El canto ojkanje


Inscrito en 2010 (5.COM) en la Lista del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial que requiere medidas urgentes de salvaguardia

© 2008 by Ministry of Culture

El canto ojkanje a dos voces, cuya práctica está extendida por las comarcas del interior de la región dálmata de la República de Croacia, lo interpretan dos o más cantantes (hombres o mujeres) con una vibración peculiar de la voz producida con la garganta. El canto dura tanto tiempo como el que pueda aguantar el cantante principal sin respirar. Las escalas tonales de las melodías son limitadas y esencialmente cromáticas, y su letra abarca temas muy diversos, desde el amor hasta las cuestiones políticas y sociales de actualidad. El canto ojkanje ha sobrevivido gracias a grupos organizados de depositarios locales de este arte tradicional, que siguen transmitiendo sus conocimientos y técnicas y representando a sus pueblos de origen en festivales de Croacia y otros países del mundo. Aunque el canto ojkanje se suele transmitir oralmente, los medios audiovisuales y el aprendizaje organizado en el seno de grupos folclóricos locales están desempeñando un papel cada vez más importante en su transmisión. Sin embargo, la supervivencia de las técnicas del vibrato individual y de numerosas formas del canto a dos voces depende, en gran medida, de la existencia de intérpretes dotados de talento y competencia que sean capaces de aplicar sus conocimientos y transmitirlos a las generaciones más jóvenes. A los conflictos del pasado reciente y a la emigración de la población rural a las ciudades, que han ocasionado un descenso del número de habitantes de la región, ha venido a añadirse la evolución del modo de vida. Todo esto ha traído consigo una brusca disminución del número de intérpretes y la desaparición de muchos géneros y estilos antiguos de canto en solo.

Informe periódico

Report on the status of an element inscribed on the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding

A. Cover sheet


State Party

Name of State Party



Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession

This information is available online.

Date of deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession



Element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List that is the subject of this report

Name of element

Report of Croatia on the status of the ICH element "Ojkanje singing"

Inscribed in


Submitting State(s)



Reporting period covered by this report

Please indicate the period covered by this report.


Other elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, if any

Please list all other elements from your country inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, together with the year of inscription; for multinational elements, please indicate the other States concerned.


Executive summary of the report

Please provide an executive summary of the report that will allow general readers to understand the current status of the element, any positive or negative impacts of inscription, the implementation of safeguarding measures during the reporting period and their possible update for the following years.


Contact person for correspondence

Provide the name, address and other contact information of the person responsible for correspondence concerning the report.

Title (Ms/Mr, etc.)


Family name


Given name



Ethnographique and Intangible Cultural Heritage Department


Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Heritage
Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia
Runjaninova 2
10000 Zagreb

Telephone number

+38514866503; +38514866609

E-mail address


Other relevant information



B. Status of element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List

Refer to the nomination file or to previous reports, if any, as the basis for reporting on the current status of the element, and report only on relevant changes since the date of inscription on the List or since the previous report. Nomination files, specific timetables and earlier reports, if any, are available at https://ich.unesco.org or from the Secretariat, upon request.

The State Party shall pay special attention to the role of gender and shall endeavour to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report, and is asked to describe how it has done so in point D below.


Social and cultural functions

Please explain the social and cultural functions and meanings of the element today, within and for its community, the characteristics of the bearers and practitioners, and any specific roles or categories of persons with special responsibilities towards the element, among others. Attention should be given to any relevant changes related to inscription criterion U.1 (‘the element constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in Article 2 of the Convention’).

