The Slovenia Times

The AccordionStrikes Back



The sensational pop versions of popular Slovenian folk music have excited the whole country. In sales figures alone, the musical phenomena called Atomik Harmonik was unbeatable and they are currently viewed as national idols. The formula for the success of Atomik Harmonik is not all that complicated. Two thin and good-looking young blonde girls dancing in short skirts and tops with plunging necklines basically seduce their audience. Drawing on vibes from the roots of traditional Slovenian music in the style of folk legends like Slavko Avsenik, and incorporating them with modern dance beats helped pushed their single ''Brizgalna brizga'' to the top of the charts right across the country. Atomik Harmonik hypnotically capture their audiences with waves of accordion music and their melodies can cause the heat on discotheque dance floors to rise to feverish levels. Even while sitting on a bus, you can often hear their hits resonating from loud headphones or as mobile phone ringtones. The image of the performers can be found practically everywhere, on shirts, calendars, postcards, notebooks and more recently greeting you from yoghurt cartons! Their frequent personal appearances and product endorsements keep them in the public eye and help maintain their popularity; but the question is - how long will this last? Menart Records was the first record label in the country to 'create' a pop group by auditioning people and documenting the process in a TV reality show. Well, do you still remember Bepop? Today, they stand in Atomik Harmonik's shadow. However, together with pop princess Alya, they were awarded with a platinum record by Menart for selling 10,000 copies last year. They heralded the arrival of the 'everyday teenager catapulted to stardom' era. The quest for new talent spread quickly throughout the nation and, as is often the case in the music industry, quality made way for image. Eyes - the Latest in Audio Gadgetry It is not how you sing - it is how you look. This is the motto of today's music, striving only to please aesthetically. So, what actually are the preferences of music consumers - high quality music or visual stimulation? This is the question... In today's market, there are virtually no differences to be found between the flood of mass-produced stars. They are all pretty. They all have shiny soft skin. They all wear modern clothes. And, of course, they are all famous. They are young and happy - typical teenage idols! And they also have another thing in common - their musical talents are not their best characteristics. This proves that talent and musical expertise are not always important for success in the world of music. The popularity of the performers themselves often affects the popularity of their songs, many of which eventually become hits. This leads us to question... how much does the music really matter nowadays. Yellow journalism (the tabloid press), which has expanded rapidly in the last two years - perhaps too rapidly given Slovenia's small population and geographical size, offers consumers the chance to vicariously live the life of their musical idols outside the spotlight. Actually, some of them enter the music world via the media. Zana, for instance, a young singer whose music had rarely if ever been heard, succeeded in drawing attention to herself through her breast implants and nude photographs. Nevertheless, she is still referred to as a music star. With an adequate approach to promotion, the media can often be used to make seemingly impossible wishes come true. Information fed out by the media often serves as a subconscious guide for consumers by exposing them to particular actions, attitudes and lifestyles. Shiny stars have become an excellent trademark, highly rated and craved for by the market. Audiences, usually teenagers and youngsters, are visually bombarded with illusions of beauty, fame and success by the media's use of the latest pop sensations, who almost always come with an expiration date. By the way, have you heard any new songs by the boy band, Game Over or the last big sensation, Fredi Miller? They seemed to have passed their 'use by' dates. On the other hand, there are exceptions to the rule. Omar Naber, a winner of yet another TV talent contest, this time held by Nika Records, is currently one of the brightest soloists on the pop scene. In his case and in stark contrast to the bulk of instant pop heroes, his musicianship and obvious vocal ability actually did prevail. But is his long-term success guaranteed?


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