The Slovenia Times

Falco's Rock me Amadeus remade in Carinthian Slovenian

Bališ, a rock band of Carinthian Slovenians. Photo: Stefan Reichman

Bališ, a rock band bringing together ethnic Slovenians from the Austrian state of Carinthia, has recently released a cover version of Rock me Amadeus, the 1985 hit by late Austrian pop star Falco. Like all their songs, it is in a local dialect.

The band, who have been active for almost 25 years, sing in the Ebriach (Obirsko) dialect. This Slovene dialect is spoken by only about 500 people in Carinthia today, the band's drummer and lyricist Marko Stern has told the Slovenian Press Agency.

Although some of the reviews describe their music as indie rock, they consider themselves a rock band in the tradition of Austrian pop.

Their musical influences come from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, but their producer, Žare Pak, modernises the songs to give them a "contemporary outfit". "I think we've captured the spirit of the 1980s, 1990s well this time," Stern said.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the band decided to make their own version of Falco's Rock me Amadeus, which Stern describes as the most successful song in the German-speaking world.

The production was completed quickly, but they waited more than two years for permission to release it from one of the three publishers, so the song only came out this year.

Žare Pak acted as producer and sound engineer, while the mixing involved Janez Križaj, who has also influenced the sound of Laibach, the internationally acclaimed Slovenian conceptual music band.

Bališ in the past successfully remade Daham bleibt daham, a song by Austrian musician Georg Danzer, releasing it under the title Ljubo doma, kdor ga ima, a Slovenian adage roughly translating as Home Sweet Home.

They are planning to release a new album next year to mark their 25th anniversary. They are also planning a big silver jubilee concert in Carinthia and other concerts. They also hope to make a mark in Slovenia.

Being members of the Slovenian minority, the band have always been committed to expressing themselves in their own language, convinced that this is the only possible authentic and genuine approach to artistic creativity.

The name of the band comes from an old Ebriach dialect word for the belongings of farmhands and maidservants that they carried from one employer to another.

This bališ did not add up to much and sometimes it was almost non-existent, but the servants often had a talent for music or poetry and, in a figurative sense, bališ lives on in this tradition.

They say they make "music for the heart and head, while standing out from the blandness of today's rock releases". They also see themselves as a rock band of international cooperation, not only between Slovenia and Austrian Carinthia.

They have worked and played with artists such as Bob Geldof, Nine Below Zero, Eric Bibb, Louisiana Red, Willi Resetarits, Helmut Bibl, Andy Bartosh and Bluesbreakers, as well as Slovenia's Vlado Kreslin, Siddharta and Big Foot Mama, and Croatia's Hladno pivo.


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