63rd Ljubljana Jazz Festival bringing many highlights

Ljubljana – The Ljubljana Jazz Festival will see its 63rd iteration between 15 and 18 June, bringing a total of 30 concerts, including the first appearance by Tunisian oud player and composer Anouar Brahem. The highlights also include American percussionist Hamid Drake and the Big Band of the Slovenian Armed Forces.

Bogdan Benigar, the festival’s programme manager, said that some of the performers were a “debt” from 2020, when the festival was held in a hybrid form due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and some of the performs had also been hosted last year.

The festival will be opened by Hamid Drake, who is returning to Ljubljana with a tribute to Alice Coltrane after the show premiered in Paris in February.

Another big name, Anouar Brahem, will present his mastery on the oud, who has been putting the ancient tradition of Arabic music in various contexts for four decades.

The Big Band of the Slovenian Armed Forces, under the baton of Izidor Leitinger, will perform his suite called Ushai, written precisely for the occasion of the Jazz Festival Ljubljana.

The concerts will take place in various venues in and around the Cankarjev Dom arts centre, including on the platform in front of it and two stages in the nearby Council of Europe Park. Most concerts will be free of charge.

Benigar said that some of the concerts will be a blend of jazz and other art forms, like the Red Rocket project by Maja Osojnik and Matija Schellander and a new music and dance project by Kristijan and Žigan Krajnčan.

Pianist Miha Gantar, the artist in residence who has recently recorded five albums, will perform three concerts – as a soloist, with singer Marta Arpini and as part of a quartet.

In addition to numerous Slovenian musicians, the festival will feature some more international appearances, including by Irreversible Entanglements of the US with guitar player Ava Mendoza, Bosnian pianist Adis Sirbubalo, Norwegian and Belgian guitar players Kim Myhr and Bert Dockx, the French-Italian trio Abacaxi and the Austrian quintet Chuffdrone.

The festival will be accompanied by a jazz fair, a concert for children by Boštjan Gombač and Sašo Vollmaier and performances by various groups from the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music.

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