VRUJA is a musical group, which continues the tradition of the musical groups from the Slovene Istria and which have had a great influence on the increased knowledge and popularization of the musical heritage of Istria in the latest decades. The group's name is of a dialectic origin and it means source, spring.

The group is a successful joint of experienced musicians, who are considered the pioneers in the folk music revival, as well as younger ones, who have grown up in close contact with tradition. Vruja is trying in its own way to add yet another little stone to the mosaic of interpretation and performance of the Istrian's musical heritage. The musical experience of a single member and their mutual work are expressed in the group's performances and thus, the group is regarded as a representative of a musical trend, known all over the world as the Folk music revival.

How it all started? Print

At the beginning it was music, Istrian traditional music that brought together people who out of love and devotion to this music started to meet and play and a spring rose up to burst songs and melodies of our land, our ancestors.

Luciano Kleva and Marino Kranjac, who were friends and musical fellows for many years, wanted to found a larger group of musicians with a female vocal for a menysided presentation of the Istrian musical haritage.


Luciano wanted to introduce his 11 years old son Rok, who played violine in this musical world. While Marino has been meeting Štelijo, who consistently »absorbed« playing the two-string small Istrian basset, for some time already.


We needed an accordion player. And Luciano knew Maja and Brane Solce, whose son Matija who tirelessly played different folk tunes on accordion, among them there were also some istrian ones.  He passed the audition succesfuly and the last link was missing - a female voice.

Matija knew an istrian girl, who liked to sing song she knew from her grandmother. »Well,« we said, »bring her in so we can hear her!« And Alenka came.


As she started to sing with her tipical voice, we were all enchanted and we sed: »You are ours!«

The idea for the name of the group was Luciano's, to whom the word vruja  which means »water spring« remained impressed, from the time he was designing the book of Marjan Tomšič with the same title.

In March 2001 the group was finally formed.

Marino takes care of the musical part of the group, whereas Luciano took care of the visual immage.


The group went through many changes due to some tragical events and personal reasons:

  • October 2003 Matija leaves for Prague to undertake a study on the Puppet academy.
  • For a short time he was replaced on the accordion by Mirjana Gvozdenac.
  • On Christmass eve 2003 Luciano tragically passed away in a car-accident.
  • In the beginning of 2004 Peter Kaligarič joins the group with his accordion.
  • In Autumn 2005 Gabrijel Križman starts to sing and play in the group.
  • On 8 of July 2006 the group is shocked by another tragical event. After a difficult desease, Štelijo who was the strong and reliable pillar of the group, leaves us forever.
  • In Autumn 2006 Luka Čibej enters the group to play the bassett.
  • Summer 2007 Luka leaves the group.
  • Autumn 2007 Gorast Radojevič joins us to play bassett and electric bass guitar.

Now I think: »Our group is just like a pair of old trousars.«  From time to time we have to patch them, a little bit here, a little bit there. But we are very lucky in choosing new members who grow into the group. And I'm glad that they all are young people, who are very enthusiastic of the music that we perform, and their eagerness gives the group new strenghts to go on the path that we have set ourselves, in spite of the tragical events thet we meet on our way. 

We don't give up and we go on!« 


Marino Kranjac

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