Friday, 18 February 2022

When Music Meets Nature: Revizor, Soundtrack for Adventures in the Wild [VIDEO]

February 18th, 2022 - Croatian musician and producer Vedran Križan, a self-described nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, created a unique project that combines two of his greatest loves - music and nature

Meet the Revizor project, a series of ambient electronic compositions written and performed by keyboardist Vedran Križan, who describes it as a soundtrack for recreation or meditation. Revizor is  influenced by various genres and subgenres of electronic music from the 60s to the present day, with each single performed outdoors as a live act to draw attention to the importance of spending time in nature. 

Not only outdoors, but in quite special locations at that. The first live act named The View was performed and filmed on Vojak peak at the top of Učka mountain, a scenic location with a spectacular view of the Kvarner gulf on one side and Istria on the other.

Watch the video for the first single below:

Križan said the project probably wouldn’t have taken shape if it weren’t for the pandemic-induced lockdown.

‘A positive thing about the lockdown was the enormous amount of free time which I used to play music, create, and go into nature… As the compositions were taking shape, I was thinking about how to present them visually, as no one will listen to anything for more than a minute these days if they don’t have something to look at. Because of the pandemic, the Ministry of Culture supported artists in their efforts to present their work digitally, and I decided to take things a step further and use the opportunity to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Instead of typical music videos, I wanted to present my music as a live act, step out of my comfort zone, and reveal the wonders of nature and all its benefits to the audience’, said Križan for Novi list when he first came out with Revizor.

'It’s music for different mental states and travels, whose effect I tested on myself. For example, I’d play a part of the piece while walking in the woods or while rowing', said the musician. 

He has now presented the second Revizor single with a video filmed in Platak, a ski resort north of Rijeka.

As reported by Novi list, the single named Live at Platak was performed and filmed on January 21st, 2022 in true winter conditions at the Radeševo peak, one of the few ski resorts in Europe that have a view of the sea.

Križan plays the keyboard and is joined by renowned musician and composer Zvjezdan Ružić on mellotron. Watch them perform the ambiental piece against the crisp white backdrop:

Križan is best known as the keyboard player in Neno Belan’s band Fiumens, but he’s also worked with numerous Croatian musicians and performers over his career of 30 years (Denis & Denis, Laufer, Urban&4, Let 3, Pips chips & videoclips, Kensington Lima, etc).

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Balkan Beats: 3 Music Treats to Enjoy This Month

February 3, 2022 - It appears we have a music-themed month on our hands with Zagreb Music Fair and a few delicious live shows lined up in the coming weeks. We bring you a selection of three performances in Zagreb and Pula that are all rooted in traditional music of the Balkans, some partially, some in full. Enjoy!

 

Zoran Majstorović & JazzIstra Quartet - Musical Migrations / Zagreb, February 4

First up, Zoran Majstorović and the JazzIstra Quartet performing in Zagreb this Friday. They’ll be playing the six pieces which make up the album Musical Migrations, composed by Majstorović and recorded in 2020.

The album was written for a jazz orchestra featuring a multi-instrumentalist, in this case Majstorović himself. Musical Migrations are influenced by American jazz and traditional music from various parts of the world, combining musical elements originating from multiple cultures in six original compositions. Every piece is a story of its own, with three of them inspired by traditional music of the Balkans and Istria in particular. Here's a rundown as presented in the event description:

The opening track Baal Un is an interpretation of balun (a form of traditional Istrian dance) in an abstract drum’n’bass performance. La Tierra Y El Cielo is inspired by Latin music and flamenco, with a mandolin adding a touch of Mediterranean sound. Wangari combines the music of West Africa with American swing and is dedicated to Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Duck’s Remarks draws inspiration from island music, featuring Jamaican reggae, Hawaiian ukulele, and a dose of free jazz.

In the video above, listen to Oro Machno, named after the Istrian village Koromačno and combining the Balkan oro in 9/8 with melodic elements of the Istrian scale. And finally, Not Giving Up on Our Species, a composition in which delta blues and the New Orleans sound meet Istria and the Balkans.

Zoran Majstorović - guitar, oud, saz, kamal
Branko Sterpin - trumpet, flugelhorn
Bojan Skočilić - double bass, bass guitar
Borko Rupena - drums

 

Kulturni centar Mesnička (Mesnicka Cultural Centre), Zagreb
February 4, 9pm start

The album will be available for purchase at the venue.
Admission is free, with voluntary donations welcome.