Social and cultural functions

The four-year period behind us was marked by events that had a significant impact on the activities related to the ojkanje singing.
In the first period (2018-2020), the course of activities was according to the schedule thanks mostly to the significant media exposure which was the consequence of the inscription on the "UNESCO List". The tradition, which in many cases suffered interruptions for generations, was brought back to life with performances of older performers, but also of new individuals who dared and tried to master the demanding singing techniques typical for ojkanje singing. Mentioning of this musical phenomenon in public increased the interest of new generations in the tradition, towards which they had a predominantly negative attitude before because they considered it different and “provincial” compared to the current standard ways of making music. The relevance of that has also been recognised by educational institutions such as the Academy of Music in Zagreb, which in 2018, introduced the course titled: Traditional Music Ensemble. The students who attend this course have the opportunity to learn and perform archaic music styles and genres predominantly ojkanje singing. The learning methods in this case are similar to the methods of traditional knowledge transfer (listening, imitating the singing manners of prominent singers and vocal groups).
It must be pointed out that the bearers of the tradition of ojkanje are prominent singers, who acquired their knowledge by direct learning – by imitating the performances of their predecessors. Their knowledge is even more valuable today despite the fact that the modern way of living, that in the past decades fully replaced the traditional one, has left a big mark on the development of the traditional culture of the village, including the older forms of traditional singing, such as ojkanje. The inscription on the UNESCO List inspired them to share their knowledge with other members of their local communities. Now, the even perform together and present their remarkable skills. Unlike in the past when they shared their skills only with their closest ones, today they themselves are aware of the fact that without the involvement of the wider community, their skills would be forgotten. Singing workshops have thus become spots where the singing knowledge and skills are presented to participants with their active participation. Thanks to the available information and the support of the Ministry of Culture and Media that provides support and financial assistance for vocal workshops, a large number of urban young people wants to try their singing skills.
All of this was abruptly interrupted by the global outbreak of COVID-19, which had a huge impact on the entire music and dance tradition, including ojkanje singing. During the gap of almost two years, a large number of prominent older singers passed away, numerous festivals and meetings did not take place, and due to strict measures, no gatherings were permitted, and they are a prerequisite for keeping the ojkanje singing alive. In 2022, the situation has recovered to the level before the COVID-19 outbreak, but the consequences are still there. Activities of many societies were interrupted during that period and now it is difficult to restart. Many festivals and events are held again, which is a great encouragement to the prominent singers to start presenting their skills publicly. The steps towards returning to the "old" have been made. However it takes a great deal of support from the wider community, which is recognised by the Ministry of Culture and Media and supported to the best of the Ministry’s ability. Once again, the decisive role of the local community has been emphasised, because the local community was ready to implement the project of protection, maintenance and popularisation of the ojkanje singing after the inscription. The long break affected the dynamics and development of the protection measures, but it is thanks to these protection measures that the recovery has been much faster and more successful.


Assessment of its viability and current risks

Please describe the current level of viability of the element, particularly the frequency and extent of its practice, the strength of traditional modes of transmission, the demographics of practitioners and audiences and its sustainability. Please also identify and describe the threats, if any, to the element's continued transmission and enactment and describe the severity and immediacy of such threats, giving particular attention to any strengthening or weakening of the element’s viability subsequent to inscription.

Assessment of its viability and current risks

The local folklore ensembles (lokalna kulturno umjetnička društva, KUD) are still the most prominent bearers of this tradition. By contacting them during the preparation of this report, we noticed many common factors that they specified as very important for the continuity of the existence of the ojkanje singing. In their reports, they generally point out that their goal is to preserve, protect and present the traditions of the ojkanje singing in an appropriate way. They find public events (shows and festivals) to be a crucial means of communication (they include trips and socialising during joint dinners with all participants), without which the ojkanje singing could not survive today. Furthermore, the bearers of the tradition point out that the organisation of gatherings in which the new generations also participate is more complex and demanding, because of the discrepancy between the the more modest needs of the bearers of the tradition of the older generation and those of the young ones. Young generations are used to the presentation models offered to them by numerous media on a daily basis, so it is sometimes difficult to reconcile their wishes and actual possibilities of the organisers. It must be emphasised that in the communities with the successful coexistence of younger and older generations is successful (Kuterevo, Lika), enviable and high-quality activity of the entire community can be observed. After the COVID-10 outbreak, a large number of festivals and events have been revived. They require support of both the Ministry and the local and regional community to keep them alive. The majority of such events take place in the central areas where the phenomenon firs occurred (Ravni Kotari, Dalmatian Hinterland, Region of Cetina and Imotski (Cetinska and Imotska Krajina)), but also in peripheral areas such as Lika and especially the Karlovac region. It must be pointed out that the Lika area has become one of the centres of the ojkanje singing thanks to the regional festival and workshops that are organised regularly (in a virtual and reduced form even during the COVID-19 outbreak). A large number of young people who are interested in the tradition of their predecessors successfully continue this tradition through singing, performing, but also researching. Great interest in tradition led to the establishment of the Interpretation Centre of Dinaric Culture at Pučko otvoreno učilište u Otočcu (Communal Educational Institution in Otočac) that will try to coordinate the current positive situation in this area. Specialized festivals such as the meeting of players on traditional musical instruments in Karlovac (Večer selskih gucov), where the local form of the ojkanje singing (rozganje) is an integral part of the event, or the Exhibition of Croatian Male Singing Groups in Ivanić, where male groups that cultivate this musical expression are presented, are also important for presentation of the ojkanje singing. All these public events and media presentation of the ojkanje singing gradually break prejudices about ojkanje as the singing technique reserved exclusively for the older generation, as well as the misunderstanding of the basic term ojkanje, which represents a technique and not a specific musical genre


Implementation of safeguarding measures

Please report on the safeguarding measures described in the nomination file, and previous report, if any. Describe how they have been implemented and how they have substantially contributed to the safeguarding of the element during the reporting period, taking note of external or internal constraints such as limited resources. Include, in particular, information on the measures taken to ensure the viability of the element by enabling the community to continue to practise and transmit it. Include the following detailed information concerning the implementation of the set of safeguarding measures or safeguarding plan:


Objectives and results

Indicate what primary objective(s) were addressed and what concrete results were attained during the reporting period.

