Slavko Avsenik

Four children were born to Marija and Ivan Avsenik: Janez, Majda, Vilko and Slavko. After father's wish, they make a family quartet, when Slavko is just seven years old: Janez plays violin, Majda zither, Vilko accordion and Slavko button box. They play at the garden of their family inn.


Vilko begins seriously with the music, especially with clarinet and saxophone. Slavko stays at home after school, he helps at the farm, but still plays the button box on some occasions. He is attracted also by the ski jumping sport. In the year 1946 he becomes a member of a national team. In Planica ski jumping hill resort he achieves his personal record with 74 meters. In the meantime Vilko studies law, and then gets a job with the Dance Orchestra of Radio Ljubljana, which is lead by Bojan Adamic. In that time he starts his music career also professionally, especially with at the time popular music: jazz and dance music.


While serving the army, Slavko becomes a member of a sport troop, like a culture artist he can play accordion. When he is transferred to Kranjska Gora, he gets an accordion and he learns to play it by himself.


Slavko plays more and more. He gets married on 28th June with Brigita, daughter of a innkeeper Dolinsek, from Sv. Neza above Trzic. After an unsuccessful search for a job, they take over the Dolinsek Inn. Slavko goes with his bicycle to Ljubljana, he gets a job like a knitter in Tonosa. Vilko introduces him with the singer, Franc Koren.


Slavko Avsenik goes to audition on Radio Ljubljana and passes it successfully. The first songs are performed only with accordion, but he feels that the songs are to simple. He proposed the extension of the group with guitar and bass. Guitar is played by Lev Ponikvar, bass by Joze Kelbl. At the time we are talking about the Slavko Avsenik's trio. Slavko feels like the sound is still missing in the trio, so at the time Slavko and his brother Vilko make a larger group, with Franc Kosir on a trumpet and Franc Ogrizek on a barytone. The group is called Gorenjski kvartet. Slavko composes his first song, Veseli Svatje.


Vilko invites to the group popular singers: Danica Filiplic and Franc Koren.


Vilko, who plays clarinet, has to go to serve the army. At the time to his place comes Zoran Komac, at the place of the barytone player Franc Ogrizek comes Mik Soss. With sound and harmonically the band is connected with the guitar player Lev Ponikvar. The band becomes Gorenjski kvintet or The Brother Avsenik's quintett. The musicians are heard at the Radio Celje, by Fred Rauch, , editor of Bavarian radio in Munchen, when he is on vacation by the Wőrther Lake in Austria. He is enthusiastic by their originality. He goes to the Carinthian radio, borrows the tapes and they are performed in his show later on. The name of Gorenjski kvintet is changed into the Oberkrainer quintett. Avseniki, together with the German publishing house Telefunken, record their small album with four songs: Na Golici, Spomin, Praznovanje na dezeli and Veseli svatje.


Because of the popularity, Avseniki are invited to a tour between the Slovenian immigrants to France. After the invitation of Rudolf Kemp, owner of the big concert direction in Germany, Slavko goes alone to Munchen, and he performs together with other German musicians with his accordion in more then 60 different Bavarian towns. But later at home, in Slovenia, he performs with the whole band.


The singing duet Franc Koren and Danica Filiplic introduces also abroad and they become a big success. In Germany the first big album is published. And the next all time Avsenik melodies are known: Ce vincek govori, Dobro jutro stricek Janez, Ko lovec je na storu spal, Na mostu, Pri Jozovcu, Rezka, Stara polka, Soferska, Zapojte z nami, Tam kjer murke cveto, Vecer na Robleku. After the huge success in Austria. Avseniki are invited by their manager Rudolf Kemp to Germany. The test for them is the first concert in Rosenheim, where the concert is sold out in advance. To that concert are followed also the next 60 in the western Germany. Jugoton, Croatian publishing firm, publishes four small albums of the Avsenik quintett


Because of a interest of larger audience, Avseniki perform the first time in the television emission in Munchen.


Jugoton publishes their first Slovenian album, with the title Tam, kjer murke cveto. Together with Danica Filiplic and Franc Koren, on the album sings also Marija Ahacic. In Germany the band joins the agency Buchmann, one of the biggest in western Germany, and they propose to the band, to get on a tour around Germany and Switzerland, together with the Orchestra of Ernest Mosch. At the tour it shows, that Avseniki are more popular then the others, and they decide to perform on their individual concerts. Vilko has great problems with his throat, and at his place comes Franci Terzan.


