For the first time ever Vladimir Nazor’s tale of the legendary giant Jože and his struggle against his oppressors, centred around the Istrian hilltop town of Motovun, is available in English. I am very proud to have translated this extremely important piece of Croatian literature. I was helped by Andrea Gnjato who gave me linguistic advice with some of the dialectic structure of Nazor’s writing.
This edition has been translated and prepared according to the edition of the Collected Works of Vladimir Nazor book no. 12 – Istarski Bolovi (Istrian Pains) which was most probably published in 1930. It includes the translation of Nazor’s original foreword in which he explains the origins of the story and the development of the character of Jože the giant.
It is published by Naklada Kvarner (ISBN 978-953-7773-55-7).
Contact Naklada Kvarner direct to order a copy: naklada.kvarner(at)ri.t-com.hr
Janko Polić Kamov had two collections of his poetry published during his short lifetime (1886-1910). ‘Psovka’ (‘The Curse’) in 1907 and ‘Ištipana hartija’ (‘The Pinched Paper’) in 1907.
‘Psovka‘ contains nine pieces of poetic discourse including themes of blasphemy, love and sex, nature, surrealism, the human condition and basic instincts.
These poems have never been fully translated into English.
Here is my translation of one piece from ‘Psovka‘ entitled ‘Dan mrtvih’.
Day of the Dead
I took a pilgrimage, to the dead, to you and look, my soul is not sorrowful;
my thought is not of despair – oh the universe is not cruel.
I would sing psalms and sadden people;
my accusation would be the charge of nature, and the people would be the guilty;
shy as a prayer, distorted as Christ, holy as the air of the church.
Godly is their fear and headless as a flock of sheep;
it is like the mania of the hungry and the dread of slaves;
fear is their crime and misdoing is their child.
Damp earth, the sun’s rays kiss you and heavenly drops caress you:
woman of milky breasts and secrets of love;
woman of fiery verses and love of a heavenly betrothed.
Divine are your children and green is their name;
joyful are your children and birds are their strings;
fragrant are your children and the breeze is their song;
you are just a village girl and you have no city colours;
full is your body and love is its penchant;
your soul is like a body:
you are all harmony, you are all beauty as eternal truth.
But a man lunged:
your body is beaten and a curse is your blessing;
syphilis of bones and rottenness of the lungs is your sustenance;
a dead member is your love and your cross is green;
decay are your strings and grief is your chord –
tolling are tears – oh dead is your betrothed and your children are worms.
A depository of waste and decay, of man’s great crime;
mute is your accusation, whipped flesh;
bitter is your judgement, violated virgin;
devastating is your tragedy like death and your pain has no measure.
The pen is my trumpet:
dark are your acts, oh you dead;
dark as the love of Socrates and repulsive as the body of an ascetic;
mighty are your misdoings and there is no forgiveness for them;
there is no forgiveness for them and your die has been rolled;
dead are your souls – dead is the resurrection!
The pen is my trumpet and the universe its echo;
eternity smiles – the earth has not died;
the crosses break and time destroys the graves –
wanton is my poem: that the living live!
The first ever monograph dedicated to the municipality of Kanfanar in Istria was published in September 2018. It is a superb trilingual (HR, IT, ENG) hardback book featuring the history, people, settlements and customs, the beautiful landscapes, agriculture and food, the industry and the attractions of this municipality which is celebrating 25 years since its establishment. The authors are Marko Jelenić, Ivana Maružin and Dragan Ogurlić (editor). The texts are accompanied by top quality photography and I am proud to have been involved in the translation of such an excellent edition.
‘Kako čitati prostorni plan’ is a new exhibition on Rijeka’s Korzo which explains the intricacies of spatial planing in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. Written and produced by the Zavod za prostorno uređenje Primorsko-goranske županije it is a major effort to explain the importance of environmental planning to the general public of the county, which itself is celebrating 25 years of its foundation.
Over 10 boards of 20 panels, it explains the history, development, current status and importance of spatial planning in the county.
I am very honoured to have been in involved in the translation of such an important and interesting project about the county in which I live.
The exhibition on Rijeka’s Korzo runs until 12.10.2018 and all the online information in English is available here.
I am honoured to have been involved in the translation of this monograph of the famous Croatian artist Ivo Kalina (1925-1995). It is lavishly illustrated with his works of art from all periods of his life. The texts were written by Berislav Valušek, Ervin Dubrović and Milan Bešlić.
The monograph accompanies the retrospective exhibition of his work being shown in Volosko at Galerije Gal http://www.galerijagal.hr/
The 2016 edition – volume 9 of IKON – the annual journal of iconographic studies published by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka. This is a high quality, beautifully illustrated, publication examining the religious iconography of paintings, murals and ecclesiastical art history. It was my pleasure to work with the editor, Marina Vicelja-Matijašić, again in the proofreading of the English translations in this issue.
