Opšaj diri (1*)- Croatia

*1st Generation dance. A dance that developed in a traditional way – not ‘taught’ by a teacher or choreographer, but ‘learned’ by observing and imitating others in your “village”, where the village’s few dances were the only dances anyone knew. It usually is ‘generic’ – the dance pattern is fairly simple and not tied to any particular piece of music. The dance phrase may or may not match any musical phrase, but the music’s rhythm must be suitable for performing the footwork. This dance may have many variations, but they’re performed at the whim or inspiration of the leader or (sometimes) any other dancer so long as it doesn’t interfere with the flow of neighboring dancers. For more, click here, here, and here.

Opšaj diri, the Song

“Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da” is the chorus of a folk song, which roughly translates as “tra la la,” etc.

In his Folk Dance Problem Solver ©2015 by Ron Houston, Ron quotes Dick Crum as saying Opšaj diri was a folk song/dance from the Pokuplje region of Croatia before World War 2.

Pokuplje is the name for the Kupa river basin in Croatia. Major settlements are Karlovac, Sisak, Petrinja, Glina and Topusko.

Ron lists four sets of lyrics, three of which are from liner notes to various recordings of Opšaj diri available in the USA. The lyrics below are from the Festival label AMAN 106 album, (taught by John Filcich & Nena Šokčić), which seems to be the most popular among recreational folk dancers.

1.Ajd' u kolo sve selo, zaigrajmo veselo, 
zaigrajmo veselo, ajd' u kolo sve selo.
//Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da//

Moj je dragi grane list, ljepši nego runolist,
ljepši nego runolist, moj je dragi grane list,
//Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da//

Od kad imam dragana, nedam više tavana, 
nedam više tavana, Od kad imam dragana,
//Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da//

1. Come to the kolo, all the village, to dance joyfully
2. My dear is a branch leaf, prettier than edelweiss
3. Since I've had my dear, I will not give wawy my trousseau
  (literally "my attic," maybe where she stores her trousseau)

Ron goes on to say "During the war, Tito's partisans created new verses to bolster fighters' morale and to spread Tito's message of freedom (freedom from everything except Tito!)"  Below is YouTube posted by Chris Rowbury of a choir from Ipswich, England, singing an Opšaj diri with 'partisan' lyrics; .
Oj narode, narode, evo tebi slobode, 
evo tebi slobode, oj narode, narode,
//Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da//

Zeleni se jorgovan, moj je dragi partizan, 
moj je dragi partizan, Zeleni se jorgovan,
//Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da//

A third verse not sung in the YouTube above:
S onu stranu Korane, čita cura novine,
čita cura novine, S onu stranu Korane.
//Opšaj diri diri di, Opšaj dara dara da//

1. Oh, folks, folks, here's for you freedom
2. Greening is the lilac, my dear is a partisan
3. Beside the Korana (river), a girl reads the newspaper.

Extra lyrics can be found here: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/lyrics-english-translations/opsaj-diri-english-lyrics/

Sheet music can be found here: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/sheet-music/opsaj-diri-sheet-music/

Opšaj diri – the Dance

I found 3 YouTubes of Croatians dancing Opšaj diri. The lyrics are different from any of the 4 versions listed by Ron Houston, and the dance steps are all different and simpler than the 3 dances taught to North Americans. Clearly there are many local variations to this song and dance.

Croatian immigrants in Australia.
Medley from Pakrac: Opšaj diri, ružmarin, kalendari, zavrzlama, logovac
By the “Korana” group, Slunj. Opšaj Diri starts at 4:25

As Taught in North America

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