LADO- the colorful keepers and ambassadors of Croatian folklore!

We all know that an ambassador is officially a person of the political function that represents a certain country somewhere abroad. We also have non-conventional kind of ambassadors, like certain products and people that are recognizable outside in the big wide world.

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

 

And there is something in between, or even better, something merging…….LADO!

LADO (National Dance and Song Ensemble of Croatia) is a national professional folklore ensemble founded in 1949 with the aim of researching and collecting, artwork as well as stage presentation of the most beautiful examples of rich Croatian music and dance traditions.

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

 

LADO brings together the most famous Croatian ethnologists and choreographers, ethnomusicologists, musicians and folklorists, as well as composers and conductors inspired by Croatian folk music creation. All this has resulted in an impressive choreographic and musical repertoire with more than a hundred choreographies and hundreds of vocal, instrumental and vocal-instrumental numbers, in which above all respects the original, authentic folk art.

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

 

The group consists of 38 top dancers, (who are also outstanding and educated singers!) and 14 outstanding musicians play 80(!) traditional and classical instruments. LADO ensemble has a unique collection of original folk costumes of extraordinary value and beauty (more than 1200 sets) so every performance of the ensemble, with the song and the dance, is also a kind of revision of the original Croatian traditional costume.

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

All this, with the presentation of the miraculous wealth and diversity of folklore expression from such a small space as Croatia, that is what makes LADO unique in the world.

So what’s the ambassador part?

The ensemble has had performances all over the world. LADO performed at some of the world’s most famous stage and concert halls, from Royal Albert Hall to London to the New York Broadcast Theater, from the Moscow Concert Hall to the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, as well as numerous world opera houses, festivals, world exhibitions, Olympic Games …

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

Since this collective has done a lot in promoting the national heritage, LADO has won many awards and recognitions: the annual award of INA to promote Croatian culture in the world for 2006; 24 Porin Awards, including Porin Lifetime Achievement (2002); four Zagreb City Awards (1963, 1968, 2002, 2009); Orlando at the 54th Dubrovnik Summer Festival 2003; two prizes Ivan Lukačić on the 34th and 44th Varaždin Baroque Evenings (2004, 2014), as well as the Charter of the President of the Republic of Croatia for 60 Years of Artistic Activity (2009). In 2002, LADO was the representative of Europe at VI. The World Symposium of Choral Music in Minneapolis.

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

But not only that they sing national tunes followed by traditional instruments in the back….oh no…they also have their spin-off project called LADO Electro where they experiment with electronic sounds and music accompanied with the hypnotizing voices of LADO singers as they sing lyrics over 100 years old.

Truly, everything LADO does is a unique experience. It is few forms of art merged into perfection in which anyone could find something new and amazing- just like many things Croatia hides!

Ana Plevko

Photo by Petra Slobodnjak

All photos are the property of Ansambl LADO.

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