Objectives and results

The key role in addressing the primary objectives was played by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia that also actively participated in the activities during the reporting period. The Department for Ethnographic and Intangible Cultural Heritage, in cooperation with Conservation Institutes throughout Croatia, monitors the situation in the field and provides financial assistance to various forms of activities, including the ojkanje singing. These activities mostly include festivals and events that are organised on the national or regional level. Furthermore, in accordance with the expert (ethnologists and ethnomusicologists), the aforementioned department helps establishing or reviving meetings and festivals, many of which have the term ojkanje in their titles (Večer ojkavice (evening of ojkanje singing), Smotra ojkanja (ojkanje signing event), Ojkavice pismo od davnine (ojkanje, songs from the past) and Festival ojkavice (ojkanje singing festival)). It has to be noted that besides the older performers, there is also a certain number of younger bearers of the tradition who also perform in these evenings. This is and indicator that this musical phenomenon, although contextually quite different from the contemporary musical idioms, still has a bright future. The younger bearers of the tradition inspire their peers by their example, although it is a slow and arduous process that requires cooperation within a wider community. There are several associations that very actively participate in the organization of workshops and the research of this musical phenomenon (Ojkamine) although they do not originate from these areas. It is worth noting that foreign singers/researchers who find their inspiration in this singing technique show interest in it, like the young Poles who organised an ojkanje singing workshop in the village of Islam Grčki in May 2022. The workshop was based on their research. All of the above points to the fact that, thanks to the inscription on the UNESCO List, the ojkanje singing has slowly become a phenomenon that is talked about and thought about as music and not as "noise", which was earlier not the case. In this respect, the general attitude towards the ojkanje singing is more positive today, although there were situations in which the ojkanje singing was used to convey sarcastic messages about primitivism and narrow-mindedness. In addition to the support the Ministry of Culture and Media provides for organising of the festivals and events and vocal workshops, it also supports various media releases (DVD, CD) which are usually recorded and published by the bearers of the tradition themselves. There is a large number of DVD and especially CD editions that are produced by folklore ensembles in various ways (from amateur to professional productions) for the purpose of promoting distinguished bearers of the tradition. Likewise, the Ministry of Culture and Media supports actions initiated by associations, individuals and scientists who research and (sound) record this tradition. This especially refers to the post-pandemic period in which the support of this type is more than welcome. After the two-year of isolation, the bearers of the tradition desperately need cooperation in the form of any external contact. By visiting small local communities, researchers emphasise the importance of the skills found in those communities, which gives them new strength to continue their activities. The result of this is the establishment of the reference/interpretation centre in the area that is currently most active (Lika). There are also indications that in the next period one of the interpretation centres is to be opened in the village of Dicmo in Dalmatinska Zagora (Dalmatian Hinterland). This centre should also be the main meeting place for the bearers of the tradition, a knowledge centre, where the transfer of knowledge takes place and where the recorded knowledge is stored.


Safeguarding activities

List the key activities that were carried out during this reporting period in order to achieve these expected results. Please describe the activities in detail and note their effectiveness or any problems encountered in implementing them.

