Dear Druga Godba fans,
It’s been a pretty rough year for all of us. Last year, despite huge efforts, we were unable to stage all the concerts we had planned; this was despite the fact that we opted, in all good faith, for a concept that we believed had the greatest chance of success. Of course, this being Druga Godba, we didn’t lose our drive or our hope that we would be able to make up for lost time. The result is a new festival for 2021, albeit in condensed form and at a different time of the year to normal.
We are delighted to have reached the point where our ability to stage a festival is much greater than it was a year ago. Although we don’t know what measures will still be in force, we are determined to organise something special for you, live and direct from venues in Ljubljana and Maribor. This time, in addition to stages at Cankarjev Dom and Kino Šiška, we are hosting outdoor performances at Vodnikova Domačija (where, together with Zavod Divja Misel, we will premiere a concert for children), at the Gala Hala summer garden in Metelkova and at Švicarija. We have also arranged back-up venues should the weather be unkind to us, although this will not be an issue when we move over to Narodni Dom in Maribor in September.
So, what will we be listening to? It has been clear for some time that Druga Godba 2021 would rely mainly on domestic talent. Katalena, Zvezdana Novaković and Katja Šulc will all premiere their new work, while Samuel Blues and Miha Erič will serve up the kind of blues we’ve not heard from these parts before. Legendary Croatian songwriter, poet and performer Darko Rundek recently released a superb album, Brisani prostor, which he will perform under the banner of Rundek & Ekipa.
More good neighbourly relations will be on show with a performance by Nemanja, who brought out his brilliant album, Cosmic Disco, following a debut appearance in Ljubljana at Ment 2020. It has since propelled him to the top of the regional music scene, with a fair amount of coverage elsewhere in Europe too. Looking further afield, Afghan singer Elaha Soroor was down to perform last year with UK band Kefaya, while young Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan and trio will perform at an event hosted jointly by the Glasbe Sveta concert cycle and Druga Godba in the Gallus Hall at Cankarjev Dom.
We have three more aces up our sleeve – acts who should have appeared last year and who will now perform on 26 July, 14 August and 23 October respectively. They are: Fatoumata Diawara, Sílvia Pérez Cruz and Kimmo Pohjonen. Three concerts from the Sogodbe cycle will also be organised, on 26 August and 14 September.
As always, Druga Godba would not be possible without its brothers and sisters, those public institutions that help us financially and host our shows. During the pandemic we have been particularly welcome at Cankarjev Dom, Kino Šiška remains the best neighbour, and Narodni Dom in Maribor is our window onto Štajerska. Indeed, this year features a first collaboration with Festival Maribor and a Friday night date with the Džambo Aguševi Orchestra from Macedonia, probably the best brass band in the Balkans right now. We would also like to thank the International Centre of Graphic Arts at Švicarija, Gala Hala at AKC Metelkova and the programme team at Vodnikova Domačija, with whom we have been planning a concert for children for the last year, for being the kind of good friend you need at times like this.
Last but not least, this year sees the end of the festival’s four-year funding from the Ministry of Culture, which has stood by our side throughout, and we have also been honoured to be part of the programme co-funded by the City of Ljubljana. Perhaps we’ll have something positive to say about future sponsorship once economic growth resumes.
We will provide you with details on ticket sales at the end of May, when we expect to know more about the organisation and staging of the festival and, crucially, how many people will be allowed to attend the performances.