Technically, Niokla Baic is not a musician. Hailing from Croatia, Baic is, by profession, an architect. But he’s brought his skills to the world of music and has created something truly extraordinary. His collaborator is, of course, no ordinary being either. Using the sea organ or the morske orgulje, a 230 ft long instrument, Baic is collaborating with the Adriatic Sea itself to create music.
Image credit: linssimato
Appearances can be deceptive and at a glance, you’ll think the morske orgulje is just a set of stone steps like any other. The secret, however, lies in the many holes cut through it. They are pathways to open spaces within the stairs that are connected to 35 organ pipes. Through the movement of the waves, air travels into the holes on the lower steps only to be pushed out through the whistle-holes on top that make it come out as a beautiful melody. Baic has taken the idea of harmony between human beings and Mother Nature quite literally and the beauty of his idea cannot be denied.
Baic took inspiration from the hydraulis, an instrument from ancient Greece that made sounds by using the force of water to send air through its tubes. It is the oldest mechanical pipe organ in the world and was invented as far back as the 3rd century BC. He even looked to San Francisco’s Wave Organ which amplifies the sounds made by the Pacific Ocean. This instrument was developed and built by Peter Richards and George Gonzalez in the 1980s and was dedicated to the memory of Frank Oppenheimer.
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You’ll find this fantastic creation in Zadar, a three-thousand-year-old Croatian city. The area is known for its amazing natural beauty and its rich history. According to the famous director Alfred Hitchcock, the sunset in Zadar is “the most beautiful sunset in the world”. However, Zadar suffered great losses in the Second World War when much of the city was reduced to rubble. It was eventually rebuilt but with row upon row of concrete buildings without any sense of aesthetic or beauty. With the morske orgulje and its haunting tunes, Baic has breathed artistry and life back into Zadar.
Are you ready to pack your bags for Croatia yet?