The Slovenia Times

Singing legend Alfi Nipič honoured with a museum

Singer Alfi Nipič. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Alfi Nipič, the legendary Slovenian singer best known for schlagers and folk songs, got his own museum in Jarenina, a village near his birthplace Maribor where Nipič, who will turn 80 in September, has been living for almost 50 years.

Nipič is only a third Slovenian musician or band to be honoured in this way.

The Avsenik Brothers Ensemble, the most famous Slovenian musical band globally that Nipič was part of for almost two decades, have a museum in their home town Begunje in the northwest of the country, and Lojze Slak (1932-2011), another celebrated folk musician, has a museum with poet Tone Pavček (1928-2011) in Dolenjska in the southeast.

The Štajerska House of Music is located in a renovated building that used to serve as a local school. It is only 12 kilometres away from Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city.

Speaking at the 29 June opening, Nipič said he and Slavko Avsenik (1929-2015) hit on the idea for such a museum in Cleveland, Ohio, having been invited there by the state's governor.

"There we saw the Polka Hall of Fame, a Slovenian music museum. If so many beautiful things about our little Slovenia are showcased so far away from home, it would be only right to have something like that in Slovenia too, I told Slavko. And so the idea was born to set up the first Avsenik Museum in Begunje," he said as quoted by the local news web site

Asked how it felt to have the museum open its doors during his lifetime, he said: "Slavko Avsenik attended the opening of his museum too. A museum is made for memories, it's nice to be able to say something at the opening. I am proud of what emerged here."

In addition to the permanent exhibition presenting the singer's life and work, the museum also includes a visitor shop with local products and souvenirs, wine shop, event venue and the headquarters of a local tourism association.

The exhibition features items from Nipič's collection such as photographs, posters, audio and video recordings, articles and books, golden records, accolades and outfits. His jackets have been designed by Peter Movrin, who also works with Lady Gaga.

The exhibition celebrates his career milestones, including his evergreen Silvestrski Poljub (New Year's Eve Kiss), which is the standard part of the repertoire at Slovenian New Year's Eve parties.

Another highlight is Nipič's collaboration with the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble, who were active in 1953-1990. They invented the Oberkrainer style of folk music.

The National Liberation Museum Maribor helped plan the exhibition, having hosted one on New Year's Eve Kiss in 2021 to mark the song's 50th anniversary.

The museum will be open every day between 10am and 6pm under a summer time schedule and between 10am and 5pm during winter time.

Nipič has been part of the Slovenian musical scene for 63 years. He is planning a concert in Maribor later this year to mark his 80th birthday. Even before his birthday, he will perform a concert in Koper in July.

At the museum's opening, he launched his autobiography Ostal bom muzikant (I'll Stay a Musician), named after one of his most popular songs. This is also the title of the permanent exhibition in Jarenina.


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