Music is an inevitable part of any culture. It does not only relax the listener and brings positive emotions. Music opens a door to hidden senses, through which you can discover an inner world of an artist as well as the culture he represents.
Slovenian culture is highly musical. Starting from partisan songs that brought strength for fight to punk against socialism and, of course, let’s not forget about folk representing the Slovenian soul. The most famous artists and bands are Avseniki, Magnifico, Panktri, Tomaž Pengov, Siddharta, and name more.
Therefore, Slovenes developed a huge archive of their own music, mixing styles, genres, voices, and ideologies. Here, there are old classics of Slovenian music as well as new alternative and experimentative artists. In this article, we propose to get deeper into famous Slovenian musicians, realize what they have done for the Slovenian musical industry, and for creating definitive national handwriting (or it’s better to say “ music-writing”) style. Let’s start!
Robert Pešut is the real name of the artist. He is a musician who gathered folk, own style, classic rock, and the national identity from one Slovenian and one Serbian parent. In the end, it mixed into one of the unique and most beloved artists in Slovenia. Robert created his first band in 1992 and named it U’redu. With them, he recorded his first album, Let’s Dance in the same year.
Afterward, he decided to perform as a solo artist under the name Magnifico, recording six albums in twelve years! Robert sings in Slovenian, Serbian, Romani, Italian, and English. His style is humorous-romantic, he likes to use and mock on southern European and Balkan clichés. Moreover, he mixes the most diverse musical genres and styles, using hip-hop beats, surf guitar, folk, ex-Yugoslavian rock, gypsy singing, and reggae melodies.
The most famous alternative Slovenian rock band. The band includes Tomi Meglič, Primož Benko, Jani Hace, Tomaž Okroglič-Rous, Boštjan Meglič. In 1995, when four friends establishers gathered once, they discussed a well-known novel by Hermann Hesse called Siddhartha and decided that why not to create a band with a similar name(?). There came Siddharta.
Since that time, they started to form their unique sound, changing it through time. They started in 1995 and are playing until now. In spite of all the changes, their distinct feature remains a sound enriched with a saxophone. Their second album was the most successful, the only band who topped them at that time in Slovenia was U2. The band is highly popular in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Croatia, and, of course, Slovenia.
A punk rock band from Ljubljana with its founders Gregor Tomc and Peter Lovšin. They proclaimed themselves as “The First Punk Band Behind The Iron Curtain” and it was true because they are one of the first punk music groups formed in a socialistic country as well as one of the most important rock bands in Yugoslavia.
Panktri became one of the first bands to push the punk movement. Two friends were highly inspired by Sex Pistols created their own Ljubljana pistols. Furthermore, they were lucky enough to release their first album in the times when Yugoslavia was on the great change, so people were ready to hear all the ideas of freedom.
Popular at that time, punk rock from the United Kingdom found its place in the hearts of Yugoslavians. Moreover, Slovenians were the first ones to understand this. So, the ideas that were wondering in the heads of the majority found their representations in punk rock. That is how Ljubljana became the center of Yugoslav punk and rock music.
The most famous one is “Na Golici”, which became the second national hymn. Moreover, it was declared as the most played instrumental piece of music in the world over the last century by the German royalty collection agency GEMA in 2003. The secret of such is the fact that it is not just Slavko’s song; it is the song of family, culture, and tradition.
Avseniki is an ensemble created by two brothers: Slavko and Vilko. They brought their unique personalities as well as strong family links in their music. This kaleidoscope of human emotions connected to national traditions passed from generation to generation was touching the hearts of the whole Slovenian population. Furthermore, not only them, because Avseniki were recognized as the most performed and the best-sold authors of popular folk music in Europe. This fact meant that they found not only the notes of Slavic identity but uniting melodies of the whole European nation.
Continuing the topic of Slovenian folk, it is important to mention Lojze Slak. He became one of the pioneers of Slovene popular folk music as well. The main difference was in the fact that he used the diatonic button accordion.
The story started in 1968 when he met the musical group Fantje s Praprotna, and they together decided to create a band with the name Lojze Slak Ensemble (Ansambel Lojzeta Slaka). They were playing trumpet, a clarinet, bass, and the accordion by Lojze.
The band was active for almost 50 years, they created such hits as Čez Gorjance (1965), V dolini tihi je vasica mala (1966), Po dekle (1967), and Mama, prihajam domov (1985). In total, the number of songs written by the ensemble reached 500!
In general, Lojze was playing accordion virtuously, even developed several improvements for the instrument, adding extra buttons. However, aside from music, he promoted and loved cviček wine and had his own vineyard.
In his last years, he was fighting bone cancer and passed away in 2011, in Ljubljana.
The most famous Slovenian bard, also a singer-songwriter, guitarist, and poet. The most famous and applicable comparison to him is the Slovenian Leonard Cohen. Pengov usually played the lute, steel-string acoustic guitar, and twelve-string guitar during his performances. He graduated in comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Arts. Therefore, he linked his life with art until his death in 2014.
The musician released his first album Odpotovanja in 1973, which is still considered as the first independently released record in the former Yugoslavia. Only after eight years of hard work, he published his second album Pripovedi (Stories) in 1988, where he varied the musical part with new instruments. Furthermore, he was working in independent Slovenia as well. His Rimska cesta (Roman road) (1992) and Biti tu (Being here) (1996) became quite popular and the last release was the audiobook Drevo in zvezda (Tree and a star).
New and Prospective Musicians
In the very end, I would like to share some new and interesting musicians I opened for myself last time. The modern Slovenian music stage is full of new and interesting faces, so let’s reveal some of them. The first one, Koala Voice, is a music band formed in 2010 but released their debut album in 2015. The style can be described as indie music with a strong influence of rock bands of the 70s. They are actively touring across Europe. To continue bands with influences from old rock, let’s notice “persons from porlock”. Their name is intentionally written with no capital letters. They have a distinctive alternative sound influenced by the psychedelic rock of the 70s and garage rock of the 90s. The band is actively performing in Slovenia.
To mention some electronic music, band Matter is one of the best examples as well as Leni Kravac. The first group is mainly electronic, whereas the second one mixes elements of drum N bass, funk, jazz, hip-hop, and Balkan melodies. They played concerts even on the streets of Ljubljana, Belgrade, and Zagreb, surprising fans of their unexpectable appearances.
Folk heritage played a great role in modern Slovenian music. The band called “Širom” is the most obvious example of this statement. They describe themselves as an acoustic folk drone avant-garde experimental band. Pretty complicated definition, but their music explains it easily. If to say it shortly, it is folk-ish meditation. No more words.
Jardier is one of the highly praised Slovenian music pioneers. As well as the previous one, they were influenced by folk melodies, but they also took a dynamic from rock, blues, and pop. Their debut album blew the mind of Slovenian critics in 2015. Now, they are definitely one of the top music bands in the Slovenian music field.
Listen, don’t Read
In general, the music industry in Slovenia has highly developed as well as the music taste of Slovenes. There are representatives of almost any music genre here, so it is impossible to mention all of them in just one, even long article. Slovenians are fond of their folk, and it influenced even young bands letting them create new and distinct pieces.
However, you will never feel the Slovene national identity in music just reading about it. All these words were only a preface to the extraordinary musical world you would experience tapping the “play” button under the name of any mentioned above guys. Therefore, I propose to close this article and open any music streaming service!