The Slovenia Times

Vlado Kreslin paid tribute on his 70th birthday

Singer-songwriter Vlado Kreslin. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Vlado Kreslin, the iconic singer-songwriter from Slovenia's north-easternmost region, has been honoured on his 70th birthday with a concert at which fellow musicians played cover versions of his songs.

Part of Unplugged, the long-running radio show hosted by Jure Longyka, the concert at Kino Šiška venue on 3 December featured almost 50 Slovenian musicians performing in a dozen musical acts.

Longyka said the line-up had been picked in cooperation with Kreslin and his team and the editorial board of Val 202, the second programme of the national radio, which hosts Longyka's show.

"We weren't thinking so much about the compatibility of the artists with Vlado's music, but were looking for those who are interesting in their own right. I'm very happy that we got artists who are different from Vlado, both generation- and genre-wise," Longyka commented for RTV Slovenija.

It was mostly younger artists who remade some of Kreslin's biggest hits in their own style, refashioning them in the rhythms of funk, Americana, world music, indie rock, rap and R&B.

"When you hear your piece performed by someone else, it's a confirmation there's something to it. Until you perform it yourself, you are not objective," said Kreslin.

"Vlado is like a national treasure. There's not a single person who wouldn't know his songs," said Alex Raztresen, the frontman of Jardier, one of the bands featured at the concert.

Boris Kokalj, the singer of Kokosy, said it was hard for them to choose which of Kreslin's hits to remake, because "Vlado is like The Beatles".

The lineup included the bands Dan D and Batista Cadilac, as well as Chris Eckman, an American-born musician, composer and producer, and Marina Mårtensson, the Slovenian-Swedish singer who collaborates with the industrial band Laibach. They all remade Kreslin's songs especially for the occasion.

In one of the highlights of the evening Kreslin joined Leopold I, a rapper who sings in the local Gornja Radgona dialect, on the stage to perform a song from his latest album, sending the audience into raptures.

"I hid in the dark so you wouldn't see me crying," Kreslin described his emotions after the concert.

Kreslin, whose trademarks include a hat and a black guitar, embarked on his musical career in 1970 as a drummer in the band Apollo.

He won the Slovenian Pop Song Contest in 1980 with the song Dan neskončnih sanj (Day of Endless Dreams). Three years later, he joined the rock band Martin Krpan, which broke up in 1991 after performing at Bob Dylan's concert in Ljubljana. Kreslin would later often been described as Slovenia's Bob Dylan.

Mixing traditional Slovenian folk music and rock, Kreslin went on to make a name for himself in Slovenia and abroad with his solo records as well as the roots-music band from his home village Beltinška Banda and Mali Bogovi.

He has performed with international stars including R.E.M. and the Dubliners.

A lyrical poet of the Prekmurje plains, Kreslin will mark his 70th anniversary with a series of concerts at Cankarjev Dom that he has been performing every December for the past 30 years.


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