Safeguarding activities

It is evident from the reports of the regional conservation institutes that for this occasion listed the activities in their respective areas, that there is a significant activity (visible in the number of organised workshops, events and festivals). The performances of the ojkanje singing can be subdivided into three levels: performances at festivals and events on the state level (International Folklore Festival – Zagreb, Đakovački vezovi – Đakovo; Vinkovačke jeseni – Vinkovci), performances at regional folklore festivals (Dalmatia Folklore Festival in Metković, Brodsko kolo – Slavonski Brod) and performances at folklore festivals on the county level (Lik-senj County Folklore Festival in Otočac, "Igra Kolo” Folklore Festival of the Karlovac County in Ogulin, Zadar County Folklore Festival in Zadar, “Šibeniče, ti si stina“ County Folklore Festival in Šibenik). Recently, several local events have been organised where it is possible to hear the ojkanje singing, e.g. Folklore Festival in Polača, the Folklore Festival in Lišani Ostrovički, Evening of ojkanje singing in Blizna Donja, "Ojkanje Singing Festival" – Miljevci, "The Old Chest is Open" – Muć, "Days of St. Jacob" – Mirlović Zagora.
As in the previous period, one of the emergency measures was the "classic" approach to learning that has been practised in these areas for centuries – transfer of knowledge by imitating the performance of older, experienced singers. Sometimes these workshops are organized as part of an event/festival because it represents an opportunity to meet prominent singers who also perform on that occasion. Due to the lack of a large number of professionally trained persons who would act as educators, this method has become the basic method of passing the knowledge only now it takes place in "controlled" situations at workshops and gatherings organised by local communities with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Media. The most visited ojkanje singing workshops are those in Otočac (Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište), Metković (KUD „Metković“) and Zagreb (Ojkamine). A special event of this kind it the workshop titled the Rainbow over the Tower (Krka), where experts from two neighbouring countries (Croatia – Joško Ćaleta, Serbia – Sanja Ranković) collaborate with the help of prominent singers of both religions (Eastern Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics) with the purpose of learning about the tradition of the ojkanje signing from Bukovica and Ravni Kotari. It must be emphasised that the minority of the participants in these workshops come from the local villages where the ojkanje singing technique is common. The population in the villages is rapidly decreasing, so the village population is getting older. However the young people living in towns have the need to try out this technique. The reason for this is the high media exposure of the ojkanje singing, which has also induced organisation of the workshops in urban areas (Zagreb, Split) where an increasing number of people that are not part of this tradition in any way try to master various ojkanje singing techniques. One such workshop organised in Zagreb in 2016, resulted in a course at the Academy of Music, as well as the Harmonija Disonance Ensemble. The repertoire of this ensemble now includes a whole range of examples of musical styles and genres from the Dinaric region (rera, brojkavica, okavica, treskovica, ojkalica) and today serves is a role model for many emerging vocal groups.
Furthermore, it must be noted that the international cooperation is slowly being established with areas where similar musical phenomena. The holder of one such project is Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište Otočac (Communal Educational Institutions in Otočac) that joined the Erasmus+ project titled "Network of UNESCO Cultural Spaces" in 2020. Besides Gaco pučko otvoreno učilište Otočac as the main partner in the projects and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research as an associate partner there are 7 other institutions from 6 countries that joined this project: Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia and Portugal. As part of this project, in each of the partner countries, one training is held organised related to the presentation of intangible cultural heritage under the protection of UNESCO and various practices of managing that heritage. The training that will be held in Croatia in February 2023, will include presentation of the ojkanje singing as form of musical expression.


Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

Describe how communities, groups or, if appropriate, individuals as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have effectively participated, including in terms of gender roles, in the safeguarding measures. Describe the role of the implementing organization or body (name, background, etc.) and the human resources that were available for implementing safeguarding activities.

Participation of communities, groups or individuals in the safeguarding activities

The answer to this question will be best supported by the concrete reports from the regional institutes of the Ministry of Culture and the Media, which provide detailed information on activities within their scope of activity (Imotski Conservation Department, Karlovac Conservation Department, Šibenik Conservation Department, Zadar Conservation Department, Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište, Pučko otvoreno učilište Gospić, Museum of Turopolje, Ethnographic Museum in Dubrovnik, Tourist Board of Drniš). Their reports show the activity or lack of activity of certain areas where the ojkanje signing as a form of musical expression is present. A concrete example is report submitted by the folklore ensemble "Miljevci" near Drniš. It is the best illustration of the situation in the field. The list of their activities includes all public performances in the past period. Therefore, it can be noted that this folklore ensemble performed 8 times in 2018 and 7 times in 2019. In 2020, there were no performances due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In 2021, there were only two performances because the performances were also avoided due to the same reason as in 2020. However, in 2022, the ensemble performed again 7 times. Similar indicators can also be read from the reports submitted by other holders and institutions that implement measures aiming at preservation of the ojkanje singing in standard social circumstances systematically and continuously. When analysing all the collected data on the status of this cultural heritage, it is evident that the activities of transferring and preservation of this tradition stagnated during 2020 and 2021, whereas in 2022, the planned plans and work schedules aiming at the promotion, transfer and preservation of the ojkanje singing started to be carried out again.



Indicate in a timetable when each activity was implemented.


