The Slovenian five piece, all-girl band Navihanke plays the Buetow Music Auditorium, Concordia University, this coming Thursday, May 1 at 7pm. According to their website, the band’s mission is to “showcase the very best and brightest of Slovenia’s modern culture today” with Thursday’s Twin Cities leg of the tour their sixth in a ten date schedule. Beginning in Cleveland, OH, last Wednesday, they have since played Pittsburgh, PA, Lemont, IL, Milwaukee, WI, and Duluth, MN, prior to their Twin Cities gig this week. Following their performance at Concordia University the band heads to the West Coast to play in California at the Banjo-Rama in Sacramento on May 3 and 4, finishing off with dates in Palo Alto on May 6 and San Francisco on May 7.
Navihanke’s five members are Sonja Hercog, Tamara Gobec, Masa Urankek, Tanja Cretnik and Jasmina Smarcan, while their musical style is perhaps best described as being a fusion of Polka - a predominantly Central and Eastern European dance genre originating in the 19th century - and Slovenian folk music, together with a blending of other influences. Throughout the tour the band has been sponsored by local Slovenian cultural organizations.
Continuing that theme in the Twin Cities, Navihanke receives the sponsorship of the all-volunteer Twin Cities Slovenians who participate in many events and offer a forum for those with or without Slovenian heritage in the locality to play music, swap stories, learn the Slovenian language and show off photographs and artifacts of visits to the old country. Additionally, the organization welcomes applications from new members and has an exhibit at the upcoming Festival of Nations in the Twin Cities running May 1-4.
With a name which means “Sassy Girls” in English, Navihanke, winner of musical awards since 2002, presents a modern front to an old and beautiful country. The northernmost republic of the former Yugoslavia, which gained its independence in 1991, the modern Slovenia is both a member of the European Union and NATO and is home to just over 2 million people. As a result of their current tour Navihanke hopes to foster enduring cultural links between the United States and Slovenia through their mix of 21st century Polka and folk music.
This Thursday’s show goers, and next weekend’s visitors to the Festival of Nations, will be able to catch a real flavor of the country that formed Yugoslavia’s northern frontier. As Slovenia once again ekes out its own identity, Navihanke joins exalted company in showcasing Slovenia internationally. To cite just a few examples, the film director Danijel Sraka, artist and architect Marjetica Potrc, along with architect Marko Music join the internationally renowned philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek in a multi-disciplinary, globally recognized demonstration of Slovenian talent.
Tickets are available for Thursday’s show via the Navihanke website, where prices range from $10.