BEFORE YEAR 1964
Even though history books will show that the Lojze Slak Ensemble originated in the year 1964, the actual birth of the ensemble goes back much further in time, back to the time when a young lad from Jordankala by Mirna Pec in the Dolenska region, playing at a live broadcast of the radio talent show "Pokaži kaj znaš" (Show us what you know), brought down the house, and took first place, winning the contest handily, and thereby opening the doors to more radio and studio time for himself and his future ensemble.
The audience, organizers, and fellow musicians, were all unanimous in their agreement that they were witnessing among them a new talent with an abundance of youth and energy, which they had never seen before. With his music, Lojze Slak shared his most cherished memories.
Music had flowed through his veins already from a very young age. His uncle Ludvik, on his mother's side, had instilled in him an appreciation and love of music, which would have a profound influence on him for the rest of his life.
In the Slak household, the brothers of Lojze were also stricken with the musical "bug", and so Lojze, at a very young age, assembled his first quartet, which included his brothers Matija (Mathias), Stan and Tony. It didn't take long before they were well known across the entire Dolenska region. They were a very happy bunch, playing their music at concerts, shows and parties, wherever there was an opportunity for them to perform.
When some of the brothers were conscripted to the army, the quartet disbanded, and Lojze himself moved to the capital city of Ljubljana in search of work. This marked the end of the first chapter in the history of Lojze Slak and his music.
Lojze was determined to keep on playing, refusing to give up his dream. The desire to perform always burned strong in him. As it turned out, it would only be a matter of time before he would be back on stage playing tunes which seemed to spill out of him every time he played his beloved button box. Together with his good friend Niko Zlobko, who had stepped into the band with a clarinet and guitar when the first brother left for the army, made a pact that they would search until they found a third member for their band. Working closely, they convinced Ciril Babnik to join them. Ciril played the Double Bass. And so was born the instumental Lojze Slak Trio. Ciril played with the trio for two years, and after he left, was replaced by Franc Sever.
Lojze, Niko and Franc were very seriously committed right from the start, and were soon playing again at various concerts, talent shows, and "Battle of the bands" type of shows. There was one show which stands out in particular, the talent show at the Gorenjski Sejm in Kranj, where they were the overwhelming champions. They also placed first in the showdown of the bands at the Gospodarsko Rastavišce in Ljubljana. Day by day, the journey to the recording studios became shorter, and their goal to release a record became increasingly more attainable.
The Lojze Slak Trio had recorded a few songs for the radio archives in the early sixties, and by 1964 they had already recorded a small record with the recording studio RTB. But the Lojze Slak ensemble that would become cherished by all who loved the familiar sounds of home, would be born after the chance meeting with the quintet "Fantje s Praprotna" (Boys from Praprotna). The singers from Selška Dolina, tenors Andrej Bergant and Jože (Joe) Šifrar, baritone Janez (John) Habjan, and basses Janez (John) Kalan and Janez (John) Dolenc, were headlining along with the Lojze Slak Trio on the radio program "Pokaži kaj znaš" (Show what you know). Soon after their meeting on the radio show, Lojze and the singing quintet agreed to work together, marking the beginning of the new ensemble, which like the Ensemble of the Avsenik brothers, would write a new chapter in the history of Slovenian folk music.