Božidar Oplanić, Jakovići (Tinjan) / Beograd, 1896-1978

Božidar Oplanić Božidar Oplanić in costume with a mih with šurle. From: Bozidar Oplanić: Istrian folk songs, Belgrade 1968. From the documentation of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore in Zagreb, IEF 920th

In the old inventory card it says that B. Oplanić donated items to the Museum in 1969 only to take them back in 1971 due to inadequate storage in the museum. He returned the same objects to the museum six years later. It is also claimed that "some seemingly Istrian" instruments that B. Oplanić donated were made in Belgrade and therefore "don’t have ethnographic value for Istria". It is very likely that this is true because for the dvojnice he plays himself, he said in an interview that he "obtained them at a market in Belgrade." No matter that he himself has not made the instruments that are part of the holdings of the EMI, and that some of them are not even considered to be of "ethnographic value for Istria", Bozidar Oplanić is an extremely interesting and important figure in the traditional music of Istria. He was born on 14 January 1895 in the village of Jakovici near Tinjan. In a brief conversation, recorded in 1975 by ethnomusicologist Jerko Bezić, he recounts how after serving the army, right after the annexation of Istria to the Kingdom of Italy in 1918, he left Istria and moved to Belgrade. He returned to Istria at the end of the 2nd World War as an engineer and participated in the construction and reconstruction of bridges destroyed during the war. He had encounters with traditional music from an early age. "When I kept the oxen in Finidi, there on the border between Tinjan and Badrena, an old oxen keeper Martin Brgudac was always with us. He preferred to keep the oxen more than to hold a hoe and plough, and one day he began to sing with me. I was six years old then, he sang in thick voice and I followed him in my thin boyish voice and since then we have almost always sang together. "(Božidar Oplanić, 1975) The result of his great interest and love of traditional Istrian music and instruments is the manuscript "Istrian folk songs". The original manuscript is now in the Museum of the City of Pazin, and a copy of it is in the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research in Zagreb. The manuscript collects a multitude of sheet music and lyrics of songs from different parts of Istria, as well as detailed analysis and description of some traditional instruments. Oplanić claims that he gained his musical education with the help of Professor Ivan Matetić Ronjgov, who had "taught him to compose in the Istrian scale in 1943 in Belgrade, where he fled in order to save his head." (Božidar Oplanić, 1975)