Тraditional song ‘Ojkača’

The blacksmiths from Mrkonjić Grad
Knitted Kozara wheel 

Тraditional song ‘Ojkača’

Еlement inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Srpska 

Bosnia and Herzegovina


The original song ‘ojkača’, having the title ‘Oj djevojko’, is a traditional element of the Serbian people from Potkozarje, particularly its western part, the area between the Sana, the Una and the Sava rivers. It originated as a syncretic element in a strong connection with weddings, folk gatherings and similar events. It is sung alternately by two groups while people dance in ‘kolo’ – a type of folk circle dance. Its performance is accompanied by ‘tamburica’, which is a traditional string musical instrument and a type of long-necked lute. The song itself is distinguished by epic verses of ten syllables (deseterac) with a rhythmic pause after the fourth syllable and it is commonly realized in form of a couplet. It is performed by people of all ages, from children to elderly performers. The element has been present in this area for decades.

‘Ojkača’ is a traditional song performed by a group of singers, in which one sings the lead voice, while others follow by singing bass lines, thereby creating a melody. It is performed a cappella or accompanied by a folk instrument called ‘tamburica’.