JAM 2023

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.

Adis Sirbubalo

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.

Come, experience jazz! We are waiting for you.

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Concert recording – In Search of Our Musical Roots

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!

In Search of Our Musical Roots – concert


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Meet Composers

Igor izjava

Igor Andrić (1996) was born in Kragujevac, where he completed primary and secondary music school. He enrolled in composition studies in 2014 at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, under professor Isidora Žebeljan. He is currently a student of doctoral academic studies at the same faculty, where he also works as an assistant at the composition department. His music has been performed at festivals and in concert halls throughout Serbia, as well as in France, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Hong Kong and Cyprus. He participated in the World Festival of Students and Youth in Sochi (Russia) in 2017, as a Serbian delegate for art and culture. In the same year, he received an order from accordionist Goran Stevanović, who premiered the accordion suite “Taraf de Haidoux” in Bremen (Germany). He had several other very successful collaborations with musical performers, of which he points out the one with violinist Dušan Joksić. As a result of this collaboration, the work “Prometheus Unraveled – a fantasy for solo violin and sixteen strings“ was created and performed at the “KoMA“ festival in 2019, then in Kragujevac, with the city chamber orchestra “Schlesinger”, and in the “Tonali” hall in Hamburg (Germany), under the conductorship of the composer Andrić. The work was also included in the RTS orchestra’s concert season. Igor was declared a student of the generation at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade in 2018.

With the composition Piano Trio no. 1, he entered the finals of the competition “Intimacy of Creativity 2019″ in Hong Kong. In the same year, he was invited to compose for few Belgrade famous ensembles such as “Belgrade Trio” and the “Collegium musicum” Academic Choir. As a result of these orders, the compositions “Piano Trio no. 2” (premiered in 2021) and “Symphony of Whispers and Screams” (performed as part of the “InterNos” project in 2020) were created. He wrote the composition “Parahelij” for cellist Nemanja Stanković in 2020, and it was included in the CD release “Traces”. Since March 2021, he has been a protégé of the Viennese publishing house “Universal Edition”, which publishes his works. At the beginning of the same year, his composition “Three New Moons” was premiered by the “Metamorphosis” ensemble.

He won the competition “Composer Slam”, which was organized by the ensemble “Orchester im Treppenhaus” based in Hanover, and on that occasion he received an order from the same ensemble to create a new composition for a chamber orchestra. Under his bow, the piano duo “Voodoo” and the “Muzikon” chamber orchestra premiered last May his Concerto for two pianos and orchestra. He is one of the score editors of the opera “Koštana” by Petar Konjović for the National Theatre in Belgrade and the Committee for the Protection of Serbian Musical Heritage of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). He also reworked the orchestrations of the operas “Carmen” (Z. Bizet), “Iolanta” (PI. Tchaikovsky), and “Cinderella” (D. Rossini) for the Operosa festival.

Vladimir izjava

Vladimir Botev (1984) was born in Skopje, North Macedonia. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree of Jazz Guitar Performance under Professor Toni Kitanovski in 2014. He participated in many jazz and classical ensembles as a graduate student, and after completing his studies as a bassist and guitarist. From 2012 to 2014, he attended private lessons in arranging and composing for large ensembles, under professor Vladimir Nikolov. In 2007, he started working as a freelance musician (composing, arranging, score/part preparation, teaching and performing).

From 2019 until today, he wrote orchestral arrangements for The Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra and The Big Band of the Macedonian Association of Jazz Musicians and Free Artists for which he also composed a couple of original pieces. As a composer, he contributed to the repertoire of the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra project which was realized in April, 2021 in Podgorica and Cetinje, during the festival Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro.

Faruk izjava

Faruk Mehić (2002) is a composer from Bosnia and Herzegovina, currently studying at the Academy of Arts at the University of Banja Luka. He started his music education in Elementary music school in Bihać, under prof. Melita Mehulić. After that he went to Music High School “Nusret Keskin-Braco” in Bihać (department for accordion and theory), where he graduated under prof. Adna Bajrić as a student of the generation. After completing high school successfully, he enrolled in the Academy of Arts at the University of Banja Luka where he currently studies composition in the class of prof. Tatjana Milošević Mijanovic, PhD.

He has won many awards at the competitions as a soloist – accordion player at the Orfej Festival of Classical music “Accordeus” (Sarajevo), International festival “Muzičko proleće” (Smederevo), “Skala” Classical Music Festival (Brčko), “Accordion Art Plus” (East Sarajevo). As a complementary piano player, he won second award at the Federal competition of music in Sarajevo. He composes and arranges for solo instruments, chamber ensembles and choir.

