Dina e Mel



Forgotten songs of the Zadar Arbanasi

Dina e Mel

Dina Bušić, voice
Melita Ivković, guitar
Miroslav Tadić, guitar
Edin Karamazov, guitar, saz
Yvette Holzwarth, violin

Bërbili (Nightingale) – Forgotten songs of the Zadar Arbanasi is an ethnomusicological project authored by musicians Dina Bušić and Melita Ivković.

Featured are ten compositions as the authors rediscover, edit and revive the almost forgotten songs of the Arbanasi people who migrated from the Skadar Lake to the Zadar area in the early 18th century.

In collaboration with experienced musical artists of shared musical sensibilities - Edin Karamazov, Miroslav Tadić, and Yvette Holzwarth - Dina and Melita were able to preserve the old while at the same time creating something uniquely new.

The presented archaic songs in the Arbanasi dialect (Albanian mixed with elements of Italian and Croatian), one of Europe's most endangered languages, according to UNESCO, were arranged by these courageous musicians and painted with the various influences they brought to the project from their own destinies, life-long experience, and personal ethos.
Nightingale was recorded in 2018 at the Our Lady of the Assumption Church on the island of Zlarin in collaboration with the sound engineer Marin Fulgosi. The audio was mixed by Jan-Eric Persson, one of the foremost sound experts in Europe and owner of Opus 3 Records in Järna, Sweden, and the edition was published by record label NOTA BENE Croatia (www.notabenerecords.com) in 2020.
The project brought together a number of experts and enthusiasts whose work contributed to its realization, and most of all Maximiljana Barančić, PhD and expert in Arabanasi dialect; Bernard Kotlar, an avid collector of Arbanasi tradition who selflessly shared his records for research purposes of the Arbanasi music heritage; late Enio Grdović, long-term President of Zadar Arbanasi Society who shared with joy his own enthusiasm and records throughout the project; original singers Ermana Stipčević, Ana Modrinić, late Klara, late Edo, Fernanda and Đani Mazija, late Petar Uči Perović, late Palma Nikpalj, Lidija Kotlar, Duško Modrinić, late Efa Maršan, late Ana Perović, and late Nino Vladović Relja.

The program booklet is illustrated by Zadar artist and academic painter Josip Zanki, contains texts by project authors and is accompanied by a review written by the renown author Miljenko Jergović, who writes:

Nightingale brings us the far-reaching echoes of the Balkans, the spirit and melody of the Italian inter-war canzone, rhythms of children’s nursery rhymes, the mood of festive tunes sung at the celebratory day of the community’s patron saint… The record is only partially an actual heritage, but even more so an expressed need to nurture the gift and talent of said heritage, to maintain and build upon the immense experiences of the small Arbanasi world.
It truly is exciting to hear how Dina, Melita, Edin, Yvette, and Miroslav complement and annotate the Arbanasi musical experience, and how the existing vacant spaces and grey areas of forgetting are filled up with their own interpretation, aesthetic faith, and fascination. Their music is one of a lived experience, not some unclear or assumed musical history, and is inscribed with words and mostly simple prosodic forms of a secret language. Besides being a true memento to the same small and gentle heritage that was brought to Zadar in May 1726, it also presents all of us today with a twofold gift. The Zadar Arbanasi are presented with their own little songbook, a reminder of how important it is to learn and know one’s own old language, and the rest of us are introduced to the Zadar Arbanasi and their culture as a treasure of our own treasure, the soul of our own soul.”


Miljenko / Dina / Melita

Dina Bušić (Zadar, 1979) is a classically trained musician who received her degree in Musicology from the Zagreb Academy of Music. She started actively singing from a very early age; for many years she sang in Zadar and Zagreb choirs, klapas (traditional Dalmatian acapella groups), and folk ensembles, simultaneously studying solo singing with Stojan Stojanov Ganchev. Even throughout the years working as a music critic for Jutarnji List, teaching music culture at schools in Zadar, working as a music producer at the Croatian National Theater Zadar, and finally Director of the Zadar Concert Office, for Dina singing remained the golden thread woven into the fabric of her life. Her soprano, which she so selflessly shared with the numerous musicians she collaborated with, is characterized by lyrical softness, and her performances show idiosyncratic expressiveness painted in Mediterranean tones.

With editorial and writing skills she honed as the author and editor of musical monographs dedicated to the Zadar Chamber Orchestra and the Blagoje Bersa Music School in Zadar, as well as working on numerous editions of Musical Evenings at St. Donat, the oldest festival in her hometown of Zadar, Dina confidently took on the extensive scope of work required for the project Nightingale - Forgotten songs of the Zadar Arbanasi. In addition to singing the songs of her ancestors, Dina also recorded them in her student days, researched them as an ethnomusicologist, and edited them into a unique whole in collaboration with musicians of similar musical sensibilities: Melita Ivković, Edin Karamazov, and Miroslav Tadić. A musician whose singing is one of the many layers within her artistic and intellectual repertoire, she is a passionate student of the subject of identity through the art of music, especially when it comes to exploring her own, what is forgotten, and what remains hidden or unknown.