In the period from 2018 to 2022, Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište Otočac organised five seminars on topic of the music and dance culture of the Dinaric area. The seminars were organised with the financial support of the the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Otočac. At the three-day seminars, which gather between 60 and 130 participants, leaders and members of folklore ensembles are introduced to the musical and dance expressions relevant to the Dinaric cultural zone, including the ojkanje singing.
An overview of the activities of the folklore ensemble "Novae”, where "traveller's singing" was presented at various cultural events in Croatia and abroad in the period from 1 January 2018 through 30 September 2022: The Night of Runović (Osijek), International Folklore Festival (Podbablje), Ojkavica Festival (Blizna Donja),The Folklore Night (Runović), The Night of Folklor, St. Elijah (Tihaljina BIH), Celebration of St. Lawrence (Zmijavci).
The folklore ensemble “Miljevci” presented its activities per years. The ojkanje singing was performed in 2018 (at 12th County Folklore festival “Šibeniče, ti si stina“ – Šibenik, The 2nd Festival of players of traditional instruments “Dinaridi 2018” – Kijevo, 52nd Đakovački vezovi” – Đakovo, 4th Day of the Town of Gospić 2018 – Gospić, at the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Promina 2018 – Oklaj, “Zagora Kaštelanima“ – Kaštel Stari, The Folklore Nights “Miljevačke užance“ – Miljevci, “Ojkavica Festival“ – Miljevci), 2019 ( 13th County Folklore Festival “Šibeniče, ti si stina“ – Šibenik, „17th obreško janjinje“ – Odranski Obrež, „The Nights of Zagora“ – Solin, Folklore Festival – Primošten, Ojkanje Festival „Ojkavicu 'ko želi pivati u Lišane neka se navrati“ – Lišane Ostrovičke, “Miljevačke užance“ Folklore Nights– Miljevci and “Ojkavica Festival” – Miljevci). In 2020 there were no performances because of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the performances continued in 2021 (16th “Zagora Kaštelanima” Festival – Kaštel Novi and „Ojkavica Festival” – Miljevci; other performances were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak) and 2022 (37th “Na Neretvu misečina pala“ Folklore Festival – Metković, 19th “Stara je škrinja otvorena“ International Folklore Festival – Muć, “Days of St. Jacob” – Mirlović, Summer of Culture in Primošten, “Oj Krenico 'ko te ne bi pio…” Folklore Nights – Gala, “Miljevačke užance” Folklore Nights – Miljevci and “Ojkavica Festival” – Miljevci).
2018 – 2022 The folklore festival is a place where the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Lika-Senj County and the Dinaric cultural zone is presented, including the ojkanje singing as a musical expression, and it is the only fair of this scope in the county. Besides the County Folklore Festival, Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište Otočac has also been organizing the Lika Small Vocal Ensemble Festival since 2019. The festival was held for the fourth time in 2022, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Otočac. In the category of original compositions, folklore ensembles also perform the ojkanje singing. The performer include both men and women from original folklore ensembles.
The Centre of Dinaric Culture Otočac is a new organisational unit of Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište Otočac. It was founded at the end of 2021 with an aim of preserving and promoting cultural heritage in the Dinara region. The Centre focuses on the research and promotion of the heritage of the entire Dinara region, with an emphasis on the area of Lika-Senj County. Following the establishing of the Centre, all activities of Gacko pučko otvoreno učilište Otočac related to the promotion of intangible cultural heritage and the ojkanje singing fall now within the scope of the activities of the Centre. After the initial phase in which the Centre will focus on research and documenting activities, the ojkanje singing as a musical expression will be included in other activities/activities of the Centre as well.


Budget expenditures

Provide the detailed amounts of the funds used for the implementation of each activity (if possible, in US dollars), identifying the funding source for each (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).


The cost of programs related to the ojkanje singing as cultural heritage financed through the Protection and Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage Program of the Ministry of Culture and Media from 2018 to 2022 amounted to USD 32,636 (2018 – USD 4,184, 2019 USD 2,510, 2020 – USD 2,790, 2021 – USD 9,065 and 2022 – USD 14,086). Additionally, according to the available data, the city of Drniš funded the ojkanje singing performances in the amount of USD 12,550 in the period 2018 through 2022.
Although we do not have exact data on the precise amounts of funding, performances encouraging the ojkanje singing, educational workshops, seminars and other types of activities that provide transmission, visibility and promotion, the financial participation and interest of the administrative bodies of counties, cities and municipalities in the area where this technique is common is clearly visible. Also, the financial contribution of the institutions that operate in the fields of culture and heritage in the areas where the ojkanje singing is common can also be observed. These institutions include communal educational institutions, tourist boards of cities and municipalities, as well as various local cultural centres that, through their programs, participate in the co-financing of various types of activities that indirectly contribute to the preservation of ojkanje, such as: the activities of folklore ensembles, through programs of traditional culture in general; informal education and the organisation of traditional crafts workshops; the release of video and film productions and publications.


Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

Provide an overall assessment of the effectiveness of the activities undertaken to achieve the expected results and of the efficiency of the use of funds for implementing the activities. Please indicate how the activities contributed to achieving the results and whether other activities could have contributed better to achieving the same results. Also indicate whether the same results could have been achieved with less funding, whether the human resources available were appropriate and whether communities, groups and individuals could have been better involved.

Overall effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

In this reporting period, the COVID-19 outbreak caused a huge problem and many activities that were planned, and financial resources provided, could not be implemented. This report covers a four-year period. In the first two year of the reporting period (2020-2021), absolutely all important stakeholders involved in the work of cultural institutions, cultural and artistic associations, schools, as well as the holders of this cultural heritage and experts in this musical field were prevented from normal work to a great extent (almost completely).
A general conclusion has been accepted and all stakeholders agree that the inscription of the ojkanje singing on the UNESCO list requires additional engagement in professional, financial and any other applicable form in order to enable execution of conservation and revitalisation measures of this element as concretely as possible, especially in areas where this element is almost extinct. Further preservation requires further research, work on field documentation and professional evaluation by ethnomusicologists and folklore experts. Work on the training of professional personnel and work with the bearers of this tradition is of crucial importance in order to ensure further transfer of knowledge of the ojkanje singing within local communities, primarily to young people and the future generation of bearers.
Previous preservation measures and work have helped stop negative trends and stabilise the state of the element. The good practice examples of preservation have increased slightly, and the interest of local communities in conservation programs is stable. Additionally, positive results are brought about by work on recognising and recording new bearers whose performances serve as new models that young generations can learn from. Furthermore, the good results are also confirmed by eagerness and enthusiasm of all bearers to write down their knowledge and to pass it systematically on to new young generations. Good work on organising various forms of transfer of knowledge has continued. The transfer of knowledge is organised in cooperation with the bearers of this tradition element. A significant increase of interest in learning the ojkanje singing has been observed among the younger generations, as well as an interest in preserving this tradition, which is certainly an encouraging fact. The highest level of engagement in teaching and passing on the tradition is still with members of folklore ensembles within local communities, and the most common method of transmission of the skill and knowledge is still imitating of singers who are members of the folk ensembles or locally prominent individuals who are bearers of the tradition. The improvement in both the quality and quantity of documentation, especially audio and video recordings related to various folklore and music festivals, is evident, which is also the encouraging information.
Local communities and individuals where the ojkanje singing is a tradition now show respect to this musical form. The ojkanje singing is no longer considered a symbol of backwardness and underdevelopment. There is also a noticeable increase in the allocation of financial resources at the local and regional level, which are used to subsidise and support preservation activities and on the very presentation and promotion of the heritage as a recognisable tradition of that area. There is also an increasing number of the singing festival launched at the local and regional level. Their purpose is preservation this intangible heritage.
All the above mentioned and other measures largely contributed to the preservation of the ojkanje singing. However, the promotion would be even better if cultural and artistic organisations had more funds available for participation in folklore festival outside their hometowns or villages. This would enable ensembles and organisations promoting the ojkanje singing and other traditional forms of expression that they try to preserve to even wider public, and not only at the local level.



C. Update of the safeguarding measures


Updated safeguarding plan

Please provide an update of the safeguarding plan included in the nomination file or in the previous report. In particular provide detailed information as follows:

  1. a. What primary objective(s) will be addressed and what concrete results will be expected?
  2. b. What are the key activities to be carried out in order to achieve these expected results? Describe the activities in detail and in their best sequence, addressing their feasibility.
  3. c. How will the State(s) Party(ies) concerned support the implementation of the updated safeguarding plan?

