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Begnagrad (1982)

Słoweńska grupa Begnagrad z Lublany swój pierwszy materiał nagrywa w 1977 roku, wydarzenie to jednak nie odbija się większym echem i zostaje w dużej mierze niezauważone. Dopiero debiutancki album zatytułowany po prostu "Begnagrad" z 1982 roku, nagrany przez drugi skład zespołu przynosi im zasłużony rozgłos, jako jedno z najciekawszych zjawisk rocka awangardowego tamtych lat na obszarze Europy środkowo-wschodniej. Muzyka ta to doskonały przykład w jak udany, pomysłowy i twórczy sposób można połączyć różne muzyczne gatunki, takie jak muzyka ludowa, rock, free jazz i awangarda, sprawiając, iż każdy utwór jest specyficzny pod względem rozwiązania, nastroju i barwy.

The name Begnagrad reflects, on one hand, the belonging to that specific district of the city of Ljubljana, Bezigrad. On the other hand, it is the history of the city, accordionist and the group principal composer Bratko Bibic said. And on the third hand, it is a kind of actual wish to scape from something boring and ordinary to another, imaginary, dangerous place (both backward and forward in time).Begnagrad (a condensation of three Slovenian words meaning scape To the Castle refers to medieval times when populations found safety from invading armies in the village castle) was formed in Ljubljana by a group of friends and schoolmates in the mid-1970s.

The self-title Begnagrad, the group's first proper album, was originally released on vinyl in 1982 in Slovenia . Traces of jazz and "new music" and a remarkable sense of humor have been injected into the concoction. But the ethnic elements that marked the early recordings of the band are still obvious. Bratko's accordion, Bogo clarinet, the rhythmic and melodic structure of the tunes are underscored by more electric instrumentation and a firm rhythmic structure borrowing from rock music that lends the recording a curious mixture of chaotic atmosphere, surprise, melancholy, and central, south and eastern European folk musical traditions. The music has strong melodies, contrasts of harmonic and discordant structures and dramatic changes in rhythms and time structures.

Though Begnagrad was unfamiliar with the music of those bands, this change brings the group away from the folk tradition and into the western European RIO-ish school. This album, Begnagrad, combines in its own brilliant way the eccentric and jagged rhythmic elements from Rock In Opposition with the recognizable energetic folk music of the surrounding area. When asked about Begnagrad ties to Slovene folk music, Bratko said, "That's a fundamental misunderstanding. West-Europeans like to hear that my music goes back to Slovenian roots and is based on folklore and tradition. Our music originates in personal experiences such as daydreams, night dance and memories. But I like the misunderstanding, because it makes Slovenian folk music sound and especially dance much better than it really does. As for traditional Slovenian music as a kind of Balkan music, there is little influence of traditional Balkan - like Macedonian, Serbian, and Bosnian - folk music in it. It's actually related more closely to the Alpine and sub-Alpine music, like Austria, South Germany, Bavaria, Switzerland, and north Italy. In some parts there is a relationship to Hungarian, in some it's related to Croatian flat land music and in some cases to the Adriatic and the strange Italian-Croatian-Slovenian mix existing on the Istria peninsula. All that is due to the very small size of the country and society which are both a kind of borderline space of flows in time. (cdroots)

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