It’s August, 36 degrees outside. I’m sitting in a darkened room in front of my computer translating a hundred, thousand, maybe a million pages – I don’t know how many. I’m the only person in the building. My cat spends more time outside than I do – he looks surprised from his lazy position on the wall if I step outside into the garden. No email, no chats, no ništa. All my clients have gone on their holidays, to the coast, to their relatives – I’m holding all their translation commitments, their project applications and editors’ demands in my darkened room. It’s a public holiday, you say? They mean nothing to me any more, nor weekends. I sense the people over the road having a barbeque. I only smell their grilled meat and cigarettes. I hear their loud swearing and crappy music, I’ve never had any idea who they are or what they look like. I’ll go to the beach later and I bet I’ll forget my bloody towel again like I did yesterday and take the bus home in my swimming trunks, soaking wet.
WE PRESENT SARAH & THE ROMANS –
a merry group from Rijeka who are winning over the world!
10th October 2017 – Novi List, Rijeka, Croatia. Interview with Ivana Kocijan.
Coming soon from the German publishing house AGR TV Records in Hamburg will be ‘First Date’ the debut album by the Croatian group Sarah & The Romans. To find out how this cooperation came about, what it means to them, what they sing about in their songs, we spoke to band members: Sara Blažić, Goran Troha and Igor Willheim.
Igor: Six months ago we began to send emails and singles to Europe and America, looking for a publisher for our album. Publishing houses from Canada, America, Sweden and Germany were interested. German companies were the most interested in this regard, and over a few months we reached an agreement with one of them, signed a deal and began the production of the album. Goran: We were not trying to look for a publisher in Croatia because all the material is aimed at the foreign market, the songs are in English, and the music is such that it is more popular abroad than here.
When will the album be published and what can we find on it?Who are your songwriters? Goran: We have 11 songs on the album. Of those 10 are original compositions, whilst one is a version of an instrumental on the theme of the movie ‘Kekec’ (‘Good Will is The Best’) which we have arranged ourselves. As for the writers, I can say there are many, especially of the lyrics. As the lyrics are in English, we strive that they are written by native speakers. And in this we also have a translator who is following us, Martin Mayhew, an Englishman with a Rijeka address. Who as a translator and musician, has fitted very well into our story. The music and arrangements are written by members of the band. Igor: The album should be released on 27th October, and in the deal there is also a second album, which we are already working on, all the demo material has been recorded. We are still not sure of the title.
What themes do you sing about? Sara: The themes are love. The name of the album is ‘First Date’, as in romance, but also as in the first encounter of our band with the audience… It can be interpreted in various ways, but always positively and with good intention. The lyrics are always of love, optimistic, which is also the message of the bluegrass music that we play: everything is happy, positive, and even when something bad happens, you forget it, carry on and everything is OK.
Your first single ‘Smoke in The Wind’ from last year was chosen as Bluegrass Song of the Month by the American Akademia Music Awards.What does this acknowledgment mean for you?
Goran: Yes, we sent the song upon the recommendation of one radio DJ from Houston who fell for our music. The song was chosen as song of the month in June in its category. This really did open the door to the music world for us, and with that we gained many contacts. So for example we joined up with a dance troupe from Tennessee who we accompanied for five days in Zagreb, they danced, and we played. Igor: It was the International Folklore Festival, an excellent experience. The music brought us together and a great collaboration was created and so we will continue to accompany the dance troupe from Tennessee further at European dance festivals. At that time we also got to know a group from Indonesia, amongst whom was Agung who plays the talempong. This is a (audibly) similar instrument to the xylophone and makes a magical tone which so delighted and surprised us that we asked Agung to record something with us, which we then put together in one song. This is the charm of our music, we mix what we like into it. In the same song we also incorporated a flute. Sara: With that example Igor has described why we think we are original, what our vision is and how we are trying to create a unique sound.
Remind us of when and how the band was formed; who are its members and were you active as such a large group from the beginning? Goran: The band Sarah & The Romans came into existence in 2014, and currently there are ten members. We have also collaborated with musicians from Ljubljana (Slovenia), some permanent members are from Zagreb. We work in a kind of Rijeka-Zagreb-Ljubljana triangle. We are trying to make our music interesting, original and surprising. One instrument appears in an entire song, a second in two musical sections and then no more. This gives vibrancy, dynamics, and colour to the sound. And for that to function and be interesting, you need to have a little orchestra.
Where do you play the most, where can we listen to you? Igor: We will have the promotion of the album in Rijeka after it comes out. We perform mainly at festivals.
Where did you record the album? Goran: The songs were recorded in the Mr Lucky and Just Sound studios in Rijeka and in Metro in Ljubljana. Both the mix and mastering of the songs were finished by Mladen Srića (Rijeka, Croatia), Janez Križaj (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and Eduardo Reynoso Jr. (L.A., California).
You play a unique combination of various genres.What are they? Goran: We are unique in every case because we don’t repeat or copy traditional bluegrass. What is that in effect? It is our polka and waltzes, our European music, central European folk which is permanently in our ears. Bluegrass is acoustic, there are no electric guitars, no drums, it is full of wooden, warm instruments. The whole concept is very optimistic, positive… Such as we are in spirit, so is our music.