 

Alice In WonderBand / Zagreb, February 13

On the second weekend in February, Močvara club in Zagreb will host Alice In WonderBand, a duo from Serbia known for their captivating blend of folk music and performance arts. They bring Balkan folklore to life in a unique way, performing traditional music through a combination of singing and body percussion.

Ana Vrbaški and Marko Dinjaški are artists and performers who have been life and stage partners for 25 years. The Alice in WonderBand project was conceived at Fruška Gora in 1998, and has since made its way all over the region. They perform traditional songs from Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Turkey and Hungary.

Their shows are a mesmerising fusion of music, theatre, dance and acrobatics performed using a special skill of body percussion. Watch the video below to see them skip, clap, tap and twirl, all the while belting out some serious tunes:

Močvara, Zagreb
Sunday, February 13, 8pm start
Tickets can be purchased here and at the venue before the show.

 

Tamara Obrovac Quartet / Pula, February 23

Singer, songwriter, composer and flutist, Tamara Obrovac is a powerhouse best known for her Istria-inspired flavour of ethnic jazz. The immensely talented artist is performing in Pula on February 23 with one of her long-standing ensembles, a quartet whose line-up hasn’t changed since 1997!

They’ll be playing new compositions written by Obrovac for an album coming out later this year.

Have a taste of their sublime sound with a 2018 performance:

Tamara Obrovac - vocals
Matija Dedić - piano
Žiga Golub - double bass
Krunoslav Levačić - drums

 

INK Pula (Istrian National Theatre Pula)
Wednesday, February 23, 8pm
Tickets can be purchased here

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Calling All Music Lovers: Zagreb Music Fair to Take Place This Weekend

February 2, 2022 - Zagreb is about to host the first music fair in Croatia, a dream come true for all music lovers - record collectors, passionate audiophiles, industry veterans, and everyone in between

Organised by Tvornica kulture, Zagreb Music Fair (ZMF) brings a vast selection of records, new and used musical instruments, and audio components available for purchase. They have also prepared a range of audio and video workshops, light & sound courses, and music lessons for various instruments.

ZMF is the first in Croatia to assemble manufacturers and distributors of musical instruments and other music gear, record labels, and concert producers. 

Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, Yamaha, Ludwig and Premier are just some of the brands that will be making an appearance at ZMF. A full list of participating brands and vendors will be published shortly, together with a detailed programme and a couple of surprises to boot.

The fair is offering an opportunity for all music-related businesses to present their products and services, be they major players on the market or small local manufacturers. ZMF is inviting musicians, authors, publishing experts, business developers and music influencers to gather and bond over their appreciation of music.

All music lovers can look forward to three days of exploring music in all its forms. Professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts alike can try out musical instruments, purchase records, music gear, books about music, or simply enjoy a wonderful music-themed weekend.

Looking to sell your instruments or other audio gear? This is your opportunity - if interested, send an inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ZMF will take place from Friday, February 4th to Sunday, February 6th 2022 at HALA Zagreb.

Working hours:
Friday 4pm - 9pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am - 9pm

Address: HALA Zagreb, Heinzelova 96a

Follow Zagreb Music Fair on Facebook

Friday, 11 June 2021

Silvio Bilić: Croatia's Classical Guitar State Competition Winner and 4-time Oscar of Knowledge Recipient

June 12, 2021 - Europe is a dream destination for artists and musicians and Croatia is certainly keeping up with the excellent European art scene. Although best known for being a holiday destination, Croatia also boasts world-class academia, professors, artists, and performers, too! TCN meets Silvio Bilić.

Silvio Bilić and the town of Omiš

At the young age of 23, Silvio has already won 34 first prizes for national and international competitions, is a four-time recipient of the Oscar of Knowledge from the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports, and a 4-time state champion of Croatia's Classical Guitar State Competition. Currently a student at the Academy of Arts in Split, under Prof. Maroje Brčić, his path to music excellence all began at the age of 8 in a small town of Omiš in the region of Dalmatia. 

What inspired you to be a guitarist? 

I started playing the guitar at the age of 8 - which was quite late for someone who wishes to pursue classical music - but fortunately, I exhibited good potential even as a beginner. I spent the first four months of my early education competing and I ended up in the top 3 young artists of my generation. I chose the guitar as my instrument because it is one of the most celebrated and known instruments in the region of Dalmatia where it is a common sight to see people sing and play guitar. One day, I saw my cousin playing and handling the guitar so eloquently and after that, I had a strong desire to try so that I could feel the elegance of playing the instrument myself. The first time I played the guitar, I felt an immediate connection to it and that was when I discovered my life goal - to be a professional guitarist and performer. 

What was it like to be a young musician in a small town?

