It is our pleasure to announce the sixteenth edition of the festival Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro, which will take place from 4th to 30th April, 2023 under the motto “Balkan France Jazz Connection.” With this motto, we want to highlight the participation of our Jazz Art organization and the Capital City in the project “Réseau Jazz France-Balkans” which affirms the connection of cities and jazz organizations from the Balkans and France in order to establish a more dynamic and continuous international cooperation in that field. During the festival, the delegation of this network will visit Podgorica, where they will familiarize themselves with part of the program of our festival and hold meetings concerning the possibility of further development of the jazz network project and mutual cooperation.
As part of the concert program of the festival, we single out the following ensembles and artists, who will perform in Podgorica for the first time.
Elina Duni & Rob Luft Band
April 4, KIC ”Budo Tomović”, 20.00
Swiss-Albanian singer Elina Duni is known for her music which combines traditional Albanian songs and jazz. After she signed a contract with ECM Records in 2012, her career gained an international dimension and critics around the world recognized her musical talent. Out of ten albums she recorded under her own name, five were released by ECM. She recorded her new album Lost Ships in 2020, in collaboration with guitarist Rob Luft, a BBC artist and a rising star of the London jazz scene. In addition to performing folk songs in unique arrangements, these two artists create music together inspired by contemporary themes.
Ethno Jazz Group Trigon
April 7, KIC “Budo Tomović”, 20:00
Ethno-jazz group Trigon is led by Anatol Stefanet, composer and violist, merited artist of Moldova. This year, the group will celebrate three decades of work and presence on the international music scene. At the very beginning of their career in 1994, they won the prestigious “Charles Cros” award of the French Academy of Arts for debut album “Moldavian Weeding in Jazz.” So far, they have won various other awards and recorded 14 self-titled albums. Through the combination of different elements of folk, jazz, rock and symphonic music, the musicians achieve a fascinating synthesis of the indigenous musical tradition and the cosmopolitan spirit of jazz thanks to their improvisational and virtuoso skills. Trigon represents Moldovan-Romanian art at its best.
Slaven Ljujić Trio feat. Baptiste Herbin
April 11, the courtyard of the Kuslev’s house, 20:00
Montenegrin jazz musician Slaven Ljujić, drummer, percussionist, bassist, educated at the Berklee Academy of Music in Boston, has recently founded his trio by building bridges of cooperation with outstanding musicians who live outside of Montenegro. All of them are prone to musical improvisation and the spontaneous joint creation of music on the concert stage. The musicians try to bring their expression and sound to a new level, using the method of composing on the spot, through the imagination and connection of the energies of the trio members. The motto of this trio “without borders” signifies the desire for freedom to create new works at their performances and thus expand their own boundaries. On this special occasion the trio will introduce jazz master Baptiste Herbin, a French saxophonist who will bring new musical colors and shapes.
April 12, KIC “Budo Tomović”, 20:00
Pianist Adis Sirbubalo promotes his solo repertoire with two albums published by Gramofon from Sarajevo (2020 and 2022). In the late 1990s, he studied in the USA, where he later graduated jazz at Columbia College in Chicago. He improved his knowledge on the courses of great masters such as Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton and collaborated with famous jazz cats such as Eddie Gomez, Christian McBride and Chuchito Valdes. He won the prize for the best solo performance at the American jazz festivals Elmhurst and Notre Dame. The repertoire of his solo concert is a combination of original pieces and traditional music, especially sevdalinka, which Adis presents on an instrument unusual for Bosnian traditional music.
Sašo Popovski Trio feat. Olivier Samouillan
April 25, KIC “Budo Tomović”, 20:00
Guitarist Sašo Popovski is a composer of melodies with clean lines, clear structures and vivid imagination. Rhythmically and melodically, his music is reminiscent of oriental patterns, which makes it somewhat mystical, but not hermetic. His new album Fallen Land was published by the SJF from Skopje. In addition to an active artistic career, recordings and frequent appearances at festivals in the region and Europe, Popovski is also engaged as a professor at the jazz department at the University “Goce Delčev” in Štip. The trio often tours along with Olivier Samouillan, French multi-instrumentalist and composer.
Ensemble Nikolov-Ivanović Undectet
April 30,the courtyard of the Kuslev’s house, 20:00
Two musicians from the Balkans, Vladimir Nikolov and Srdjan Ivanović, united their talents and previous experiences to create a joint ensemble of 11 musicians from different backgrounds (Balkans/France). While Nikolov excels in working with world orchestras and ensembles and on film projects, such as the Oscar-winning “The Artist”, Ivanovic is active in smaller ensembles; the audience remembers him as the leader of the Blazin’ Quartet, which represents an original vision of merging modern European jazz with Balkan influences. The ensemble released two albums, Artistry in Broken Rhythm and Frame and Curiosity, and won first prize at the jazz competition Made in New York in 2019. The American magazine Jazz Times ranked this ensemble among the most creative current large jazz ensembles in Europe.
Lecture “Jazz as a Universal Language”
April 12, KIC “Budo Tomović”, Multimedia hall, 18:00
Apart from the announced concerts, we will organize a guest appearance of the respectable prof. Virgil Mihaiu, a well-known publicist and jazz critic from Cluj, Romania. Through his multimedia lecture he will talk about the development of jazz towards a universal language.
The film “Whose is This Song?”
April, 20, KIC Multimedia Hall, 20:00
As part of the film section of the festival, we will show the multiple award-winning documentary “Whose song is this?” by the Bulgarian director Adele Peeva (20.04. KIC Budo Tomović Multimedia Hall”, 20:00). In search of the true roots of a well-known melody, director Adela Peeva travels around Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Bulgaria, where she encounters many versions of texts, performances and arrangements. The journey is full of humor, doubt, tragedy and surprise because the inhabitants of each Balkan country claim that the song is theirs and even have developed stories about its origin. The melody appears again and again in different forms – as a love poem, a religious song, a revolutionary anthem, even a military march. For some it is a song from childhood, a story about beauty and love, and for others it is a war cry.
Program in other cities in Montenegro
In addition to Podgorica, the map of festival events includes Tuzi (Elina Duni & Rob Luft, April 5, KIC Malesija, 20:00), Cetinje (Slaven Ljujić Trio feat. Baptiste Herbin, April 12, Royal Theatre, 20:00) and Tivat (Sašo Popovski feat. Olivier Samouillan, April 26, DTV Partizan, 20:00).
Thank you partners for cooperation
We would like to thank our partners and everyone who contributed to the organization of the largest jazz event in our country: KIC “Budo Tomović”, Secretariat for Culture of the Capital City, KIC “Malesija”, Royal Theatre Zetski dom, Culture Center Tivat, Embassy of Romania and the French Institute in Montenegro.
International Jazz Day
With the celebration of the International Jazz Day on April 30, we will round off the program of the festival Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro – JAM 2023 with a guest appearance by the Nikolov-Ivanović Undectet ensemble in the courtyard of the Kuslev’s house, in Podgorica.
We are pleased to share a video recording of the musical project world premiere “In Search of Our Musical Roots”, that was held at Podgorica Cultural Center “Budo Tomović” on November 19, 2022. It was wonderful experience working together on this unique project, with composers, mentors-conductors, musicians, and our partners from Western Balkan – thank you all!