Tag Archives: Slovenia

Artist Profiles: Katalena


Forming Katalena was quite coincidental. Coming from different musical backgrounds from more or less classic rock (Sfiltrom, Terra mystica, Bast), folk (Terra folk), blues (Moj boogie band) to trip hop (Melodrom) the band members met in the summer of 2001 in a Slovene countryside village in Bela krajina. For a week they were playing different old Slovenian folk tunes discovered in the archives of the Ethno-Musicological Institute of Ljubljana.

Katalena deals with the legacy of folk music in the Slovene area, recreating and performing it in its own way. The basic presumption of group’s work is faith in the timelessness of folk music, which is, according to the band’s opinion, still a part of young people?s lives and not as dead remains, but as a vital tradition.

The goal of Katalena is to revive this folk tradition, give it a wave of fresh energy, to pull it out of the dusty national subconscious and publish it in a way that is at ease and unburdened.

There are not many experiments of this kind in Slovenia and the result was a positive surprise. Katalena created a very special mixture of rhythms, temperament, of the old with the new. In their music heritage rock and ethno rhythms meet. A dash of jazz is added. In short: when making rearrangements, basically everything is allowed.

Starting with the workshop, which was firstly meant to be an only one-time musical project, Katalena soon grew into a regular music group gaining quite a lot of attention in a very short period. They had their first public appearance in December 2001 on a rock festival called Novi rock (New Rock Festival) in Ljubljana. This first individual concert was, to everyone?s surprise, completely sold out.

After a successful icebreaking the group presented their music in many Slovenian cities. In their first summer they played at practically all major Slovenian festivals: Lent (Maribor), Trnfest (Ljubljana), Mediteranfest (Izola), Kunigunda (Velenje) and Mladost v Prastarem mestu (Ptuj).

Their music and energetic performance was not only well accepted by the audience, but also by the critics. The two nominations for the 2001 Boomerang music award proved it – categories: Innovation of the year and Ignite (live performance).

In the summer of 2002 Katalena recorded their first album named (Z)Godbe; in Slovenian it is a game of words meaning something like: music tales. It contains 14 songs from very different musical environments of different regions of Slovenia. It was recorded in Studio 26 of Radio Slovenia .

They also made their first video, directed by Hanna A. W. Slak. The video was played for eight weeks in the most popular Slovenian video show called Videospotnice, where it even reached the prime position. It was quite a shock for the Slovenian music scene, since bands playing Slovenian folk music don’t usually get this kind of public attention, especially not among young people.

The band played among other concerts on the most prominent ethno festival in Slovenia Druga godba, it appeared again on the Lent festival in Maribor and performed a number of solo concerts all around Slovenia. In August, Katalena played the Alpent?ne festival in Switzerland.

In the beginning of 2004 Katalena returned to the studio. In a mere 3-day recording session they put to track another 11 remakes of known and unknown Slovene folk songs. The basic orientation of the band remained the same. Dallas Records released this new kaleidoscope of Slovene folk music called Babje Leto (peasants’ expression for Indian Summer) on April 13th 2004 under great interest of both music critics and the general public.

On May 13th, Katalena presented the new album to the public in Krizanke, Ljubljana’s esteemed open-air theater, where they performed together with Terra Folk and a Scottish band called Back of the Moon. The concert was recorded by radio BBC and Slovenian national television RTV SLO.

During the summer Katalena represent Slovenia on EBU (European Broadcast Union) festival 2004, the band played in Italy – Toscana and continued to perform at many festivals throughout Slovenia including Slovenia’s biggest and most important open air festival of popular music.

Another very important home event took place in October 2004 in Cankarjev dom, the largest cultural center in Slovenia, as Katalena sold out a very successful solo concert. The band shot another video for a song tittled Pobelelo pole z ovcama (The white Field with Sheep) which is one of the songs that can be often heard on Slovene radio stations and was as well a ‘Song of the Week’ on national radio in the end of July. Video was again directed by Hanna A. W. Slak.

The beginning of 2005 was successful as well. In the end of January national television organized a TV show about a very well known international music festival called Eurosong, which celebrates 50th anniversary this year. In TV show well known Slovene artists performed remakes of some of the most popular songs, performed in the Eurosong contest and Katalena played a remake of a song titled All Kinds Of Everything by Irish singer Dana, who won the contest in 1970.

