Tag Archives: Slovenian music

Artist Profiles: Katja Šulc

Katja Šulc – Photo by Rok Mar

Poet, singer and composer Katja Šulc was born in 1973 in Krško, Slovenia. She studied music in Slovenia and at the New School in New York. Her style combines hypnotic soul, dub, jazz, world music and electronic music.

Her debut album Mila (2008) set to music the poems of renowned Slovenian actress and poet Mila Kačič.

Twisted Delight (2013) features Katja’s own poetic lyrics, while Kamlisajlan (2016) is based on contemporary Roma poetry from the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The album was created together with Mexican musician Alban Usatch between France, Mexico and Slovenia, using loop stations and repetitive world music rhythm patterns.

Discography:

Mila (Sanje, 2008)
Twisted Delight (celinka, 2013)
Kamlisajlan (Casete Mexico, 2016)

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Tuning Into Slovenian World Music

Various Artists – Tuning into the World: Slovenia

Various Artists – Tuning into the World: Slovenia (Slovenian Music Information Center – SIGIC, 2017)

The Slovenian Music Information Center put together this compilation of Slovenian artists working within the umbrella of world music. The selection features the leading performers, composers and arrangers whose work had a substantial influence on the Slovenian music scene between 2015 and 2017.

The album opens with the schmaltzy sound of Magnifico profoundly inspired by the “Schlager” sounds of the former Yugoslavia. His style is a fun mix of Balkan music, Latin, reggae, surf, funk, and electronica. The track, “Ya Mustafa” appeared on the album Charlatan de Balkan (Dom Svobode, 2016).

The band includes: Magnifico on vocals; Schatz! on drums; Matija Krečič on violin; Ivan Pavlović on trumpet; Matej Kužel on baritone saxophone; Teo Collori on guitar; and Jan Gregorka on bass.

Magnifico – Photo by Marko Ocepek

Next is “Šaltinka,” a previously unreleased song featuring the passionate Istrian singer Rudi Bučar accompanied by jazz pianist Marko Churnchetz.

Track 3 highlights Katalena, one of the finest world music acts in Slovenia. The group combines traditional Slovenian folk music with rock energy featuring mesmerizing flutes and whistles. The track, “Andale Bandale,” appeared on the album Enci Benci Katalenci (Pivec, 2015). The band includes Vesna Zornik on vocals; Polona Janežič on keyboards and vocals; Boštjan Gombač on fujara, alikvotna piščal (aliquot whistle), vocals; Tibor Mihelič Syed on debelni boben (log drum), bass and vocals; Boštjan Narat on guitar, percussion, vocals; and Robert Rebolj on drums.

Katja Šulc – Photo by Rok Mar

Next is a dreamy song titled “E plain an kidipe” (The Prostrate Mountain) with ethereal vocals by Katja Šulc , a singer and poet who learned music in Slovenia and New York. She’s joined by Mexican musician Alban Usatch on looped guitars. The track appeared on Kamlisajlan: Homage to Rromaní Poetry (Casete México, 2016).

On track 5, “Kasapsko Oro” from the album Story (KUD Solnce, 2016), we find the great Macedonian clarinetist and composer, Goran Bojčevski who combines jazz and Balkan and traditional music using a wonderful mix of whistles, clarinet, accordion and drums. The lineup includes Goran Bojčevski on clarinet, whistle; Tomaž Marčič on accordion; Tadej Kampl on bass; and Nino Mureškič on percussion.

Zamee

Next is the international collaboration called Zamee that features great vocal work and a fusion of Balkan and Indian music. The group intertwines Sufi and Slovenian poetry, folk songs and sacred Indian invocations with Roma (Gypsy) tunes and Macedonian melodies. The ensemble is led by two idiosyncratic female voices, Nika Solce, a Slovenian puppeteer and singer influenced by Indian and Balkan music and Sabiha Khan, a classically-trained vocalist based in Mumbai.

“Zrejlo je žito” (The Grain Is Ripe) appeared on the Zamee: An Indo-Balkan Music Project (Celinka, 2015) album. The ensemble included: Nika Solce on vocals, guitar; Sabiha Khan on vocals; Matija Solce on accordion, vocals; Vinayak Netke on tabla, percussion; Tilen Stepišnik – kitara on guitar.

Track 7 presents singer-songwriter Vlado Kreslin along with outstanding Balkan fiddler Saša Oljenuk. “Žena, žena” (Woman, Woman) was previously unreleased and features Vlado Kreslin on vocals; Saša Olenjuk on guitar and violin; Žiga Černec on double bass; and Gorazd Černec on brač (a four tone stringed instrument about 2/3 the size of a guitar).