Are you recognised in Croatia? Sara: Yes, we are recognised, but in small circles. However, again we don’t play traditional bluegrass. It is not for older audiences, we are making music for the younger people. Radio stations are playing our music, we are played a lot abroad, for instance on British stations, and many more in America… One of our songs was in the Top 10 in Missouri.
Was singer Sara Blažić in the band from the beginning? Igor: Yes, we met during karaoke shows, she made a great impression on us because she had a very interesting voice. Also with her in the band are the singers Nikolina Akmadža and Matea Dujmović who also plays flute on one song.
You are collaborating with the 92-year-old singer Bruno Petrali.Can you tell us something more about that? Goran: Yes, at the same time with the band we are working on the project Sarah & The Romans feat. Bruno Petrali. Igor: Petrali is a legend. He is 92 years old, he knows everything about music, everything about sport. We have recorded a duet with him, a version of the song ‘Una sola volta ci si ama’, with his original translation. It was joy to work with Petrali and so we recorded two more songs, a version of ‘Bambina’ by Neno Belan which he translated into Italian and a version of the song ‘Sve moje jeseni su tužne’ (’All My Autumns Are Sad’) by Žarko Petrović, which Petrali sang originally way back in 1957.
Goran: We are also working on a special album with Iva Santini, a young singer-songwriter from Rijeka, who is also the writer of one of the songs on our first album. The album with Iva will be something very innovative, different. Her genre is folk-ethno, and she usually plays the Celtic harp and ukulele.
Members of the band: Singers: Sara Blažić, Nikolina Akmadža, Matea Dujmović
Violin: Antun Stašić, Nikola Čeran, Mislav Salopek
Mandolin: Roman Tomašković
Banjo: Goran Troha
Dobro, guitar: Boris Luka Luković
Guitar: Zoran Bebe Petrović
Double bass: Domagoj Zubo Zubović
Harmonica: Ivica Dujić
Drums: Suzan Vidović
Booking manager: Igor Willheim
Guests on the album ‘First Date’: Anja Hrastovšek and Jasna Žitnik, Ivana Marić, Artemija Stanić, RiverBlue (Vedran and Ivana Mlakar), Mirna Škrgatić, Mladen Srića, Nataša Manestar, Damjan Vasiljević, Sempre Allegro Choir Rijeka, Dino Džopa Šemsudin, Vanja Dizdarević, Damjan Grbac, Tilen Stepišnik, Dušan Pjer Ladavac, Uroš Šuljić, Žiga Šercer, Nikola Jovanović, Krešimir Kunda, Klaudio Kolar, Petar Tepšić, Rajko Ergić and Ivan Pjerić Dorčić.
(Translated by Martin Mayhew from the original Croatian article here)
Behold, I see living bodies and dead are their souls;
the elation has died away and the thought of judgement;
the spirit prostitutes itself and sterile is the love of harlots;
subversion has been disfigured and perverse are its acts –
the grave is my home – a grand graveyard of souls.
Of the stillborn and premature dead – oh unlucky love!
I see great tombs and golden are their crosses;
marble are the monuments and inscriptions glint on them;
beautiful are the wreaths and paper flowers;
rich are your robes, oh the great dead.
Behold, I hear the words of a poet and lies of the sadder notes;
infected is the muse of the people and he composes anthems for the dead.
Oh graveyard of souls, my sombre homeland;
my lips sing and the song is my curse;
it is despair and rage and in its pain is anger;
it is short and wild like the scream of one awakened in a grave.
Living souls will come and dig up our graveyard;
will they find my body and my scratchings?
will they find my frayed lips and my torn body?
will they realise the greatness and dread of the deceased in the grave?
will they kiss the clotted blood as the ashes of Bruno and the heart of Prometheus?
will not the abyss of time devour our graveyard
and will no one ever know: that souls also lived there?
Oh shivering is my pain and great are its ideas;
I will crack the icy coffin and rummage through the earth;
battered bones will crawl out and my large eyes will shine –
The sun is there and the resurrection and dithyrambs flit in the air!
U potrazi sam za sponzorstvom ili drugim oblikom financijske potpore kao i prikladnog izdavača (za tisak knjige ili e-book verzije) kako bih završio svoj prijevod svih djela Janka Polića Kamova. Na prijevodu sam njegovih djela s hrvatskog na engleski jezik radim od 2012. godine. Tijekom tog procesa stvaram jedinstveni rječnik fraza i arhaičnih riječi koje Kamov koristi u svojim djelima, kao odraz i osobnog autorskog stila ali i vremena u kojem je pisao. Taj bi se rječnik mogao koristiti od strane budućih prevoditelja zainteresiranih za ovo značajno razdoblje hrvatske književnosti.
Molim vas, kontaktirajte me ako ste zainteresirani.