On the 8th of February – the national day of culture, the band presented a dancing and musical performance, which was created in cooperation with a dancer and choreographer Edward Clug. The performance was presented in Gallus Hall (the biggest concert hall in Slovenia). The Occasion: once a year the estimated Slovene artists receive the highest possible award on the state level for their lifetime achievements. The award is called Presernova nagrada.

In the end of June, Katalena was invited to Berlin. There, the band played two very successful shows in a club called Machinenhaus – the club is located in a huge cultural complex and important artistic center, called Kulturbrauerei.

In the beginning of August Katalena took some time off in a small and quiet Slovene village called Zapotok to compose music for the band’s third album, which was released in the beginning of 2006.

In the summer 2006 band appeared at several festivals in Slovenia, but the biggest pleasure and recognition for the band was an invitation to play at the Rudolstadt Folk Festival in Germany (the biggest world music festival in Germany).

Vesna Zornik – lead vocal
Polona Janežič – keyboards, backing vocals
Tibor Mihelič – bass, backing vocals
Boštjan Narat – guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
Robert Rebolj – drums, percussion
Boštjan Gombač – clarinet, flutes, percussion, backing vocals


(Z)godbe – Stories (ZKP RTVS 2002)
Babje Leto – Indian summer (Dallas Records, 2004)
Kmecka Ohcet – Country wedding (Dallas Records, 2006)
Cvik Cvak! (Dallas Records, 2008)
Noc Carovnic (Založba Pivec, 2011)
Enci Benci Katalenci (Založba Pivec, 2015)
Clovek Ni Zver (Založba Pivec, 2018)


Artist Profiles: Aritmija


Mixing past with present, tradition with progression and acoustic with electric, Aritmija grows from its Balkan roots. It is soaked with the unusual metrum of the peninsula and watered by its temperament, giving it a distinct flavor.

What began with two guitars in 2002, mostly playing renditions of traditional Macedonian, Bosnian, Bulgarian and gypsy music is now a five piece band, concentrating on original material.

It is the diversity of band members and the instruments they play that brings variety to their sound. Original music varies from ethnic heritage to rock influenced riffing, from jazz-rock to Latin and country music. There really are few limitations. From two intertwining acoustic and one electric guitar, a very unusual drum/ percussion set (including oriental darbuka and mighty tapan) and a funky bass, to passionate yet tender violin, the music of Aritmija sounds fresh and interesting.

The band played all over Slovenia and also performed at the FIMU festival in Belfort, France in 2005, at the Lent festival (Maribor, Slovenia) in 2006 and at the Balkaniser festival (London, UK) in 2007. In 2007 Aritmija released its first CD Gonilna sila or Motive force under the label Celinka.


Gonilna Sila (Celinka, 2007)
Aritmija Live (Celinka, 2010)


Artist Profiles: Brina Vogelnik

Brina Vogelnik – Photo by BorutPeterlin

Vocalist Brina Vogelnik and her band mates have a free, fresh and bold musical approach. They draw their musical motifs from reinvigorated and rearranged traditional music, and increasingly, original pieces by Vogelnik and her mother Eka.

Brina’s album Pasja Legenda entered the World Music Charts Europe Top 10.


Grašcakinja (Goga, 2002)
Mlado Leto (DruGod, 2004)
Pasja Legenda (DruGod, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Orlek


The group Orlek has its domicile in Zagorje ob Savi, in the heart of the mining area in the center of Slovenia. The name Orlek originates from the name of the hill at the very edge of Zagorje.

Since 1990 they have been playing in the same cast. Their successful beginnings filled them with the desire for creating and also informing listeners about social inconveniences from their area. They established a full contact and filled the audience with enthusiasm.

