Alpen Musikanten (Alpski Muzikantje)

A fast, energetic Slovenian polka performed at Open Studio, Northcote.

Popular Oberkrainer style polka from Slovenia sung in German at the Austrian Club Melbourne

Instrumental Slovenian polka performed at the Austrian Club Melbourne

Popular Slovenian folk song sung in the Slovenian language

Alpen Musikanten (German for ‘Alpine musicians’, or ‘Alpski Muzikantje’ in Slovenian) is a Melbourne based Alpine folk music trio specialising in popular folk music from Slovenia and Austria. We have a passion to play the music just as it’s done in Europe right now, which is enjoyed by all generations alike, and pride ourselves on both our authenticity and high energy which gets toes tapping and feet dancing. Focusing on happy, fast polkas and waltzes, we also add well known songs from neighbouring countries and feature vocals in German, Slovenian, Italian, French and English. We feature a piano accordion, bass, and guitar as well as vocals.

Our style is based on the Slovenian ‘Oberkrainer‘ style which has transformed the way Alpine folk music is performed across Slovenia, Austria, the southern part of Germany (Bavaria), and smaller but passionate populations in neighbouring areas such as Hungary, Northern Croatia, Northern Italy, and Switzerland. This style was pioneered by the Avsenik brothers from Slovenia in the 1950s, who revolutionised Alpine folk music with the introduction of guitar and bass rhythm elements inspired by French Gypsy Jazz and Swing music, an infectiously happy sound of accordion rhythm using sixteenth notes, a constant flow of new compositions, and all performed in a colourful, traditional Slovenian costume, hailing from the ‘Gorenjska‘ or ‘Oberkrain‘ region (which happens to be where the famed Kransky sausage comes from). 

This new sound sparked thousands of imitator bands to arise across Europe throughout the latter half of the 20th century through to the 21st, legitimising its presence as a genre, and further promoting the tiny country of Slovenia to an international audience. In those parts of Europe, thousands of people regularly drive across several borders every weekend to hear their favourite bands in concert halls, tents, week long festivals and gatherings, where the only objective is to listen to the happiest music on Earth, dance, and enjoy amazing traditional food. We would love to share this carefree music with you.

We are Phill Nadvesnik on accordion (Slovenian-Australian accordionist who teaches Alpine folk music to accordionists around the world), Peter Grivic on bass (Slovenian-Australian accordionist and bass player, accordion repairer and auto electrician, crowned Australia’s ‘polka king’ at the Slovenian-Australian competition ‘Polka Down Under’) and Paul Gillett on guitar and vocals in several languages (composer and vocalist who performs several different styles and groups around the country and internationally, including La Mauvaise Reputation, Floyd Thursby and Skiffle Party).

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