Updated safeguarding plan

The objectives at the state and local level agreed with the bearers are as follows: further maintenance of a continuous transfer of the practice of the ojkanje singing to regions where the element is at risk of extinction, increasing the number of bearers and performers, especially among young people and the male population, and maintaining the required conditions for a good-quality transfer of knowledge and skills related to this singing technique. The objective is to continue working on detailed research and documenting of the element on the entire cultural and historical area it covers.
The expected result is still the creation of high-quality research material and useful supporting documentation as a basis for further improvements that would contribute to the improved visibility and promotion of the element. Another objective is to increase the involvement of young, both female and male, population in the process of protecting, documenting and increasing the visibility of the element. The number of bearers and cultural and artistic organisations that perform ojkanje singing is expected to grow.
It is still necessary to maintain and expand the range of protection programs that have been implemented, as well as to work on their improvement. The programs of good quality must be provided with the professional and financial assistance as a priority. It would increase the number of participants at festivals, educational workshops and in research and documentation processes in the regions that currently do not have the sufficient coverage. It is important to support folklore ensembles and cultural and artistic organisations that we must be thankful to that the ojkanje is a "living" intangible cultural asset and, as such, is passed on to younger generations. The measures and activities of today will be developed towards achieving better results, which would eventually lead to an increased transfer of knowledge, especially in regions with the potential of strong involvement of young people in the protection of the ojkanje singing. Furthermore, sub-activities will be supported in remote rural areas where awareness of the importance of the protection of the ojkanje singing is still low.
It is also necessary that other state institutions get involved in programs aiming at protection of the ojkanje singing, e.g. education in primary and secondary music schools. It is important to encourage music education within school programs, especially in environments where the ojkanje singing is present as a cultural element. This would be the most demanding part of the protection plan, but it would definitely yield the best results. It will also be worked on the inclusion of the ojkanje singing in the programs of music schools, as well as on the cooperation between professional performers and ethnomusicologists within these programs. In all activities, the government support to this Protection Plan is guaranteed through the coordination team at the Ministry of Culture and Media and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in close cooperation with cultural and artistic organisations and representatives of local government.
The Ministry of Culture and Media announces annual tenders for request for proposals in the segment of cultural programs. One of the program lines is the funding of programs for protection of intangible cultural heritage. Some of the programs aiming at protection of the ojkanje singing have been regularly funded since the inscription of the ojkanje singing on the UNESCO List of intangible cultural heritage, but it is expected that they will continue to apply for funding. The protection of the ojkanje singing is funded at both the regional and local level. The funding mostly includes material costs related to the festivals where ojkanje is presented and travel costs of the bearers and folklore ensembles that present this element. Thanks to the work of experts on raising the awareness and increasing the visibility and importance of the ojkanje singing, the funding of this element grows year in year out. Therefore, we expect continuation of the mild growth in the next reporting period.


Timetable for future actitivies

Provide a timetable for the updated safeguarding plan (within a time-frame of approximately four years).



The ojkanje singing is a tradition that has been equally performed by male and female singers. Therefore, there are two repertoires, the male and the female repertoire. Older singers repeatedly pointed out that they learned to sing alongside older women while tending cattle. In the past, mixed vocal groups were possible only among members of a closer family, while today the situation is completely different. When forming vocal groups, there is no exclusive gender division. Current bearers of the tradition are the members of the older generation. It can also be observed that among this group women are more active bearers of the tradition and guardians of heritage. Furthermore, they pass on the tradition to new generations rather than men. The example of the collaboration of female singers with the vocal ensemble called “Harmonija disonance” is a good example of such collaboration. While learning new styles and genres, the female singers visited female singers in the field (Čavoglave, Miljevci, Otok kod Sinj, Brnaza, Srijane – Gornja Poljica, Rakitno, Polača, Radovin) and learned from them. In all the mentioned situations, the bearers of the tradition were happy to share their knowledge with the young female singers to have someone that would continue singing their repertoire. In that respect the music-documentary film was made about "Harmonija disonance", a vocal ensemble of from the Academy of Music in Zagreb performing traditional music and their journey through the Croatian regions where, in meetings with the original singers, a new, artistic life of traditional music is born in the synergy of generations. The ensemble met all the original singles through their activities in their respective folklore ensembles where they are also more dominant than men. To encourage male singers, a specialized festival of male vocal groups of Croatia was founded in Ivanić Grad with the purpose of emphasising the situation in the field. The festival has been taking place continuously for 22 years. Similar initiatives take place in other regions as well, but they are not so long-lived.


Budget for future activities

Provide the estimates of the funds required for implementing the updated safeguarding plan (if possible, in US dollars), identifying any available resources (governmental sources, in-kind community inputs, etc.).


Actions for the protection and preservation of the ojkanje singing will continue to be carried out according to the schedule and financial possibilities that would be available to government, regional and local administration, museum institutions, tourist boards and communities, as well as the education and school sectors. According to certain indicators, funding by the Ministry of Culture and Media in the coming period should be stable, at the level of the previous financial indicators, with the tendency of increasing the number of users of dedicated program funds year in year out. It would be satisfactory, if in the coming years they would maintain or increase the number of users with the financial participation of USD 10,000 to 15,000 through the program line of financing intangible cultural assets. In addition to the financial support received by the cultural and artistic societies receive the cultural and artistic amateurism program line, according to our calculations the total funds received from the Ministry of Culture and Media should amount to around USD 30,000. Financing by regional and local government is also stable to some extent within the framework of continuity in helping to maintain local activities of local folklore ensembles and established festivals where the bearers of the tradition gather and sing. According to the plan of future financial activities of the counties and municipalities where the ojkanje singing is a tradition, a slight increase of the financial support for preservation of the tradition is expected compared to the current support. Furthermore, a bigger professional and financial support for preservation activities is expected from local and regional museum institutions and communal educational institutions. Development and financing of activities through the Centre of the Dinaric Culture in Otočac as a newly formed institution for the preservation of this type of heritage is also expected.