Growing up in a small community actually helped me a lot because since the town is small, the engagement and the involvement of the people in our town towards classical music (arts scene, in general) and the local artists are very focused. Because of this, the talents of their youth are recognized early and are highly encouraged by the community. 

How do the people in Omis perceive arts and support you as a budding artist from their hometown?

The people of Omiš are very supportive especially towards my goal which is to present to the younger and older generation that there is a career and profound satisfaction in pursuing the arts, especially music, and to remove the stigma that arts are just a hobby. Omiš Centre for Culture (Centar za Kulturu Omiš) helps me realize this goal by organizing my honorary concerts in Omiš and helps in promoting it as well. They make posters and also arrange collaborations with local drama artists, painters, and photographers. In Omiš,  there are two stunning performance venues which are my favourites (although we have a lot in Omiš) - The Church of Holy Spirit and The Church of St. Peter.

What were your early years of music studies in Omiš like? 

After enrolling at Osnovna Glazbena Škola Lovro pl. Matačić Omiš when I was 8 years old, I discovered that with the guidance of great mentors, I could pursue music professionally and make a great career out of it. My first-ever professor was Neno Munitić who introduced me to guitar and the endless opportunities in the world of art. The first piece I learned and performed was from an etude from a classical composer Fernando Sor. For my first competition, I played this same piece with an addition of an original piece by Prof. Neno which was called December Morning, and coincidentally enough (I took it as a sign that I was on the right path) - I was born in December! Throughout my early music education, I did a lot of chamber music to understand music from a deeper and wider perspective. As years go by, with solo and chamber music training, I've grown as a more defined musician and by the age of 10, I travelled to Italy for my very first competition and won first prize. From then on, I have performed and competed all over Croatia and Europe but I've never forgotten my hometown. At least once every summer, I make sure to organise a concert in Omiš. In 2017, I passed the entrance exam and audition for the Academy of Music in Split, Croatia, and I have been studying under the tutelage of Prof. Maroje Brčic since then.

Series of National and International Competitions

Since my first international competition at the age of 11 in Italy, I have been given the opportunity to travel to Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, and North Macedonia. The most memorable one I have ever done was the International Competition for Young Guitarists "Andres Segovia" in 2014 in Germany with 50 competitors under my category who were all working with outstanding and well-known guitar professors and world-renowned music schools such as The Julliard Music School, USA and The Royal Academy of Music, UK. After the performance, I was standing on the stage with 49 other competitors as the jury announces the winners starting from the last place to first place. After what seemed to be an eternity, my name has not been called and my heart began to pound tremendously because I did not expect that I would qualify for the top prizes since I came from a small country, school, and community. Surprisingly, I ended up winning 4th prize! My career in music competition started to take off after this. 

Ever since 2008 to the present date, I have consistently been winning the first prize every year! So far I have won 22 first places in the solo performance category and 12 first places in the chamber music category. In 2017, I won 1st place in the National Guitar Competition (HDGPP) followed by 2019, after defending the title of national champion once more. In 2021, I again won the title of state guitar champion competition (HDGPP), 1st prize, in the senior category. In 2014, 2017, 2019, and 2021, I was awarded the "Oscar of Knowledge" by the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports for excellent results in the national competition as a soloist and as a member of the chamber ensembles. 

Since I began learning the guitar, I have been competing a lot (which I love), but by the beginning of 2016, I had to take a different approach in music after I collapsed in Prague and was diagnosed with arrhythmia which I was completely oblivious to. The doctor reckoned that it worsened due to extreme stress and I have had to live with a pacemaker since this incident. From then on, I shifted my "competition approach" to music towards a more relaxed and enjoyable "concert approach". I began attending various masterclasses with world-famous pedagogues and guitarists and performed as a guitar accompanist in many book promotions and recitations. I also have had opportunities to collaborate with famous drama artists Robert Kurbaš, Ksenija Prohaska, and Otokar Levaj.

Winning Eurostrings competition in Montenegro and 2020 Europe tour

In 2020, I was selected among the top 17 young guitarists in Europe in the Eurostrings program under the auspices of the EU creative program, and was awarded a concert tour in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom and a personal web domain. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was postponed. I instead provided concerts to London Guitar Festival and Mottola Guitar Festival in Italy, masterclasses for Twents Guitar Festival in the Netherlands and a concert, TV promotion, and masterclass in Nikšić Guitar Festival in Montenegro. I had my biggest concert in Uppsala, Sweden, where the tickets sold out! I remember being thrilled to see a large projection of my upcoming concert outside a building and to give press conferences about my performances in Europe - I even had a personal guard to accompany me throughout my concert for the national television in Sweden! I also collaborated with maestro/conductor Christian Karlsen and Grammy-nominated Royal Academy of Stockholm professor, Mats Bergstrom. Together with students from the University of Malmö, I had the honor to premiere a piece by composer Sergio Assad entitled The Walls. It is a 5-movement piece for solo guitar and guitar orchestra which depicts historical barriers to migration and cultural assimilation in the world in each of its movement: from 1st to 5th movement - The Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall, The Berlin Wall, Middle Eastern Wall and finally, No More Walls. 

