The Slovenia Times

Sukar Celebrates



This is one of the messages of Sukar, the prominent gypsy-influenced Slovenian musical group whose recent performance in Cankarjev dom was a celebration of their ten years of creativity. So, how does music of an oft-neglected and despised ethnicity end up being in the centrepiece of (Slovene) national culture, which Cankarjev dom is? One answer to this question certainly lies in the magic of gypsy music, but the other is founded in the rich history of this 5 to 12-piece tamburitza ensemble. Sukar first started working together in 1990, joining together then-active members of various tamburitza orchestras from Ljubljana-based folk groups. After many years of playing traditional melodies and folk music, they devoted themselves to playing primarily gypsy or Romany music. The basis for Sukar's performances and repertoire springs from a collection of traditional songs written, recorded or passed down orally, which they then reinterpret in their own style. Most are dance songs or ballads, arranged for the tambour quintet, which are performed in the same way whether it is in concert or in the recording studio. However, being inspired by the past hasn't stopped Sukar experimenting with contemporary music. Examples of this fruitful combination of the traditional and the modern is their reinterpretation of the Lennon-McCartney song "Girl" and their collaborations with some of the legends of the Slovenian musical scene such as Vlado Kreslin, Zoran Predin, Magnifico, Oto Pestner, and Jani Kovacic among others. Some of the songs born from these collaborations have gained cult status - for instance, "Namesto koga roza cveti" ("In whose place does the flower bloom") and "Mentol bonbon" (Menthol Candy). However, their success, both at home and abroad, is just one of Sukar's qualities. Their most endearing quality is their ability and willingness to take you into their world - sad or drunk, poetic or vulgar. As they would put it: "Gypsies are and are not what you imagine. They are more and they are less."


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