Klapa music is a form of traditional a cappella singing in Dalmatia, Croatia. The word klapa translates as "a group of friends" and traces its roots to littoral church singing. The motifs in general celebrate love, wine (grapes), country (homeland) and sea. Main elements of the music are harmony and melody, with rhythm very rarely being very important. In 2012 klapa was inscribed in UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
A klapa group consists of a first tenor, a second tenor, a baritone, and a bass. It is possible to double all the voices apart from the first tenor. It is usually composed of up to a dozen male singers. In recent times, female vocal groups have been quite popular, but in general male and female groups do not mix.
Although klapa is a cappella music, on occasion it is possible to add a gentle guitar and a mandolin (instrument similar in appearance and sound to tamburitzas). Klapa can also be accompanied with synthesizer keyboards, usually simulating percussion instruments.
The klapa tradition is still very much alive, with new songs composed and festivals held. The Festival of the Dalmatian Klapas in Omiš is the best known music festival and has a long tradition in Klapa music. One of the most successful groups there in recent times is Klapa Šufit, who won the festival for three years in a row 2006-2008. Many young people from Dalmatia treasure klapa and sing it regularly when going out eating or drinking. It is not unusual to hear amateur klapa singing on the streets in the evenings over some food and wine.
In 2013, Croatia has chosen a klapa to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. The klapa group is called Klapa s Mora, and the Croatian entry will be "Mižerja". Klapa s Mora is a "super klapa ensemble" of 6 performers chosen by Maestro Mojmir Čačija from five existing klapa groups, namely two from Kampanel, and one each from Sinj, Crikvenica, Šibenik and Grdelin.
- John Everett-Heath. "Dalmatia." Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. Oxford University Press. 2005. Encyclopedia.com
- Josko Caleta (April 1997). "Klapa Singing, a Traditional Folk Phenomenon of Dalmatia". Narodna umjetnost: Croatian Journal of Ethnology and Folklore Research. Zagreb, Croatia: Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research. 34 (1). ISSN 0547-2504. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
- UNESCO: Klapa multipart singing of Dalmatia, southern Croatia
- Festival of the Dalmatian Klapa in Omis
- "Mižerja to be the Croatian entry in Malmö". eurovision.tv. eurovision.tv. Retrieved 2013-01-16.