Guitarist Melita Ivković (Zadar, 1976) was trained in classical music at the Music Academy in Zagreb in the class of Professor Ante Čagalj. Her particular combination of an inherent connection to classical music through composing and arranging, solo and chamber music performances, and frequent trips to world music, is what best describes Melita's over two and a half decades of intense music-making.
Melita's artistic expression was largely shaped by her work with the Zagreb Guitar Quartet. In addition to having traveled the world with the ensemble from 1993 till today – performing in thirty countries on four continents - she was also the winner of international awards, released two albums, and produced a number of works by renowned contemporary composers.
And yet, besides the classical, Melita's musical experience shows layers of influences from other genres, some of which she became enamored with even as a student, such as rock, jazz, bossa nova ... Being a classicist with an open mind, she welcomed all those influences into her world, embraced them, and created her own unique and authentic musical mosaic.
Some elements of this mosaic are best reflected today in her collaboration with Dina Bušić, Miroslav Tadić, and Edin Karamazov on the project Nightingale - Forgotten Songs of the Zadar Arbanasi. The language in which she writes her compositions and arrangements can best be described as a measured and stylistically thought out amalgam resting on the foundations of classical harmony, vibrant as the vast traditional musical elements from nations she draws inspiration from - from Brazil to Albania!

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Zagreb, House of Journalists
Friday, November 26th, 2021, 6 p.m.
Dina e Mel

Köln, Germany
Thursday, September 16th 2021, 8 p.m.
Beyond the Roots: Dina e Mel & Compás a Tres

Shkoder, Albania
Saturday, July 31st 2021, 8 p.m.
ZA festival, Rozafa Castle
Dina e Mel

Zagreb, Croatian Nationa Television
Thursday, July 29th 2021, 8 p.m.
Sunny side of Prisavlje
Dina e Mel & Miroslav Tadić, Edin Karamazov, Yvette Holzwarth

Split, Hrvatski dom
Thursday, February 4th 2021, 8 p.m.
Concert - Nightingale,Forgotten songs of the Zadar Arbanasi
Dina Bušić, Edin Karamazov, Melita Ivković

Zagreb, Croatian Music Institute
Friday, November 6th 2020, 8 p.m.
Concert - Nightingale, Forgotten Songs of the Zadar Arbanasi
Dina Bušić, Edin Karamazov, Melita Ivković

Zadar, St Nicholas’ Church
Wednesday, September 23rd 2020, 8 p.m.
Promotion of the album “Nightingale” and concert
Dina Bušić, Edin Karamazov, Melita Ivković
Free of charge



Forgotten songs of the Zadar Arbanasi

1. Arbëneši vendi tem
arrangement: Melita Ivković, based on a traditional melody

text: Bruno Morović Grišpa

2. Bërbili
arrangement: Melita Ivković, based on a traditional melody and text

3. Ishjë një ditë të mojit majit
arrangement: Melita Ivković, Edin Karamazov, based on an anonymous author and text

4. Me ofičala / Jam Arbëneš
arrangement: Melita Ivković based on a traditional melody and text

5. Moj e bukura More
arrangement: Melita Ivković, Edin Karamazov, based on an anonymous author and text

6. Netët
music: Daro Kalmeta
text: Daro Kalmeta
arrangement: Melita Ivković and Miroslav Tadić

7. Ni merje kam Vana
arrangement: Melita Ivković, based on a traditional melody and text

8. So edua nanen
arrangement: Melita Ivković, based on a traditional melody and text

9. Zogu i verës
arrangement: Melita Ivković and Miroslav Tadić, based on a traditional melody and text

10. Pecat të mužikës pe Arbënešit
music: traditional melodies of the Zadar Arbanasi
arrangement: Dina Bušić and Melita Ivković

Available worldwide for all digital services!

Recorded at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Island of Zlarin, Croatia, June/July 2018
Music producers: Dina Bušić and Melita Ivković
Sound engineer: Marin Fulgosi
Mixing: Jan-Eric Persson, Marin Fulgosi, Opus 3 Records, Järna (Sweden)
Mastering: Saša Miočić
Illustration: Josip Zanki
Design: Duje Medić
Translation from Arbanasi dialect and Albanian: Maximilijana Barančić
Song covers and adaptation: Ljiljana Lili Koci
Text: Miljenko Jergović, Dina Bušić and Melita Ivković
Proofreading: Rosanda Tometić
Translation: Petra Sapun Kurtin
Published by: Nota Bene, Zagreb (Croatia), 2020.


Thank you:
Ante i Ermana Stipčević, Petar Uči Perović, Maximilijana Barančić, Bernard Kotlar, Lidija Kotlar, Ana i Duško Modrinić, Klara, Eda, Fernanda i Đani Mazija, Enio Grdović, Ana Perović, Efa Maršan, Nino Vladović Relja, braća Teofilović, Miljenko Jergović, Josip Zanki, Goran Franić, Saša Miočić, Marko Kujundžić, Damir Granić, Rosanda Tometić, Ljiljana Lili Koci, obitelji Pupovac, Ivković i Bušić.


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