Aj lipo ti je (2*) – Croatia

*2nd Generation dance. A dance that developed and was disseminated in a non-traditional way. 2G dances are specific – have a fixed format designed to correspond with the arrangement of a particular recording., whereas 1G dances are generic – have a shorter sequence that works with live music – where many different songs are played and arrangements vary according to the tastes of musicians and dancers. For more on the differences between 1st & 2nd G dances click here.

Aj lipo ti je – the Song

Lipo ti je means “it is nice”, and it’s a great way to start a song in Croatia, as there are at least 4 popular folk songs that start that way. By far the most popular is Lipo ti je rano uraniti, for which I have 10 YouTubes from Croatia.

Singers of the Studenti Etnomuzikologije AUNS
Men get to sing this one – here’s Krunoslav Slabinac-Kićo

Another is Lipo ti je kad se kuruz sije from Požega

City Cultural Artistic Association Požega. FD Vuga, FA Matija Gubec

Also, there’s simply Lipo ti je. Notice that all of these Lipo ti je‘s are songs only. No dancing shown, even by folk performing groups in costume.

Then there’s Aj lipo ti je kad se žito sije, the only song starting with Aj. It’s the title of the suite below, sung briefly (just the 1st verse), to walking only, at the 6-minute mark.

“Aj Lipo Ti Je Kad Se Žito Sije” Choreography: Kristina Hadjur. Musical Arrangement: Branko Cetinjanin. 39th Annual Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival (Ottawa, Ontario). Aj Lipo Ti Je Kad Se Zito Sije performed by KUD Vukovar, shows fragments of folklore harvesting traditions from the region of Slavonija. The rich panonian plains of Slavonija are know for an abundance of wheat crops. In this choreography, the traditions of Dojdole open our scene by praying to God for the rain to come and for the crops to grow. After a bountiful harvest, the field workers and village people rejoice together in thanks for what God has blessed them with. https://www.facebook.com/kudvukovarca… http://www.vukovar.ca

The Slavonija region these songs come from is geographically part of Pannonia, or the Carpathian basin, see https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/pannonnia-carpathian-basin-hungarian-plain/

See also: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/slovenia-or-slavonia/

Sheet music for Aj Lipo Ti Je Kad Se Zito Sije can be found here: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/sheet-music/aj-lipo-ti-je-sheet-music/

Lyrics for Aj Lipo Ti Je Kad Se Zito Sije can be found here: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/music/lyrics-english-translations/aj-lipo-ti-je-english-lyrics/

Aj lipo ti je – the Dance

Aj Lipo Ti Je dance notes came from this source: http://www.socalfolkdance.com/dances/A/Aj_Lipo_Ti_Je.pdf

In 2009, Željko Jergan presented a dance he called Aj lipo ti je, named after the song, which he says [is/was] “usually sung while walking to the field/party or home from the field/party. Sometimes they’ll sing in the ‘kolo’, too.” So he’s saying it’s usually sung while walking, which is consistent with the KUD Vukovar performance shown above. He says he saw ‘this’ danced in the village of Komletinci in 1990. By the 1990’s there was almost no walking to fields to harvest by hand – more likely he saw ‘this’ at a party, or even more likely, at an event by a performing group representing their local traditions.

What he doesn’t say is whether he saw dancing to this song or whether he saw the particular choreography he taught danced to the song. If the ‘party’ was a typical generic ‘kolo’, they were likely dancing typical generic kolo-type dances, not a dance pattern specific to this song. Remember, they’re singing 4 verses of a song, while supposdly in a front basket hold. Remembering 4 verses while dancing the complex choreography listed by Željko Jergan would require concentration and co-ordination not typical of inebriated party-goers.

Typical generic kolo’s from the Slavonia region of Croatia can be seen in the 3 LADO (the Croatian national dance troupe) YouTubes shown here: https://folkdancefootnotes.org/culture/ethnicity-history-geography/slovenia-or-slavonia/ The footwork, especially footwork done while singing, is much simpler than what Željko Jergan taught to this dance.

I think it more likely that what Željko Jergan saw in Komletinci in 1990 was a performance. The choreography happens to be timed perfectly with the length of each verse in the recording, including the silences. Performances need to have this split-second timing. The dance pattern is a full 16 measures – 32 steps with barely a repeat. Either that or he created something for the recreational folk dance market based on what he saw.

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