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.
Another is Lipo ti je kad se kuruz sije from Požega
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.
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/
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.