Slavko Avsenik is a Slovenian composer and musician. Slavko Avsenik was born on November
26 1929 in Begunje near Bled, Slovenia. His career accomplishments place him at the
worldwide pinnacle of success among ethnic popular musicians. Over forty years, the
Avsenik Ensamble's original "Oberkrainer" sound became the primary vehicle of ethnic
musical expression for Slovenia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Benelux countries,
spawning hundreds of Alpine orchestras in the process. The Ensamble has performed
before millions, including heads of state, on radio and television, and in thousands
of concerts. Selling over 30 million records, Avsenik has earned thirty-one Gold,
two Diamond, and one Platinum record. The "Johann Strauss of the twentieth century,"
Avsenik collaborated with his brother, Vilko, to produce nearly 1000 original compositions
and an integral part of the Cleveland-Style legacy. The Avsenik saga began in 1953
with a band formed in Slovenia, broadcast on the Slovenian Hour from Austria, and
dubbed the "Musicians of the Oberkrain" by a Vienna disc jockey. Growing in popularity,
they soon began appearing in broadcasts, movies, and concerts in West Germany. Landing
a recording contract with Telefunken-Decca in 1960, the Ensamble rose to meteoric
heights throughout Europe. It appeared regularly on network television, toured relentlessly
(logging over 400,000 miles in 1967 alone), and recorded prolifically. Milestones
include a 1961 performance before over 80,000 in Berlin Stadium, tours of the U.S.
and Canada in 1970 and 1985, and a one-hour German television network special in
1980. Slovenia's most popular orchestra, the group has won countless awards including
eight consecutive television competitions, twelve from German network television,
eighteen as Germany's most popular band, the recording industry's "European Oscar"
in 1975, the Golden Rose Award (most requested on Austrian radio) in 1979, the Linhart
plaque (Slovenia), and the "Hermann Löns" award from the German Minister of Culture.
Avsenik's influence over Cleveland-Style music began in 1958 when Johnny Pecon's
English lyrics transformed Slavko's "Tam kjer murke cveto" into a Greatest All-Time
Cleveland-Style Hit, Little Fella. Since then, Cleveland-Style orchestras have recorded
well over 200 Avsenik songs including nearly sixty by the Hank Haller Ensemble and
as many more by Fred Ziwich, Fred Kuhar, the Fairport Ensemble, Al Markic, Roger
Bright, Al Tercek, and Cilka Dolgan. Avsenik tribute bands in North America include
Duke Marsic and his Happy Slovenians, the Alpine Sextet, Veseli Godci, Marjan Kramer,
and Iskre (Canada). In sheer volume, Avsenik's compositions rank him with Slovenian
folk music, Matt Hoyer, and Dr. William J. "Doc" Lausche as the major tributaries
feeding the Cleveland-Style repertoire. But the breathtaking beauty pervading his
waltzes... "Slovenia, the Wind Song", "Čakala bom" ("I shall wait"), "European Waltz",
"Na svidenje" ("So long"), "On the Bridge", and "Argentina", to name just a golden
few... best characterize the profound nature of his impact. The most popular song
of the group Avseniki is polka "Na Golici", which is the most played instrumental
songs in all Europe.