Begunje to resound with Avsenik music

Begunje na Gorenjskem, 23 August - Over 150 pop folk songs by the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble will be played from Friday to Sunday at a festival centred around the heritage of the legendary Avsenik brothers.

Begunje na Gorenjskem
The 2015 Avsenik Festival, dedicated to the legendary Avsenik Brothers Ensemble.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA
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Begunje na Gorenjskem.
The Avsenik Museum, featuring the heritage of the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA
File photo

Begunje na Gorenjskem
Slavko Avsenik (1929-2015) was laid to rest with full state honours. President Borut Pahor (pictured) was one of the speakers of honour.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
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The Avsenik Festival will be held for the fifth time in Begunje na Gorenjskem, the home town of musicians Slavko Avsenik (1929-2015) and Vilko Ovsenik (1928-2017).

It is expected to attract more than 4,000 visitors, mostly from German-speaking European countries, but also from the US and Canada.

The festival was first organised in 2013 in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Avsenik Brothers Ensemble, an Oberkrainer polka band of world renown.

This year it will remember 90 years since the births of Vilko Ovsenik and Slavko Avsenik.

A special slot will also be dedicated to the Sašo Avsenik Ensemble, which was formed by Slavko Avsenik's grandson Sašo in 2008.

The Avseniks' music will be played by musicians from Slovenia and abroad. The festival will open with musicians from abroad, also featuring Takeo Ischi, an acclaimed Japanese yodeler from Germany.

The Avsenik Brothers Ensemble boasts more than 1,000 songs of their own, so if all were to be played, the festival would have to last much longer than three days.

"Only a seventh of all songs will be played. Playing all of them would prolong the festival to three weeks, and to over a month with all the cover versions included," its artistic director Gregor Avsenik, Slavko Avsenik's son, told the press a few days before the festival.

More than 20,000 visitors have visited it since it was first organised six years ago as an annual event, which later turned into a biannual festival.

"There are many visitors who return every year, and also many who stay all three days," said chief organiser Nataša Farkaš.

As one of the biggest pop folk music events in Slovenia, the festival is also important for tourism around the town of Radovljica in the mountainous north-west.

The local tourist board has thus come up with an accompanying programme offering a number of sight-seeing tours.

Festival-goers will thus have an opportunity to visit some of the places which had a major impact on the Avsenik brothers' music, including Golica, a peak which gave the name to one of their most famous instrumental songs.

© STA, 2019