Community participation

Please describe how communities, groups and individuals, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations have been involved, including in terms of gender roles, in updating the safeguarding plan, and how they will be involved in its implementation.


Community participation

The ojkanje singing is a musical practice in which both sexes are equally involved, and it is performed by male and female singers. The ojkanje singing includes two repertoires – male and female. According to the past experience of performing and passing on this tradition it turned out and it is now important to mention, women are more active in the attempts and results of passing on the tradition to the generations to come. Cultural and artistic organisations and folklore ensembles that perform at various folklore festival and events usually have more female than male members. This is one of the reasons for establishing the Festival of Male Vocal Groups of Croatia in Ivanićgrad, and it is an indicator and presentation of the current situation in the field of traditional music. We can also mention the festival called “Festa vesta” that was initiated at urging of the ethnologist researchers (Lidija Bajuk and don Josip Dukić). It was designed by female singers-performers from the area of Cetinska krajina (in the village of Vrpolje near Trilj). The festival is reserved for female performers only. This music festival is an example of positive interaction between the local community and singers. Induced by the female singers, the local community organised and implemented volunteer actions in which the abandoned space was restored and turned into a public space for gathering and concerts. The space now offers you the possibility to come and listen to and experience live some of the best examples of female ojkanje singing in the Dinaric region.


Institutional context

Please report on the institutional context for the local management and safeguarding of the element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, including:

  1. a. the competent body(ies) involved in its management and/or safeguarding;
  2. b. the organization(s) of the community or group concerned with the element and its safeguarding.


Institutional context

Ministry of Culture and Media
Ministry of Culture and Media Ms. Nina Obuljen Koržinek, PhD.
Address: Runjaninova ulica 2, 10000 Zagreb, Republic of Croatia
Phone: (+385 1) 48 66 666
Website: http://www.min-kulture.hr
E-mail: web@min-kulture.hr

Cultural Association ‘Radovin’, Radovin 44, 23248 Ražanac, President Ivica Dundović, Phone: (+385 23) 652 130, (+385 98) 193 5708, E-mail: vinka.rogic@morh.hr
Cultural Association ‘Sv. Nikola Tavelić’, Lišane Ostrovičke 91, 23420 Benkovac, President Žarko Radaš, Phone: (+385 91) 8835 490, E-mail: opcina-lisane-ostrovicke@zd.htnet.hr
Cultural Association ‘Promina’, Razvođe, Lacići 1, 22303 Oklaj, President Mario Jurić, Phone: (+385 98) 1749 820
KUU (Cultural Association) „Novae“, Runovići 3, 21261 Runovići, President Marica Repušić, Phone: (+385 91) 2688 211
Cultural Association "Dikovača", Bublin bb, 21266 Zmijavci, President: Mijo Milas, Phone: (+385 99) 2076 699



D. Participation of communities in preparing this report

Describe the measures taken to ensure the widest possible participation of the communities, groups and, where applicable, individuals concerned as well as relevant non-governmental organizations during the process of preparing this report.

Participation of communities in preparing this report

The preparation of this report on Ojkanje singing was approached with the full support of the local community and competent institutions. The process of preparing this report involved many of the important stakeholders in Ojkanje singing as an element on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list, including various distinguished organizations (festivals, cultural societies, research institutes) and individuals (ojkanje singers) in Croatia.
The report was supervised and coordinated by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media, Directorate for the Protection of Cultural Heritage.
The report was compiled by the Conservation Departments of the Ministry of Culture and Media in Šibenik, Zadar, Gospić, Imotski, and Split, with the full support of local communities, museums and administrations and the cooperation of practitioners.
The final report on Ojkanje singing was compiled by Joško Ćaleta (PhD, Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Research, Zagreb).


Ethnographique and Intangible Cultural Heritage Department

E. Signature on behalf of the State Party

The report should be signed by an official empowered to do so on behalf of the State, and should include his or her name, title and the date of submission.


Ms Nina Obuljen Koržinek


Minister of Culture and Media




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