Founded in Zagreb in 1949 the LADO National Folk Dance and Song Ensemble of Croatia is a professional folk ensemble which aims at exploring, collecting, arranging and performing the finest examples of the versatile Croatian folk and dance tradition. (The archaic Slavic word lado - often used as a refrain in old ritual songs of north-westerly Croatia - means, good, kind, sweet.) For many years LADO has engaged the major Croatian ethno choreologists and choreographers, ethnomusicologists, music arrangers and folklorists, as well as composers and conductors inspired by the folk music. All this resulted in an impressive repertoire comprising more than a hundred of various choreographies and several hundred vocal, instrumental and vocal-instrumental numbers, in which a special attention is paid to the original, intrinsic folk art. The 37 superb LADO dancers, who are also outstanding singers, easily transform their folk dance ensemble into a representative folk choir, and the 15 excellent musicians play about fifty different instruments both traditional and classical. The Ensemble owns a unique collection of original folk costumes of outstanding value and beauty (more than 1200 suites). In addition to the songs and dances, each LADO concert offers a special show of the Croatian original traditional costumes. All this – including the amazing richness and variety of the folk expression within such a small area, as is that of Croatia – makes LADO unique in the world. This has been widely recognised in the world’s major concert halls such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, the New York City Centre, the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Sydney Town Hall and some twenty most renowned Japanese concert halls in which the LADO's 27 concerts within the 2006 five-day tour were warmly received by more than 50 thousand people. LADO's numerous awards for promoting the national heritage include the 2006 INA Award for promoting the Croatian culture worldwide, fourteen Porin discography awards (among others the 2002 Lifetime Award), three the City of Zagreb Awards (1963, 1968 and 2002), the Orlando Award at the 54th Dubrovnik Summer Festival (2003) and the Ivan Lukačić Award at the 34th Varaždin Baroque Evenings Festival in 2004. In the year 2002 LADO represented Europe at the 6th World Choir Music Symposium in Minneapolis. This year LADO was the organiser of the ISPA Congress (International Society of Performing Arts) on the theme Globalisation and Identity.