Croatian Band The Skelligs Plus Nathan and Jon Pilatzke’s Step Dancing

The bodhran gives off a very distinctive Celtic sound. There is a haunting quality to it. Perhaps it is the collective instinct that reminds us of prehistoric sounds before written language was even invented. Somehow, association plays a big part in giving off a distinct flavor to the sound that the instrument produces. Let’s take for instance the sound of the viol. Though it is an instrument mainly associated with baroque or renaissance music, Jordi Savall made its Celtic debut. Even the balalaika can have infinite possibilities. It is the marriage of style with cultural identity in an instrument that makes something happen. 

Well… we all know that sometime in the past everyone in Europe could have been Celts if not for the rise of Julius Caesar. Does it ever make you wonder what could have happened if instead of the Romans, Celts ruled the world instead? Does it make you shiver? Smile or inspire fear perhaps? We all know that history about the keltoi was written on accounts of Caesar’s own prejudice. THEY were after all the ENEMIES.


Now for the music.

Inspiration comes in the most unexpected places. No matter where you are, it is possible to feel a deep connection to a culture so different from your own. But to burrow from Loreena McKennitt, that there is more in us that can keep us together than tear us apart.

The Skelligs proved this point. A four-piece band from Split Croatia (Hrvatska), The Skelligs play a variety; mainly Irish traditional mixing it with jazz, blues, funk, classic, Latin-American and other traditional music. The result deserves a standing ovation. From clear acoustic rendition, they make the music fused and groovy, sometimes straight in style, sometimes very unexpected. Combination of composed and improvised music to burrow a description from their myspace page.

Band members:

Zasmina Pankova Pokrovac – fiddle and box

Goran Borovcic Kurir – guitar

Milan Pistalo – guitar

From MySpace…

….In an environment where the knowledge about Irish music is extremely humble, further more, this same environment has never had the opportunity to listen live the Irish music; the performances of «The Skelligs» were seen with a mixture of skepticism, surprise and thrill. With no exceptions in the audience, either young either old, there wasn’t anyone who hasn’t been fascinated by this «new-found» music sound, even often taken to dancing, thanks to it’s catching rhythm.

Since the first public performance (2000.) the group has been frequently performing in clubs, open air stages, theatres and halls in Croatia, Netherlands and lately in Ireland. The national television (HRT) shoots 2004. a 25 minutes documentary about the group. «The Skelligs» recorded 2006. the soundtrack for Croatian première of “The Weir” by the famous contemporary Irish playwright Conor McPherson. 

If you love step dancing , then I am sure Nathan and Jon Pilatzke are familiar names. I first saw them on the Live in Nashville DVD of The Chieftains. I think they’re absolutely amazing. Originally from Toronto, Ontario. Both are good in step dancing(in the Cape Breton tradition) as well as playing musical instruments. They formed a 6-piece Celtic fusion ensemble called Quagmyre which is yet to give us news.

With Quagmyre…..


2 Replies to “Croatian Band The Skelligs Plus Nathan and Jon Pilatzke’s Step Dancing”

  1. Liebe Zasmina,

    Ob ich dich auf diese Weise wieder finden kann? 35 Jahre ist es her, weisst du noch, damals im Sing -Lager? Wie es dir wohl geht? Ich habe ein Youtube Filmchen gefunden, da bist du drauf mit deiner Viola und “The Skellings”. Internet macht´s möglich. Bitte schick mir deine mail Adresse – dann schreib ich mehr.
    Ich hoffe, es gehe dir und Dora gut!!
    Herzliche Grüsse von Regula

    (Please – if someone else is reading this message, be so kind as to foreward it to Zasmina Pankova Pokrovac. I met her many many years ago and would like to get in touch again.Thank you!)


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