1920’s 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.
1946 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.
1951 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.
1952 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
1953 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.
1954 Vilko invites to the group popular singers: Danica Filiplic and Franc Koren.
1955 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
1956 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.
1957 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
1958 Because of a interest of larger audience, Avseniki perform the first time in
the television emission in Munchen.
1959 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
1960 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.
1961 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.
1962 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.
1963 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
1964 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.
1965 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.
1966 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
1967 Avsenik's tenth big album is being published. On the tours they drove more then
1968 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.
1969 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.
1970 The band goes on a tour through United States and Canada. They get the fourth
golden record on 31st March 1970.
1971 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.
1972 They win twelve times on the German radio stations charts.
1973 They celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band in Hannover.
1974 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.
1975 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.
1976 Slavko Avsenik publishes the album and tape Lovske lazi. He gets the 15th golden
1977 At the publishing house Zalozba kaset in plosc RTV Ljubljana he receives the
golden tape for 20.000 sold tapes.
1978 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.
1979 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
1980 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
1981 For the polka Na Golici (Trompeton-Echo) he recieves the "Zlati lev" (Golden
Lion), the golden medal of radio Luxemburg.
1982 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.
1983 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
1984 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.
1985 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.
1986 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
1987 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.
1988 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.
1989 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.
1990 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.
1991 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.
1992 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
1997 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.
1999 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.