Their music is a mixture or rock, some sort of polka punk, due to variety of instruments they were spontaneously ranged into ethnic folk music. This has been proved by successful performances on festivals such as festival Druga godba (Slovenia), Folkherbst festival in Plauen (Germany), Okarina festival (Slovenia), Festival Lent (Slovenia), Tanz & Folk Fest in Rudolstadt (Germany), folk festival in Mistelbach (Austria), festival in Mono{ter (Hungary), Folk Fiesta (Poland), folk festival Neum 99 (Bosnia), Miskolc (Hungary EBU festival), Sopron (Hungary – Euromusica festival).

On account of its authentic sound and texts the group has attracted attention of both music experts/critics as well as broad public. In 1994 the group was awarded a local cultural prize Dr. Slavko Grum. Their album Melodije smoga in premoga (Tunes of smog and coal) was nominated for the top Slovene music award Golden note in a category – the best folk and ethnic album.

In 1996 their album Adijo knapi (Goodbye miners) – which talks about disintegration of the mining life in Zagorje – was nominated in a category the best rock album of the year. The same album was awarded a Golden bird prize (by the Liberal Academy of Slovenia), and it was also given the reward of the student radio in Maribor – Marev gojzar (Mars mountaineering boots). The album Salamurca, received two Golden roosters (Slovene grammy): for the best rock album and the best rock composition Na Kum (To Kum).

In the year 2000 group had two successful tours around Australia and New Zealand. They had concerts in their Fringe Festivals in Sydney, Adelaide, Wellington (NZ), and other concerts in Melbourne and some towns in New Zealand.

The band was founded by the late Janez Tori (trumpet) and famed accordionist Jure Tori.


Funšterc In Jetrnice (Zlati Zvoki Kisovec, 1992)
Ajmoht (ZKP RTVS, 1994)
Melodije Smoga In Premoga (ZKP RTVS, 1994)
Adijo Knapi (ZKP RTVS, 1995)
Salamurca (Nika Records, 1998)
TETovirani 3 (Nika Records, 2001)
Orlek Exspress (Nika Records, 2004)
Anduht (RTV Slovenija, 2009)
Repete (Klopotec, 2012)
Orlek Unterzug Live (Klopotec, 2014)
Frpruh (Klopotec, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Sukar


1990 was the first functioning year for the group Sukar, made up of active members of tamburitzza orchestras from Ljubljana at the time. These artists, after many years of playing traditional melodies and folk music, began to concentrate on playing mostly Gypsy, or Romany music. They dedicated the entire opus of their work to this music. The group Sukar is a tamburitzza ensemble.

It had five members, with the most common combination being first brac, second brac, tamburitzza cello, bugarija and the contrabass. In place of the first brac, they sometimes incorporated the bisernica, other times the violin. The group’s repertoire included Gypsy music from all over Europe, which, because of the variations in the way of life in different surroundings, has created a colorful musical tradition.

The group generated material for their repertoire by gathering written and recorded songs, as well as songs that have been passed down orally, which they later remake in their own style and perform in the new form.

Sukar mostly performed songs in the Pristevacki and Cergarski variations of the Gypsy language, largely because of their widespread use, but the other dialects, such as the languages of the Sints, the Hungarian gypsies, the Vlach and Romanian Romany communities and the Russian and Carpathian gypsies, are also represented in their songs.


Ciganska Duša ‎(Corona, 1994)
Mentol Bombon (KD Etno Karavana, 1996)
Čhaie ‎(Corona, 1997)
rvo Iv ‎(KD Etno karavana, 2000)
En Concert ‎(Sazas, 2003)


Artist Profiles: Terrafolk


Founded by violinist Bojan Cvetreznik, Terrafolk was created at the end of 2000, while improvising at a festival in Slovenia. The band includes musicians that come from diverse backgrounds: jazz, classical and folk music In 2004 the band addedd a new member on accordion and bass. Its fourth album, N’Taka, came out that same year. Slovenia Europe

Terrafolk evolved from playing only traditional Slovenian music to currently playing primarily orginal music by the band.


Stereo Folk Live (Music Net, 2001)
Jumper of Love (Music Net, 2002)
N’Taka (Music Net / Menart Records, 2004)
Live at Queen’s Hall (Music Net 2006)
Full Circle (Music Net, 2008)
Ledena trgatev / Ice Harvest (Music Net, 2011)
Terrafolk & Symbolic Orchestra – XXLive (One Music Society, 2016)