Mak Murtić izjava

Mak Murtić (1988) is a composer and saxophonist from Zagreb, Croatia. He showed the initial interest in music during his performance in various bands in the middle to late 2000s. In 2010 he moved to London to pursue his studies at Middlesex University where he established his own alternative jazz orchestra Mimika. Since then, Mimika has released three concept albums on various sociopolitical topics. During this period he worked with various London based ensembles and groups, ranging from jazz, classical, experimental and club music. In 2013, Murtic became a member of Sound and Music’s “Adopt a Composer” program which is working on a piece for the Clapham Community Choir. In the meantime, he recorded an album with the Croatian Radio Television Jazz Orchestra, written for the Septet Ad Libitum of the Zagreb Symphony. His pieces were performed by students at the Purcell School, White Flower Ensemble, Tom Atherton and other musicians. He composed music for a few short films as well as arrangements for various ensembles and an immersive theatre piece (notably ‘’Granice’’ commissioned by the Zagreb Dance Centre and “Jedna od nas”, a documentary by Djuro Gavran).

He participated in various one-off projects and collaborative projects, including One Beat Balkans (2019), Croatian Improvises Orchestra (2019), orchestral project with Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood), arrangements for Darko Rundek and the Croatian Radio Television Jazz Orchestra, piece for Sinković & Merčep percussion duo for the Zagreb Musical Biennale (2019) and others. In 2020 he has established Rika Muzika Label with Sara Al Hamad. Since 2019, Murtić is a facilitator and collaborator in the educational and artistic program One Beat Balkans.

Beside Mimika Orchestra, he actively performs with bands Antentat, Truth ≠Tribe and with Croatian Improvisers Orchestra. In 2021, he wrote a piece for Ensemble Illyrica for the Zagreb Music Biennale, as well as the music for the documentary film “Škoj ili ne…” and the piece “Telos” for the Zagreb based contemporary classical performance series “Scena Amadeo”. In October 2021, he was selected to write for the Rimouski (Canada based) contemporary experimental ensemble Ggril and he went to a residency in Salon 58 in Marsoui where he wrote the piece “Procession de la foret d’automne”. He is currently writing music for the film “El Shatt”, and is releasing album “Altur Mur” dealing with the topic of the farce, myth and reality of the (mostly Croatian) Mediterranean islands.

Rok izjava

Rok Nemanič (1993) is a successful Slovenian trumpet player and composer of the younger generation. His music path began in Sežana where he attended the local music school. He regularly participated in competitions in Slovenia and abroad and received many awards. He brought his knowledge to perfection by attending seminars of the world-renowned trumpet players (Bo Nilson, Jim Rotondi etc.). He studied at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana. His first field of study was classical music under Peter Jevšnikar, and in 2012, he completed his study of jazz music under David Jarh. He is currently studying master of composition&arranging in the class of Reinhold Schmölzer at the Gustav Mahler Private University of Music (GMPU) in Klagenfurt.

He played with the Big Band RTV Slovenia three times within a concert cycle »Young Jazz Musicians«. He regularly participates with the Slovenian Radio and Television Big Band as a substitute player and he works and records with Slovenian big bands. He is the founder of the Balkan Boys band and Pickpocket Swingers. In 2018, he was invited by European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to be a part of the Euroradio Jazz Orchestra project in Latvia. In 2021, the Balkan Youth Jazz Orchestra performed one of his compositions in Montenegro (Aqualand), which made it to the finals of Karel Krautgartner’s composition contest in Prague and was played by the Concept Art Orchestra. In 2022, he released his first album »Pihalni cirkus« with Slovenian Army Orchestra.

Ljubomir izjava

Ljubomir Nikolić (1976) marks cultural heritage as an inexhaustible material for re-interpretation nowadays. Communication and interaction, as two important elements on which he relies, are especially reflected in his work on a relatively new “art form” – theatrical adventure game, within the Creative Europe project “Journey to the Beginnings”, in collaboration with Hungarian artist and director Máte Czáko. It is an interactive installation – a game, which has been shown in museums in Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, and Romania, thanks to the cooperation of archaeologists (University of Southampton), music archaeologists (Vienna), artists (Budapest), and IT experts (Zagreb), which culminated in a unique AR/VR setup, performance, and realization of the music segment. He is currently collaborating with one of the world’s leading Departments of Archeology at the University of Southampton (ACI) headed by archaeologist Joanna Sofaer, working on the development of prehistoric instruments, the link between archeology, art, and creative practice, and their integration into the contemporary context, which is also part of this author’s doctoral research. He uses various techniques and media to create musical content: sound art, electroacoustic achievements, musical theatre, video art, improvised music, all the way to classical forms such as symphony, opera, ballet, string quartets.

He composes music for several dance performances and collaborates with choreographers and dance companies such as Silk Fluegge (Austria, Linz), Derida Dance (Sofia, Bulgaria), and Tanec Praha (Prague, Czech Republic).   The composer’s field of interest is participation in Creative Europe projects, as follows: Rive (2014); Anno (2017); Journey to the Beginnings (2018/2019); Someone from Home (2018/2019); Assimilate (2020/2021); Muse. AR (2021/2022).

He participated in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Laza Kostić Foundation. On that occasion he presented compositions from the cycle of songs “Pčelojavljenje”, from books by Miodrag Radović. The program is shown as a live stream between Stratford (UK) and Novi Sad (Serbia). He is currently employed at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Department of Composition, as a teaching associate.

Detailed biography of the composer.

