|By age 12, the Baron kids were proficient on traditional Croatian tamburitza instruments such as the prim, tambura and bas-prim, and were put to work playing at weddings, apartments or wherever my great-grandfather could hire them out (places where shots of whiskey apparently flowed during breaks). Their parents are from Zagreb, Croatia, who carved out a life in Braddock, in a rented flat near Pittsburgh's burgeoning steel mills.|
Three Baron kids proficient on traditional Croatian tamburitza instruments
This photograph depicts my grandfather Joseph Louis Baron (November 6, 1918 - June 4, 2012) on the left, my great-aunt Caroline, who is still alive and living in Verona, PA and in her late 90s, and my great-uncle John, on the right. The three siblings played music together growing up in Braddock, PA, in the Baron family's Croatian tamburitza band, which was led by my great-grandfather John.
By age 12, the three Baron kids were proficient on traditional tamburitza instruments such as the prim, tambura and bas-prim, and were put to work playing at weddings, apartments or wherever my great-grandfather could hire them out (places where shots of whiskey apparently flowed during breaks).
A tamburitza musician, US Steel employee, guard for the first official West Virginia All-State Basketball Team, and a member of the Army, my grandpa was born in 1918 to John and Helena Baron, immigrants from Zagreb, Croatia, who carved out a life in Braddock, in a rented flat near Pittsburgh's burgeoning steel mills. I often try to recount the many stories my "gramps" told us over his 94 years on this planet.
Such as tales about my great-grandfather, an extremely strict disciplinarian who ruled their house with an iron hand. The family scratched out a living by renting out a room to boarders who worked shift work at the local mills--and the beds in that room were always filled with a rotating cast of laborers.
Here we take the opportunity to provide a few more details about early Croatian tamburitza bands in the USA. It would be of great interest to try to collect more photos and details about Croatian music in the USA. For example, are the titles of songs that Croatian tamburitzans played in 1919 for general Pershing known? Or maybe even recorded?
Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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