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Ruze Dalmatinke - Croatian music


Ruze Dalmatinke, from Seattle, Washington. Deep passion and intense devotion to Croatian musical heritage have kept the group active since 1981, and have inspired the group's lead vocalists, sisters Binki and Alma, since childhood. Binki Franulovic Spahi (lead voice) and Alma Franulovic Plancich (second voice) lead Ruze Dalmatinke in singing, and are responsible for the group's adherence to traditional purity in their music.

Born in the village of Vela Luka on the island of Korcula, Croatia, they immigrated with their family to the United States after World War II. Having sung together since childhood, the sisters brought with them their lifestyle of singing, as well as an oral tradition generations old. Retaining the sounds of Korcula in their ears, the sisters continued to learn songs even after the family settled in Anacortes, Washington.

Taught by their grandmother, parents, friends of parents, and even by Croatian-Americans in the United States since the turn of the century, they learned everything by ear. Already in the mid-1970s, the sisters joined with musicians Hank Bradley (violin and *prim*), Al Pratt (bass), Allan Swensson (guitar and *bugarija*), and others in Seattle. These three musicians, performing tonight as well, are all non-Croatians whose fondness for this music inspired them to learn the instruments and styles of these regions through recordings, watching immigrant players, and immersion in the culture. This instrumentation, although not necessarily native to all styles of music performed here (particularly those from Korcula and the rest of Dalmatia), adds to the vocal harmonies, which remain unchanged. The band also allows the group flexibility in performing music from many different regions.

Ruze Dalmatinke also regularly performs with the larger dance ensemble Vela Luka from Anacortes, which is under the direction of another Franulovic sister, Maria Petrish. Their versatile repertoire is the result of decades of research and training. The group has learned the musical styles of the interior of Croatia, such as the *kolo* dances and the open-throat singing technique, as well as music of Bosnia-Hercegovina, such as the yearning, ornamented ballads. However, the lyrical, *bel canto* styles of Korcula and Dalmatia are the dearest to heart for the sisters, and it is the costume of Korcula which the group dons. Furthermore, Binki and Alma remain committed to preserving the sound of their home village, Vela Luka, which is renown for its singing, abiding by the philosophy that the purest and simplest music is the most beautiful. Ruze Dalmatinke has been repeatedly recognized for its efforts in preserving and cultivating Croatian cultural heritage.


Location: Seattle, Washington

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