Vasko Atanasovski Trio

Saxophonist and composer Vasko Atanasovski switches over to the flute on a superb track titled “Divane aşik gibi” (Infatuated Lover) from the album Melem (Pivec, 2017). Vasko Atanasovski rearranges this traditional Balkan piece with a guest vocalist from Turkey, singer Jehan Barbur. The band: Vasko Atanasovski on flute; Jehan Barbur on vocals; Dejan Lapanja on guitar; Marjan Stanić on percussion; and Vasil Hadžimanov on piano.

Track 9 presents innovative duo Darla Smoking, formed by two experienced musicians of the Slovene music underground, drummer Brgs and electronic music artist Nac. Their music is rooted in dub and contains field recordings of musical traditions from around the globe. world. The song “Agia Dub” appeared in their debut album Big Bug (KAPA Records, 2017).

Janez Dovč – Photo by Bojan Stepančič

Schrödingerjeva mačka (Schrödinger‘s Cat) is an original composition by accordionist Janez Dovč. He’s the founder and artistic director of the Celinka record label and the Godibodi Festival. The great solo accordion piece appeared on AkordeON (Celinka, 2015)

Singer, poet and translator Klarisa Jovanović performs a slow tempo traditional Slovenian song titled “Dej mi bože joči sokolove” (My Sweet Lord, Give Me the Hawk’s Eyes) from the album Amandolat (Celinka, 2016). The lineup: Klarisa Jovanović on vocals; Luka Ropret on guitar; Vasko Atanasovski on soprano saxophone; Marjan Stanić on percussion; Žiga Golob on double bass; and Danilo Ženko on keyboards.

Mateja Gorjup – Photo by Bernardka Rupnik

Mateja Gorjup combines ancient vocal music traditions with state of the art technology, exploring vocal techniques through overdubbing; looping and sampling musical instruments as well as sound-making objects. “V dolino” (Into the Valley) was extracted from Ijekaru (Klopotec, Produkcija Stara Šola, 2015).

Track 13 is the previously unreleased song “Čreda z juga” (A Herd from the South) from the brothers Tomaž and Jernej Hostnik, a pianist and accordionist. The duo combines accordion virtuosity with humor, sharp social commentary, and melodramatic vocals inspired by chanson.

Bakalina – Photo by Janez Pelko

Next is duo Bakalina formed by accordionist Renata Lapanja and singer-songwriter Jani Kutin. They perform the previously unreleased song “Pisma” (A Letter) rooted in the folk music traditions of the Tolmin mountain region. The lineup includes Jani Kutin on vocals; Renata Lapanja on accordion; Andrea Pandolfo on flugelhorn; and the Oktet Simon Gregorčič.

Track 15 introduces poet, writer, singer and storyteller Silvana Paletti. She hails from Resia, an Alpine valley in northeastern Italy where a Slovenian minority that speaks an archaic Slovenian dialect have lived for centuries. The a cappella song “Om Baj Bile” appeared on Mali Rug / Glas neba (Klopotec, 2015). The lineup includes Silvana Paletti, Zvonka T. Simčič, Barbara Berce, and Neli Rožič on vocals.

Širom trio. – Photo by Nada Žgank

The last track is the memorable Maestro mane vriskanje (Maestro Kneading Screams of Joy) from the album Lahko sem glinena mesojedka – I Can Be a Clay Snapper (tak:til, 2017) by Širom trio. This a remarkable contemporary folk music act. The band: Iztok Koren on three string banjo, banjo, bass drum, chimes; Ana Kravanja on violin, viola, bells, vocals; and Samo Kutin on brac, vocals.

This particular compilation presents and celebrates fresh and exciting chapters of tuning in and with world music (spot the word play!), conceived in the last few years,” said music publisher and researcher Katarina Juvančič. “However, not all of the otherwise significant or up-and-coming protagonists on the scene could be rightfully acknowledged. Yet some of them have have recently spurred an interest among the local and international public alike, whether for their interesting collaborations.”

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Artist Profiles: Katalena


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

Discography:

(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)

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Artist Profiles: Aritmija

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.

Discography:

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

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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.

Discography:

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

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Artist Profiles: Orlek

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.

Discography:

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)

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Artist Profiles: Sukar

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.

Discography:

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

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Artist Profiles: Terrafolk


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.

Discography:

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)

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