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Sidro, California's favorite Croatian Tamburitza Orchestra
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  12/4/2007 | People , Culture And Arts | Unrated
We are firm believers that practically any song can sound good on the Tamburitza

The members of Sidro are: (from left to right)

Srecko Barbir - Brac
Anthony Gudelj - Bugarija
Emil Jakovcevic - Brac, Lead Vocals
Mike Matusich - Berde
Thomas Gudelj - Bisernica
James "Jakov Gudelj" Gudeli - Bisernica

Sidro, formerly known as Blue Adriatic, is one of Northern California's favorite Croatian Tamburitza Orchestras. For over 20 years, Sidro has been performing throughout California, accompanied San Jose's Koraci Folklore dance group in Croatian Folklore Festivals throughout Canada, and fused Tamburitza music with rock'n'roll when recording on Nenad Bach's, "Thousand Years of Peace".

We specialize in Dalmatian songs, although we do have a versatile repertoire including songs from Bosnia and Hercegovina, Slavonija, and other regions of Croatia. We are firm believers that practically any song can sound good on the Tamburitza. So, we have been know to do versions of popular rock, pop, and even techno songs.

Sidro is the Croatian word for Anchor and is pronounced like Skid Row, but without the k.


Our rates vary based on where the event is, how long we are asked to play, and whether or not we need to bring our sound system. We can play on stage with a full sound system, or stroll from table to table, playing acoustically.

For more information and to book Sidro for your event, please contact Thomas Gudelj at 408-297-5250 or send us an email at 

Contact Information

Sidro Music
c/o Serge Barbir
228 Hamilton Avenue
Third Floor
Palo Alto, CA 94301


New CD, "Udri Pismu, Digni Casu", is now available for sale.

Listen and buy by clicking here

The Tamburitza and the preservation of Croatian folk music

Written by Michael B. Savor (Canada), from Croatia - an overview of its History, Culture and Science

The tamburitza he most popular and most common of the national instruments of the Croatian people. It is a stringed instrument related to the Russian balalaika, the Ukrainian bandura and the Italian mandolin. Its name originated from the Turkish language and made its first appearance in the Balkan region in the 14th Century. The tamburitza is said to have first appeared in Bosnia, and from there it appeared in the regions of Slavonija and Backa.

Learning to play the tamburitza was passed down from one generation to the next. Every village had their share of musicians who performed at every festive occasion. The formation of tamburitzan groups began in the area of Backa in the first half of the 19th century.

The first amateur Tamburitzan orchestra was formed in Osijek in 1847 by Pajo Kolaric, who was the first well known composer for the tamburitza. In 1882, Kolaric's student Mijo Majer formed the first tamburitzan choir to be led by a conductor called "Hrvatska Lira". Majer was the first composer and arranger of concert works for tamburitzan orchestras. The formation of amateur tamburitzan orchestras soon spread throughout Croatia and Bosnia, as well as Slovenia, Austria and Czechoslovakia. For Croatians living outside of Croatia, the tamburitza was a cultural symbol binding them to their homeland.

Growing interest in the tamburitza resulted in the publication and circulation of newsletters on the instrument. In Croatia, the newsletter "Tamburica" was published and circulated, and in Slovenia, a newsletter titled "Slavonska Lira" was published before the First World War. The tamburitzan federation of Czechoslovakia also had their own newsletter. Croatians in the United States first published a newsletter in 1937 called "Tamburitza News". In the same year, a tamburitzan federation was founded in Osijek. In 1941, the Croatian Radio-Television Tamburitza Orchestra was founded as a professional ensemble of the Zagreb radio station. This orchestra is currently led by the head conductor Professor Sinisa Leopold.

Even though the tamburitza was always regarded as a national folk instrument, many serious compositions have been composed for the instrument. For example, Josip Canic composed overtures for tamburitzan orchestras. Vinko Vodopivec composed various suites for the instrument, and Gjuro Prejac composed the first tamburitza operetta "Vinkolozin". Other well known tamburitzan composers in this genre include Josip Andric, Ivan Zajc, Bozidar Sirola and Emil Adamic. Even arrangements of classical music have been written for tamburitzan orchestras. Mozart's famous Rondo alla Turca (originally composed for solo piano) has been cleverly arranged for tamburitza orchestra by Bozo Potocnik, which has been recorded by the Croatian Radio-Television Tamburitza Orchestra. Dvorzak's Humoreska for violin and orchestra has been recorded with tamburitza accompaniment, arranged by Zlatko Potocnik. Even works of Beethoven and Verdi have been arranged for the tamburitza, giving this folk instrument an international appeal.

Reference to tamburitzan composers and arrangers would not be complete without mentioning Julije Njikos and Sinisa Leopold. The formation of tamburitza ensembles in Croatian communities around the world, reflects the desire of the Croatian people of keeping their musical heritage alive for future generations.

Before discussing folk music in Croatia, it is important to deal with the term ethnomusicology, and its development. This term is used to describe the division of musicology in which emphasis is given to the study of music in its cultural context. This includes the study of folk music, as well as the study of the function of music society. Formal study in the field of ethnomusicology is relatively recent, however, interest in folk music dates back to the Age of Enlightenment. Folk music found its way in the works of composers of the 18th century. For example, in Haydn's London Symphony No. 104, Haydn uses a Croatian folk song as the theme for the fourth movement.

Croatians have always been dedicated to the preservation of their folklore. In the field of music, the first Croat to pursue the study of Croatian folk music was Franjo Saver Kuhac. In the 1870's, Kuhac studied the piano with virtuoso Franz Liszt in Weimar, and then pursued his study of folk music publishing many books on Croatian folklore.

The most well known Croatian ethnomusicologist was Professor Vinko Zganec. He was born in the village of Vratisinic in Medimurje, where he jotted down his first folk song in 1908. Hungarian composer and ethnomusicologist Bela Bartok, kept in close contact with Zganec while collecting folk songs along the borders of Hungary and Croatia. Bartok respected Zganec because of the accuracy of his research and notation. Zganec's research took him throughout Croatia and even among the Croatian minorities of Austria and Hungary. This research enabled Zganec to collect over 19,000 Croatian folk songs which have been recorded and written down. These folksongs have therefore been preserved for future generations, to see and study from. Due to his extensive research, Zganec became the first director of the Institute of Folklore Research, and was an active participant in The Folklorist Society of Croatia. He also became active in teaching at the Academy of Music in Zagreb where Zganec was a great influence on his colleagues and students.

First of all, congratulation Sidro on a new CD. Warm sound and emotional impact will satisfy everybody that loves Tamburitza. My experience with Sidro is extraordinary. They are featured on my last album "A Thousand Years of Peace". I want to thank all the guys for their effort and talent and especially Emil Jakovcevic, who is one of the most talented musician I came across. Besides being such an extraordinary and sophisticated talent, Emil is a great leader of Sidro. I highly recommend Sidro for every Croatian community event and for the rest of the world who wants to taste Croatian musical genome - DNA, give them a call and buy their CD.
Emil is multitalented. He also helped create webpage. See his comapny Konoba.
Nenad N. Bach
New York December 4th 2007

Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
Distributed by This message is intended for Croatian Associations / Institutions and their Friends in Croatia and in the World. The opinions / articles expressed on this list do not reflect personal opinions of the moderator. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please delete or destroy all copies of this communication and please, let us know! Or simply...enjoy and spread the word and good vibrations


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  • Comment #1 (Posted by Zvonko)

    These guys are wonderful! We saw them in Reno at the tamburitza festival and they put on a wonderful show.
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