Music becomes a professional way for Slavko Avsenik, Franc Kosir, Franci Terzan, Mik Soss and Lev Ponikvar. In Germany they perform more then hundred times. Jugoton publishes their big album Klic z gora.


At the olimpyic stadium in Berlin the band performs in front of more then ten thousand people audience. They go on a tour to the Netherlands and Belgium. Jugoton publishes another big album : Ce vincek govori. The singer Danica Filiplic is changed with Ema Prodnik, clarinet player Franc Terzan with Albin Rudan. Their performances are prepared by Karl Lanzmayer.


Publishing house Teldec records the hundredth composition of Brother Avsenik, for the cooperation they receive the acknowledgement of Zlata zvezda (Golden Star). The music factory Hohner starts the cooperation with Slavko Avsenik, and they make him an accordion after his command. The first foreign fan clubs appear.


Jugoton publishes an album Stari mlin, the band is invited to the United States of America, Canada and Australia, but they are commited to the contracts in western Europe.


The Slavko Avsenik's quintett performs at the winter Olympic games in Innsbruck, and they achieve the largest success between all the performers. On the 14th of May 1964 in Hamburg, the first golden record is achieved by the group-they sold more then million albums.


The golden record opens to the band new opportunities for performances throughout whole Europe. In the broadcasting emission Hit Parade mit Lustiger Musikanten at Radio Koln, they win eighteen times, at the television emission they win two times in a row. They had more then thousand concerts, 500 in Germany. Yearly they have 150 concerts-100 in western Germany, 30 in Switzerland and Austria, 12 at home. The album Lepe ste ve, Karavanke is published.


They perform in the most popular television emissions Zlati strel (Goldener Schuss) and Moja melodija (Meine Melodie). The brother Avsenik's melodies are arranged and recorded by the Symphonic Orchestra RTV Ljubljana under the conductor Bojan Adamic. New albums are being published


Avsenik's tenth big album is being published. On the tours they drove more then 650.000 kilometers.


The publishing house Teldec-Telefunken gives to the band on 20th February 1968 their second and third golden record for their 2nd and 3rd million of sold albums. In April their individual concert is held for the reconstruction of the Planica ski jumping hill resort.


In the broadcasting emission of Western-Germany radio Veseli godci, their composition Nasvidenje gets more then 23.000 voices from the radio listeners. In Vienna the band celebrates their three thousand's performance. Vilko comes in music charge of the newly formed publishing house Helidon, where Avseniki have the first place all the time. Four EP albums are published and a LP one too: Otocek sredi jezera.


The band goes on a tour through United States and Canada. They get the fourth golden record on 31st March 1970.


On 2nd April 1971, they perform in sport hall Tivoli in Ljubljana, and they celebrate their fourth thousand's performance. They record the 25th big album, the double album Zlati zvoki, for the 5th million of sold albums they get the diamond record, and in November their 6th golden record.


They win twelve times on the German radio stations charts.


They celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band in Hannover.


They repeat their jubilee concert on 19th April 1974 in Ljubljana's sport hall Tivoli. That is their five thousand's performance. For the ninth million of sold albums they receive their 9th golden record, for the tenth million they receive the platinum record. At the same time, they receive also from the Swiss and Austrian branches of Teldec the golden record for every million of their sold albums. Also they receive a golden record by Helidon, for the winning record at the home market. From the band goes the singer Franc Koren, new members became Jozica Svete as alto singer and Alfi Nipic, as a baritone. Together with Ema Prodnik they become a singing trio. At the conclusion of the 6th Ptuj Festival, they receive from the magazine Stop "Zlata Krosnja" (Golden Pack). Helidon publishes the double album Slovenija, odkod lepote tvoje.


They receive the 14th golden record. They win 17 times in the Hit Parade of German broadcasting emission Veseli muzikantje. As a winner they go to the television emission, which is seen by more then 80 million viewers all over Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden. They are proclaimed as the most popular folk music band of German television. Slavko Avsenik receives the Linhart's diploma. In Berlin he receives the European Music Oscar for the most original, quality and popular compositions from the European foundation of publishing houses and discography. He performs in the New Year's emission on TV Ljubljana.


Slavko Avsenik publishes the album and tape Lovske lazi. He gets the 15th golden record.


At the publishing house Zalozba kaset in plosc RTV Ljubljana he receives the golden tape for 20.000 sold tapes.


