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Ganga is a type of singing that originated from rural Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro. It is most commonly found in the regions of Herzegovina and Dalmatia, but it can also be heard in Lika, Karlovac and rural areas of western Montenegro. It is characterized by a lone singer singing a single line of lyrics, followed by others joining in, using a vocal style that is best described as a wail.
Ganga is situated mainly in small towns. The culture surrounding Ganga is protected by the Croatian Ministry of Culture to preserve its place in Croatian culture and to encourage its study. Several popular Croatian musicians have incorporated some Ganga into their work.
The folk songs of Duvno are descendants of Ganga music and also study the history of Ganga. The parallels with ojkavica from Dalmatia indicates that Zadar hinterland, Dalmatia, Imotski region and western Herzegovina sang the same type of Ganga.
Ganga is said to originate around the years of 1890-1900 in the area around Imotski and neighbouring Posušje. Ganga evolved from a singing called Brojka, a very simple,archaic type of singing that is said to have roots in Illyrian traditions.
Ganga is an expressive form of singing. Recently has Ganga begun to address political issues, frequently adopting overtly nationalistic overtones and incorporating themes from the Croatian Homeland War. Although both men and women regularly perform Ganga, it is extremely unusual for them to perform together, although it was not unusual for Catholic and Muslim men to perform together.
Ganga is a dissonant form of singing, using two clashing notes to project sound over long distances. For example, if one person is singing a "C" note, a second person sings either a half-step above or below ("B" or "C#"). Ganga is traditionally sung by sheepherders across stretches of valleys, for long-distance communication with each other.
Ganga is sung more in the summer than in the winter, because of the lack of farming in rural areas in the winter.
Rera is a type of singing very similar to Ganga, it is sung around Sinj. Rera is, in rule quicker and louder than Ganga but follows the same rules as Ganga (one singer leads the song,others join in).
Ojkanje refers to the characteristic style of singing with a shaking voice, often described as "from the throat". Elements of local folk singing is usually referred to as old or starovinska singing. Such singing in the Cetina Valley is called ojkavica, in the Dalmatian hinterland ojkavica or ojkača , in Ravni Kotari and Bukovica orzenje - the rouge rozganje and in Hercegovini and Imotski pivanje,brojka or bećarac. It is a remnant of Illyrian singing by local people, retained as part of their identity and history. It originated in Archaic and Medieval times, when the Illyrians were present. "Ganga / kënga" in Albanian (i.e. descendant of the Illyrian language branch) means just "song".
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