Arts in Omiš

In Omiš, we have one of the most famous and traditional festivals in Croatia. It is called "Festival Dalmatinskih Klapa" or Festival of Dalmatian A'ccapella Music. Since its founding in 1966 by a group of enthusiasts from the city who aim to preserve this Croatian traditional singing-style "klapa", over 200 groups, famous musicologists, and composers from across Croatia have performed and attended the festival. The festival was even added to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. in 2013.

There is also an abundance of excellent musicians, artists, and mentors in my hometown. For example, we have Lovre Marusić who was born in Omiš and began his music career here before continuing his further studies in prestigious schools such as the PI Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow, Russia, Academy of Music in Zagreb, Croatia, and currently at the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” in Weimar, Germany for postgraduate studies. He has also won several first prizes from international competitions such as the reputable IMF Internationa Piano Competition in Paris (2018) and International Piano Competition "New Stars" in Manchester (2016), to name a few. Lovre Marušić is also very connected to the young artists of Omiš with a lot of them viewing him as an inspiration in their pursuit of the arts. 

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Photo credit: Zvonimir Kujundžić

Arts in Croatia

Croatia has a very natural affinity in art because the country itself is beautiful - starting from the glorious southern city of Dubrovnik towards the capital city of Zagreb, the country boasts raw culture and beauty everywhere and that is why it is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. In Croatia, any contribution to arts is highly celebrated, and even in small towns like Omiš where arts and its promotion to the community have substantially grown and the support to the local young artists is significant. Since Croatia is small, its artists and musicians are rarely seen in international competitions but once they do, they deliver outstanding performances and consistent excellence in their craft. A lot of Croatian musicians and artists easily qualify to bigger conservatories, schools, and academies all over the world. Croatia is also popular not just to Erasmus exchange students but also to students from all over Europe who come to Croatia to seek established professor that is now teaching and living here.

For more about made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Friday, 7 May 2021

Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography Publishes Book On All things Turopolje

May 7, 2021 - Last month, The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography had a presentation in Velika Gorica regarding the newly published book on all things Turopolje.

The ever-fascinating region of Turopolje, not so far from Zagreb, as the largest city of the region is Velika Gorica (connected by Zagreb with a regular public service bus) earlier this month good a book that gives an overview of every knowledge collected about Turopolje. Or in a noun: a lexicon.

As The Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography informs on its website, the end of April saw the presentation of the latest work in the edition of the Institute in Velika Gorica.

In respect to the epidemiological measures, the presentation was held among a limited number of journalists and attendees. Nina Obuljen Koržinek, the minister of culture was present along with the mayor of Velika Gorica Krešimir Ačkar, and the head if Miroslav Krleža Insitute, Bruno Kragić. The county ruler of the noble county of Turopolje Mladen Klemenčić was present too and talked about the book. Katja Matković Mikulčić, the headmistress of Velika Gorica City Library and a co-editor of the lexicon, had an opening speech.

The accompanying culture program saw an actor and singer Adam Končić recite poems by Krleža (a famous Croatian writer, poet, publicist, and encyclopedist the Institute was named after) and pupils from Franje Lučić Art School that sing with the back-up of Krešimir Starčević that followed the notes of a famous conductor from Turopolje Franjo Lučić (the inspiration for the name of the art school).

As usual, the Institute was determined to gather as a wider circle of associates as possible, especially the authors. Some of the authors are individuals from heritage, educational, and cultural institutions, but researchers from specific scientific areas and noted publicists contributed to the book as well.

„The project started with the overwhelming support of the City of Velika Gorica, the central administration unit of Turopolje, and the cooperation contract was signed in 2018. With its concept and graphics, this lexicon continues the previous editions of the Lexicography Institute, which focuses on individual Croatian regions (Istria, Croatian Zagorje) or towns (Zagreb)“, the Institute's website quotes the foreword of the book.

When it comes to history, science, and art, museums are great institutions to learn more. You can learn more about museums in Croatia on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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