Mario Nikolic izjava

Mario Nikolić (1996) was born in Teslić, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he completed his high school education. He enrolled in his first academic studies at the Academy of Arts in Banja Luka, at the Department of Music Arts, majoring in music theory and pedagogy. During his studies, he participated in various cultural and artistic manifestations such as the “Days of Vlado S. Milošević” and the first Banja Luka Jazz Fest “JAZZ 0000” dedicated to the world-renowned composer and producer Quincy Jones. He won the first prize at the 12th International Music Festival in Arandjelovac in 2019, in the class of prof. Dejan Janković. He also worked as a teaching assistant in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 school years, in the subjects Solfeggio and Methodology of Solfeggio. In 2019, he enrolled in his second academic studies in Banja Luka, in the class of prof. Tatjana Miloševic-Mijanović, majoring the composition.

Among all his vocal-instrumental works, he singles out a miniature for the string quartet “Anamorph” 2020, a choral composition based on the verses of Tin Ujević “Noturno”, three solo songs based on haiku poetry by Matsu Basho (”I Find Out About the Death of a Friend” 2020, ”Pre-death Song” 2021 and ”Snowy Morning” 2022), flute duo “Yellow Bastard” 2021. He also had the opportunity to compose music for Viktor Krstić’s film “While We Were There” (in cooperation with the students of the drama department of the Academy of Arts) and Sandra Marić’s animated film “Rain Boy” (in cooperation with the “Aeon” production company).

Dorotea izjava

Dorotea Pavlinić (1998) was born in Osijek, where she currently lives and studies composition at the Academy of Arts and Culture. She attended elementary school in Veliškovci (2004-2012) and elementary music school in Valpovo (2010-2014). After that, she simultaneously completed high school in Valpovo (2012-2016), and music high school of Franjo Kuhač in Osijek (2014-2018), at the piano department. As a pianist, she participated in the international competition for young musicians Sonus op. 4 and at the 55th music forum in Opatija. Her two compositions for piano were performed at the event Osijek Music Wednesday in 2016. As a contemporary composition performer, she participated in the Novalis music+art festival in Osijek in 2018. Her composition “Horizont” for tambourine quartet was premiered at the pre-biennial program in 2019, as a part of the student project KNAPANJE. Her piano composition “Unfinished Stories” was performed at the 4th International Festival “Art and Woman”.

During her high school education, she has been studying composition under prof. art. Davor Bobić. She completed undergraduate composition studies in the class of professor Sanja Drakulić in 2021. Thanks to the student exchange program Erasmus+, she completed the third year of composition at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade in the class of prof. Draško Adžić, where her composition “Ples Tintilinića” was performed within the KoMA festival (Compositions by Young Authors). In addition, her compositions “Vodena vrata” and “Lili Lalauna” were recorded in Belgrade. Last year, she participated in the international academy for composers and performers MAS-GO-AS, where a scene from her ballet “A Mouth Full of Earth” was filmed by the ensemble Synchronos. At the beginning of 2021, her composition “Lili Lalauna” was performed in the Belgrade Philharmonic hall, also as a part of the KoMA festival. She attended many seminars and master classes of various renowned musicians. In addition, she regularly plays the organ and has been leading the choir in the church of St. Roka in Veliškovci since 2012.

Nevena Pejcic izjava

Nevena Pejčić (1996) was born in Subotica, Serbia, where she attended high music school in two departments: classical and jazz piano achieving the highest score and was nominated as a student of generation. In July 2015 she was admitted to the Department of Jazz and Popular Music of Belgrade Faculty of Music, where she started her MA studies in 2019 and graduated in 2020 with the highest note. In order to expand knowledge, she admitted a few courses and seminars in the field of music, which took place in Subotica, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Bodaik (Hungary), Sarajevo, Atina (Italy). Currently, Nevena is studying Jazz Composition & Arrangement at the Faculty of Music and Dance in Keln, with Florian Ross as a mentor.

During her studies, she took part in many national and international music competitions in Belgrade, Zrenjanin, Ćuprija, Šabac, Budapest, Graz, Gorizia, Cluj (Rumunija) and received several awards. Since 2018, she has been playing piano in National Theatre in Belgrade. She performed in the plays „Bolivud“ (directed by Maja Pelević) and „Cat on a Hot Tin Roof“ and wrote music for children’s play „Home“ produced in Mionica village (directed by Zagorka Stojanović).

In 2018, Nevena started a band MING Vocal Quartet working as composer, arranger, and pianist. With the MING Quartet she has performed in many festivals and events: Nishville Jazz Festival, Jazz Appreciation Month in Montenegro, Belgrade Stories, Subotica City Day, Night of Museums in Subotica, Karusel (Čačak), Jazz in the Park (Romania), jazz festivals in Kosovska Mitrovica, Pančevo and Novi Sad. With her bend she recorded her original arrangement for a well known jazz standard Black Nile (by Wayne Shorter). She released her first album with the MING quartet this year in the edition of PGP RTS, which features her original compositions and arrangements of jazz standards. Last year Nevena was selected among ten composers from Balkans for the “Balkan Youth Orchestra” project for which she applied the original composition “Wald” that had been performed in Montenegro JAM festival, at the end of April 2021.


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