At the tenth anniversary of the magazine Stop, Slavko Avsenik is proclaimed as a composer of the decade. He gets two more golden tapes. In Monakovem he wins on 1st March 1978 eight golden records together. In Holland he receives the highest music diploma, "Zlata Cokla" ( Golden Clog). On 21st March 1978 he receives the second golden record in Helidon. On 31st October he gets the Yugoslavian prize from the Foundation of television workers and art in Yugoslavia.


Many times his earnings from the performances goes to the reconstruction of the giant ski jumping hill in Planica. At home he records his own television emission. At Vienna he receives the prize "Zlata vrtnica" (Golden Rose), that is the prize for the most common and popular band heard at the Austrian radio programme. Slavko Avsenik is mentioned also in "Who is who?" Publication


The 50th record with his compositions is published. After the individual show with the all-night programme on ZDF, he performs also at home, in the New Year's emission.


For the polka Na Golici (Trompeton-Echo) he recieves the "Zlati lev" (Golden Lion), the golden medal of radio Luxemburg.


Because of an illness of Ema Prodnik, she is replaced by a new singer Jozi Kalisnik. At home the new double album is published, Srecno novo leto. It recieves the medal Hermann Lons, the golden award which is given to the band for their performances by the western Germany minister of culture.


The publishing house Helidon publishes in the Avsenik jubilee year jubilee badges and a record "30 years with the Avsenik brothers". At home their 400.000 copy of Avsenik record is being published. The press calculates, that Avsenik records (more than 27 million copies) , if they would put one on another, would reach seven times the top of Slovene highest mountain Triglav(2864 metres). President of SFR of Yugoslavia gives them at their 30th anniversary the decoration of credits for their country with the silver star. Their solemn concert is held at Bled on 8th April 1983. The Avsenik compositions are recorded also by the orchestra at home. The title is Zvoki violin (the sounds of violin). They perform again for a New Year's Eve at Ljubljana television emission.


The Avsenik type of accordion is a special and best seller type of accordions in the music factory Hohner. Together with the Olympic Games in Sarajevo, they publish a special record for that event.


The band goes on a second tour around USA and Canada. Also at home they have many concerts and performances. The audience is enthusiastic by the humor of Franc Kosir and Tone Fornezzi Tof. With the solo guitar also Slavko's third son Grega sometimes joins the band. Franc Kosir because of an illness gives the trumpet to Joze Balazic, but he still performs as a comedian.


The band performs in Germany a lot, very successful is also the performance at the international emission Senik z godci (Musikantenstadl), great attention gives also the performance at the end of the World Cup in ski jumping in Planica. On the national television starts the emission Kosnikova gostilna (Kosnik's Inn) where they present the leading group together with the host Mito Trefalt


Again just a bit before New Year new double album is published, where the composition's lyrics were written by the famous Slovene poets. The band is mentioned in the first book of Slovenian Encyclopedia.


The first Avsenik compositions become popular and known as national songs. Slavko takes over the Jozovec Inn in Begunje, which is later given to his son Grega. Avsenik compositions are published on a 108th gramophone record. At the band's 35th anniversary, the band performs 35 jubilee concerts throughout Slovenia. In October they receive another golden and platinum record by the publishing house Koch Records. At home they do another new television emission.


They win at the national chart Lojtrca domacih. On 10th March 1989 they open a special gallery in Begunje with the exhibition of the works of famous painter Maksim Gaspari. At the time also the music note's books and compositions with lyrics are published. In April Lev Ponikvar, the guitar player goes away from the band, together with him goes also Mik Soss. At their place come Renato Verlic and Igor Podpecan. AT the western market the band overtakes new manager Bauer from Germany. They do the reissue of the old records, and they publish the first laser record in the country. In Europe more than 150 fan clubs already exist.


The study book "Play like Slavko Avsenik" is published. In Bled German television station ZDF records for Slavko's 60th birthday the television spectacle Lepo je biti muzikant (It is nice to be a musician). It is also on the national television. The emission is also shown in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Eastern Germany. They plan a big tour around Australia. Slavko has a lot of problems with his back, the problem is partly saved with a special orthopedic belt, which unfortunately moves the high pressure of accordion from the back to the hips. The doctor's advice to Slavko is, to stop with the performances. In June the band ends with their work. Slavko Avsenik is invited by the Maribor's Senik z godci host Karl Moik, where all the musicians play his compositions. Together with the New Year's day also a special 10 Avsenik emissions are shown, with humor, cooking advices and of course music. For the credit in folk music Slavko receives on 22. September 1990 in Koln the platinum medal Hermann Lons, again given by the western Germany ministry of culture. On 21st October in Berlin he receives a special award, the golden gramophone. Slovenian Tape Production gives the band a special golden video tape. The new record and a tape are published, Vse zivljenje same zelje. By the end of the year also the Kosir tape is published.


