You know the one about the Dalmatian, transvestite and prize pig?
Posted on the 17th Oct 2013 in the category travel

I am currently sailing around Dalmatia in Croatia courtesy of the lovely people at Saga. We are sailing on the good ship Emanuel and after dinner in the stunning island of Hvar we were treated to some "local live entertainment". 

Normally live entertainment on a press trip fills me with as much dread as the sentence "today we will be visiting a cheese factory." So when I was told the local Croatian singers would be singing for an hour my heart sank.

How wrong I was.

The a cappella quartet wandered into the dining room rather nervously. Three in cumberbands and another with a glint in his eye holding a guitar. 


Dalmatia is renowned across Croatia for producing the best singers especially melancholic love ballads. This is a part of the world who elected a Eurovision contestant to parliament after he was banned from singing for twenty years by the Communists.


These four fellas began singing under a doorway during the Balkan war as there was no electricity or even venues to play. They soon made a name for themselves and settled on the Croatian for doorway - Kvartet Portum. 


Mario the lead singer has obviously broken a few hearts in his time as well as having his own torn out.


 In endearing broken English he said: "This is a song about typical Croatian woman, unfaithful, i know I am on my third marriage."


And off they went, one sang with such angst it looked liked the invisible man was kicking him between the legs every chorus and another had an ability to raise his eyebrows to the rhythm.


But Mario, who is famous across Croatia for penning the song "Wake me up in the morning", was not just going to stick to traditional standards. Who knew that a popular Croatian rock song one based on both Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water and Dire Straits Money for Nothing?


Well they rattled through through Smoke For Nothing and kept the songs coming,  all peppered with Mario's tales of Croatia's scarlet women.


However, their tour-de-force came like a bolt from the blue. Mario began telling the story of his town's first transvestite who set tongues wagging and prejudices racing in the 1900s.  


Despite the backbiting he made a nice living hiring his prize pig to impregnate the village's female swine but soon the taxman calling. As they do the taxman demanded back taxes and said either bring me the money or kill the pig. 


At this point the singer with the pained expression, who by the way makes some damn fine wine, took off his cumber band and tied it round his head to look like little bow peep in preparation for his role as the tranny.  The tall bloke with the bass voice, who is an undertaker during the day, puckered up to be the tax inspector in this musical interpretation of a Croatian tragedy.


What followed was comedy gold, I've no idea what the words were but through mime, pig noises, facial expressions and an Oscar winning performance of a transvestite fretting over being unable to pimp out his prize pig's sperm, I certainly kept up with the plot.


After switching into English for a short medley which included Islands in the Stream and Please Release Me they made there exit to bewildered and warm applause. 


Overcome with adulation I bounded after these Dalmatian stars, they allowed me a photo, gave me a CD and hopefully the secret to serenading....


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