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Folk Singers of Archpriest Dragutin M. Djordjević: Partisan's Themes in Postfolklore Epic Chronicles

Folkloristika 4/2 (2019): 9‒23
Аuthor: Danijela Popović Nikolić
Тext: PDF


Epic chronicles about the Second World War belong to the phenomenon of postfolklore. Thanks to a developed tradition of gusle-playing in South Serbia (Leskovac, Jablanica, Pusta Reka), partisan epic chronicles were sung and handed down, as evidenced by the recorded songs, as well as the studies and notes about epic singers and singing. Archpriest Dragutin M. Djordjević recorded several epic songs from Obrad Simonović, Randjel Kocić and Stoimen Stanković, well-known gusle-players from Jablanica District of Southern and Eastern Serbia. Their songs, with their content, structure, style characteristics, mode of presentation and reception, corresponded to a postfolklore chronicle. The themes of songs were new, referring to the Second World War from a partisan point of view, engaging in intense and visually poetic texts as well as the corresponding sources. The singers devoted particular attention to depict the sufferings of the local inhabitants in Pusta Reka and Jablanica, which is not surprising since they all were natives to these regions. Moving away from traditional oral epics, which had started in earlier stages of epic singing, now led to a new line, at times syllabically and rhythmically uneven rhymed decasyllable line. However, previous contacts with traditional oral epic brought some common poetic devices, techniques, formulas, and compositional models. Characteristics of postfolklore, as well as folklore, are directly conditioned by the mode of its existence and representation, as well as distribution, which is evidenced by the poetic material of three singers, recorded and published by Djordjević. The singing was enriched by a new, partisan-communist idea, with a different expression, often related to the written sources, political leaflets and brochures. Consequently, the structure of songs changed: while their length was stable as a common feature of epic chronicles, narrative modes were modified due to a constant need to glorify winners and lament the fallen, and in that way celebrate both the victory of the Partisan/Communist movement as such and the ideological and political model which inspired it.
Keywords: Dragutin M. Djordjević, gusle-players, partisans, Second World War, postfolklore, oral epic poetry, epic chronicle, Southern Serbia