over the past 150 years -  Presentation by John Morovich

2:00 Sinovi of Chicago - concert

3:00 Tribute to Caroline Bahr - Sing-a-long of her five favorite songs. Words provided.

3:30 Sinovi of Chicago plays kolos

4:00 Lilla Serlegi & Ferenc Tobak

4:15 Slavonian Traveling Bands plays kolos

4:45 St Anthony Tamburica Orchestra 

5:30 Sidro 

6:30 Sinovi plays for dancing                  Sing-a-long in the bar:   6:30  Sidro

                                                                                                       7:30  Sinovi & everyone 


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