After a serious illness, Franc Kosir, the trumpet player of the band dies on 19th December 1991 at age 60. At the time there are more then 120 compositions of Avsenik tapes and records: 33 records are golden, all together sold is more then 31 million records and tapes. At the satellite programme SAT is shown the 48-minutes emission with the title Rendezvous na Gorenjskem (Rendezvous in the Highlands)-Obisk pri Slavku Avseniku (A visit by Slavko Avsenik). The Avsenik band is shown in more then 20 emissions on different televisions: ARD, RTL plus and SAT 1. In the studio a record and a tape s Pesmijo po Sloveniji are recorded. Jozi Kalisnik, Irena Svolsak, Andreja Camernik, Helena Blagne and Stane Vidmar are the singers.


Slavko gives his own compositions to be recorded and performed to many different bands in Slovenia: Gasperji, Gorenjski muzikantje, Melos and Slovenija. Guitar player Leo Ponkivar passed away at age 75.



40 years Slavko Avsenik


In the autumn of 1997 Slavko returns to the stage when they open a big performance hall in his native village in Begunje. He returns to the stage as a solo accordion player, together with the band Gasperji. Throughout Slovenia there are more concerts with the name Avsenikov vecer (Avsenik's evening), on which, together with Slavko and Gasperji, perform also: the band of Grega Avsenik and singing-dancing duo M4M, which performs the Avsenik music in pop version.


Kranj, October 30th, 1999 - A Gala-concert at 70th birthday of Slavko Avsenik



Oberkrainer, the original music of Slavko Avsenik and Vilko Avsenik celebrates its 50 year anniversary.

In more than 50 years, Avseniks has recorded over 800 songs. The Avsenik's received 1 diamond, 4 platinum and 29 golden records. The postal services in Slovenia launch postcards with stamps of the brothers Vilko and Slavko.



Barytone player Mik Soss passed away in April at age 75. RTV Ljubljana presents Slavko and Vilko in November a platinum record. Slavko celebrates his 75th birthday.



55 anniversary of Avsenik music. Opening Avsenik Museum in Begunje. Vilko Avsenik celebrates his 80th Birthday!



Clarinetist Albin Rudan (26-07-1933) passed away at February, 01. November, 26: A new milestone for Slavko Avsenik, his 80th Birthday!



60th Anniversary of Slavko Avsenik

Vilko & Slavko Avsenik



Slavko Avsenik was born on November 26 1929 in Begunje near Bled, Slovenia. In 1953, Slavko Avsenik and his brother Vilko formed the Avsenik Quintett, a band that would have a profound influence on the music of Slovenia and Germany for decades to come. The band's style was nicknamed Oberkrainer. ("Kraine," the German name for the Kranjska region of Slovenia). In time, the Avseniks' hundreds of original compositions became a central element in the Slovenian-American polka repertoire. His Oberkrainer sound became the primary vehicle of ethnic musical expression for Slovenia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and more Benelux countries, spawning hundreds of Alpine orchestras in the process. The Avsenik Quintett,  has performed before millions, including heads of state, on radio and television, and in thousands of concerts. Selling over 30 million records, Slavko Avsenik has earned thirty-one Gold, two Diamond, and one Platinum record. Slavko collaborated with his brother, Vilko, to produce nearly 1000 original compositions and an integral part of the Slovenian-Style legacy. Slavko 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 Hank Haller and as many more by Fred Ziwich, Fred Kuhar, Fairport Ensemble, Al Markic, Roger Bright, Al Tercek, and Cilka Dolgan. In sheer volume, Avsenik's compositions rank him with Slovenian folk music, Matt Hoyer, and William Lausche as the major tributaries feeding the Cleveland-Style repertoire. But the breathtaking beauty pervading his waltzes... Slovenia, the Wind Song, Cakala Bom, European Waltz, Na Svidenje, On the Bridge, and Argentina. The most popular song of Slavko Avsenik is the polka "Na Golici" (Trompeten Echo) which is the most played instrumental songs in all Europe.


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