In my third report from the contemporary music scenes of eastern and central Europe, I look at Slovenia’s underground scene including Širom’s imaginary folk and string experiments by Tomaž Grom.

“I discovered Slovenian folk songs quite late in life”, says Samo Kutin from group Širom. “I knew a few from my childhood and learned to sing some others later. These are old folk songs from Slovenia and regions beyond the Slovenian border, Resia and Istria. I can feel some connection with them even if they aren’t really kept alive as folk music should be. It makes sense to me to create imaginary folk in a country where folk hasn’t really survived. Why? Because it’s honest and made in the time we live in. Because songs have their own lives – they evolve from concert to concert like all folk music evolved throughout history. Because we need music and rituals to go through life.”

In the Slovenian scene, I’m most interested in an approach to folk music which is inspired by different cultures plus improvised music where it meets the avant-garde. But we will also look at noteworthy artists who experiment with sound and its deconstruction or incorporate collage methods, non-standard performance techniques and instrument preparation into their practice. In this part of the Slovenian scene, I am captivated by its rawness and rootsiness, a natural sound that seems close to nature. Perhaps this is where to look for that connection to the geography of the place?


Inner Ear: Slovenian Music For May