The Slovenia Times

Encyclopaedia of Slovenian singer-songwriters in the making


Jani Kovačič, one of the country's finest singer-songwriters who has also been a driving force behind the Kantfest meeting, said the goal was to finish the project in time for the 15th edition of the Ruše-based event in 2017.

The plan is to make the material accessible in three forms: as a website, a shorter version on Wikipedia and in book form if adequate funding is provided.

While data is scarce on what were really the first solo performers in Slovenia, Kovačič said the likes of Fran Milčinski - Ježek (1914-1988), a legendary satirist, and poet Svetlana Makarovič will be mentioned in the introduction.

Researcher Katarina Juvančič has outlined several waves of Slovenian singer-songwriting, listing Tomaž Domicelj, Aleksander Mežek and Andrej Šifrer among the representatives of the first generation. They started in the 1960s and 70s and were inspired by the heritage of American folk music.

A new wave appeared in the mid-70s, led by the poetic Tomaž Pengov (1949-2014), whom Kovačič mentioned as the real starting point, and the progressive Marko Brecelj.

Kovačič, with his high and scratchy voice and social criticism, stood out in the young generation that followed, while the 80s and 90s saw the scene becoming increasingly professional and diverse.

The period was marked above all by rock-based Vlado Kreslin, Zoran Predin, Andrej Guček and Leon Matek, "the ordinary man's" Adi Smolar, the dialect-heavy Iztok Mlakar as well as by feminist and rebel Ksenija (Xsenia) Jus.

There was little by way of new young performers after the turn of the century, but this started changing with the launch of Kantfest in 2002. Marko Grobler, Boštjan Narat, Tadej Vesenjak and Matej Krajnc are some of the key names of the latest generation.

Singer-songwriting officially became a profession in Slovenia in 2014, with Ksenija Jus being the first to register as one.


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