Tovareča mužika

Saljske užance
Saljske užance is an event with a tradition of more than 50 years. It is held every year before the Assumption of Mary and it lasts from Thursday to Sunday. The opening of Saljske užance takes place on a Thursday, late in the afternoon. Friday is reserved for the fishermen’s night in true spirit of the Dalmatian tradition which includes cooking fish stews and other fish dishes, with vocal harmony singing groups (klape) for a real marine atmosphere. Saturday is the night of Sali (Saljska noć) with the lights of lanterns and sounds of Tovareća mužika, and a festive evening of music. On Sunday, after a sleepless night, the Reveille (Budnica) will wake you up. The afternoon is reserved for donkey races at the port of Sali. All this creates an experience that you simply have to try.

Tovareća mužika is a peculiar way of making music on various types of drums and antique irons filled with stones and particularly attractive horns. It is a trademark of Sali, and today it is considered as intangible material heritage of Croatia and, as a musical practice, it was assigned the label of Croatian Island Product. Batarela can be considered as the forerunner of Tovareća mužika. It is a set of random sounds with the purpose of creating noise that has been used since ancient times as a custom of the islanders who used batarela to send away evil spirits and spells, have fun, and mock mostly widowers or widows who remarried.

In 1959 several young men at the port of Sali heard that there was a great batarela in the village, i.e. the wedding of Paškvala, and old girl, they quickly took their instruments and headed toward the village lined up in a double row, like musicians of a marching band, intoning a well-known march song and a song called Šjora Mare, introducing thus discipline into the anarchic noise and channelling the chaos of sounds into something positive and favourable to the ear, followed by thunderous enthusiasm of the locals.

Over time rules have been introduced into Tovareća mužika as regards the instruments and visual identity, turning it into a unique “orchestra” who has been representing Sali and Croatia, too, at many national and international guest performances and cultural events.