Slovenes rediscover their musical roots

14-11-2003

Over the past ten years Slovene pop culture has been moving away from western influences and returning to more traditional roots. - It's a phenomenon examined in the novels of Slovene writer Andrej Blatnik.

"The present situation, only came about around 10 years ago and it's brought a lot of changes into Slovene everyday life. Before 1991, before the fall of the Berlin Wall and communism and things like that, we were all treating American culture like the big example of how life should be. Now we know how it looks and we are changing our minds a bit."

Changing your minds - in what way?

"In the way that the so-called perfect society is not necessarily the best for your every, single, small citizen."

Tell me about your every, single, small Slovene citizen, particularly the younger ones who might get lost here in the 'labyrinth of pop culture'. What are they interested in, what do they do? What does pop culture mean to them?

"Well quite interestingly pop culture of 10 years ago was mostly the western pop culture. Where as now a days the big thing in the life of people in their early 20s is the so-called Balkan music. The music of those parts Yugoslavia wanted to get rid of before 91. Now the kids, that never really had any experience of what life was like in the former Yugoslavia, really enjoy the groups from that area. Which is not a specific Slovene situation, but it is admired much more than you wouldn't expect in a nation that has been a nation state for only 10 years."

When you say Balkan music, would you mean Balkan rap, Balkan hip hop, more modern music?

"Actually quite surprisingly all of it, even the more traditional forms or the so called 'turbo-folk', which is folk music with electronic beats under it, synthesisers and so on. Even this is quite popular and it's completely made in an area of Serbia and not produced in Slovenia."

And back to your writing world - would you say everything you write has a Slovene feel and has a connection with your country?

"Actually quite the opposite. In Slovenia I'm described as a writer who has nothing to do really with the Slovene traditional myths - that I'm somehow very different from that. But that was the Slovene viewpoint. When my book was published in the U.S.A all the reviewers talked about it as having a very specific eastern European approach, Kafkaesque and so on, which was just the opposite of what the Slovene readers and critics felt."

14-11-2003