Croatian Tambura Orchestra

Russians have the balalaika, Greeks the bouzouki, Italians the mandolin, and Croats the tambura. According to the legend, back in 6th century in Trakia the emperor Mauritius caught three Croats carrying tamburas instead of guns.
Indeed, a musical instrument similar to tambura was known already in the ancient culture of Mesopotamia, in 3rd century B.C. and there is evidence of tambura forerunners in some monuments preserved in Egypt.
However, the tambura that is the most similar to the contemporary shape of this string instrument came to southeast Europe at the time of Turkish conquests of the Balkans, in 14th and 15th centuries. Experts believe the instrument was brought to Slavonia and other parts of Croatia during the migration of Croats from Bosnia, in other words, during their flight before Turkish conquerors.
Initially, tambura was played as a solo instrument. This continued until 1847 when Pajo Kolarić assembled the first tambura ensemble in Osijek.

In 2006 the Association for promotion of Croatian culture and heritage Šokadija-Zagreb assembled, for a whole-evening concert, the first orchestra with over 100 tambura players. Since then, the Orchestra has been holding annual concerts named Šokačka Rhapsody in Vatroslav Lisinski Concert hall in Zagreb.
According to expert estimates there are some 30,000 tambura players in Croatia, playing as amateurs or professionals in big and small orchestras, folk ensembles, elementary and music schools.
Members of the"100 Tambura Players Orchestra" come from approximately 20 Croatian towns and villages. Most of the players are amateurs; they are all musically educated, many graduated at a musical academy and were chosen to become members of the Orchestra after an audition.
It should also be pointed out that they play on tamburas of E quart interval system, in 4 voices. One of Orchestra's idiosyncrasies is that the vocal parts are sung only by its members - the tambura players and conductors.
In addition to traditional music, the Orchestra performs recent compositions for the tambura orchestra, composed by Croatian and foreign authors as well as transcriptions.
In 2009 the Orchestra had its international premiere in Vienna at the Wiener Konzerthaus. Since then, international concerts are called Croatian Tambura Rhapsody.
Since 2010 the"100 Tambura Players Orchestra" is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and performs under the name "The Croatian Tambura Orchestra".