9.   Cara, the island of Korcula

On the island of Korcula [31], the term kumpanija (mostra) is term for the chain-dance, the customs and the confraternities that organize and perform them. Until the mid-20th century the kumpanija were performed at carnival time and on local patron saint's day in the villages Pupnat, Smokvica, Cara, Zrnovo and Blato. The kumpanija in past centuries organized the mock government in the villages. Part of the custom was the decapitation of an ox and a feast for the members of the society, while the kumpanija, or confraternities, assist its members and tilled the soil in community labor (Ivancan 1967:9). Military features in the kumpanija are visible in the formation itself, in the name of the participants, and in the legend by which the dance is reminiscent of the battles of the Korcula patrols, the kumpanija troops against pirates. At present time the role of kumpanija as a male society is largely reduced to practice and performance of the chain-dances with swords, at various festivals and events, usually during the summer (Lozica 2001:73).

The bagpipe known as misnjice (a double chanter clarinet type of instrument with idioglot single reeds, with a skin bag) accompanies the whole. Together with the drum - tamburlo, tambrlin, the bagpipes are the basic instruments in the playing of music that accompanies all the kumpanija chain dances. Misnjice accompanying the performance of dance figures [otvoren lanac (open chain), puz (snail), vrata (door), ruza (rose), most u zatvorenom kolu (bridge in the closed kolo), skrimavanje (fencing), and the dance with the flag (Zebec 2001:125)]. The piper constantly plays one or two short motifs in two or three-part meter. Most of the times,  the meter of the music and the meter of the dance are not equal, resulting in the heterometric relation of dance and accompaniment. This tension, that acts as a stimulant on the dancers, is characteristic of the dancing tradition of the Adriatic dance zone (Ivancan 1967:38). As a rule, the pipers who had an opportunity to learn to play from their forebears played more firmly and resolutely, unlike those who received their first instruction at the school of folklore. The best example of this is the Blato kumpanija whose musicians are usually the best pipers on the island (Caleta 2001b:39) [32].   

Apart from the mjesnice, the bubanj - tamburlo (a double-headed frame drum - a side drum) also has an important role in the kumpanija events. The drummer's traditional task includes announcing the kumpanija, calling the kumpanjoli and accompanying the kumpanija while marches through the village. The drummer sets the tempo and facilitates the regularity of the marching steps (Marosevic 2001:80). Playing the drum is much simpler to learn and to pass on to others.

Cara, otok Korcula

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New musical instruments have found a role as an adjunct to the tanac, a social dance that follows  the chain dance.  The most important innovation is the appearance of the accordion which in many cases has excluded the mjesnice and the lijerica. The diatonic accordion (botunara, plonerica, triestina) introduced in the musical practice of the Adriatic coast at the beginning of the last century, has only survived in living practice on the island of Korcula.  After World War II, the more popular chromatic accordion succeeded the diatonic accordion.

The only events in which the diatonic accordion is still present as a performing instrument is the kumpanija and Carnival dances called munde. Unfortunately, it is impossible today to find the lijerica being played on Korcula. On the peninsula Peljesac, lijerica is accompanying instrument for the tanac in Putnikovic. 
In the past, the kumpanjoli, or the members of kumpanija, fight back foreign intruders who tried to land on the island, while today their objective is to attract foreigners and preserve local identity, even though the fundamental goal remains unchanged - the survival and well-being of the island community (Lozica 2001:73).

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