17 – 20 August BIG FEST – BAŠKA INTERNATIONAL GUITAR FESTIVAL
17 August BAŠKA, Jurandvor, monastic complex of St. Lucy (sv. Lucija)
VLATKO STEFANOVSKI (Republic of North Macedonia)
Vlatko Stefanovski is one of the Balkans’s most prominent musicians, with an amazing career spanning over forty years. This guitar virtuoso has performed all over the world in venues that range from the most prestigious clubs to major concert halls, and has collaborated with the world's most eminent musicians and orchestras. He has written the soundtracks for many theatre and ballet performances as well as scores for films and cartoons, and is a member of the legendary Macedonian group Leb i Sol. He is the recipient of many recognitions and awards, including the Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. In 2017 he was conferred the “11th October“ award, the highest honour bestowed by the Macedonian state, in recognition of his lifetime achievement in the field of arts and culture.
The Artistic Director of the BIG Festival will present in this year's edition songs from his new album, which will be released at the end of the year. The event will be filmed for the DVD which, together with an audio CD, is an integral part of his new project.
18 August BAŠKA, Jurandvor, monastic complex of St. Lucy (sv. Lucija)
Marko Ramljak Band
FRANO ŽIVKOVIĆ (Croatia)
When Franko Živković was two years old he fell in love with his granddad’s old guitar that was sitting in a corner of the living room in his family home in Rijeka. Since then, he has performed more than 200 concerts around Europe, and the Croatian Composers’ Society has awarded him the Rudolf and Margit Matz grant. Frano composes his own music, and most of the tracks on the first album which he has recorded are original. He has performed several times with one of the world's greatest guitarists, Tommy Emmanuel.
MARKO RAMLJAK (Croatia)
Marko Ramljak is known to the public as the violinist who has worked with the Croatian pop sensation band Gibonni for many years, but what has really influenced profoundly the development of his performing skills on the violin is in fact the guitar. In the two years he spent in South Africa he had the chance to become part of the very popular "Kreesan" band as guitar player; after he returned to Croatia he issued three albums that featured both his own music and collaborations with various eminent musicians from Croatia and abroad. He is also the four-time recipient of the Croatian Music Union "Status" award for the most significant instrumentalist of the year.
19 August BAŠKA, Luka Baška, Stara riva (old pier)
Wacky Blues Professors
THE BLONDES (Croatia)
The Blondes is an acoustic duo from Opatija that features Emanuela Lazarić Ella on the guitar and looper, and Kristina Radovčić Kiki playing the guitar, the kazoo, the mouth organ and the “šuške”. Once they became established through their cover songs, to which they always added a creative touch, they were encouraged by the positive reviews they received to write and produce their own music. That decision eventually paved the way for the awards they have received at major Croatian festivals, such as the Split Festival and the Dalmatian Chansons Evening in Šibenik.
IGOR LEONARDI (Slovenia)
Igor Leonardi is a legendary Slovenian guitarist who spent four years studying at the department of Jazz and Classical Guitar in Graz's Music Academy. He has travelled to Asia and Africa to learn about their traditional music, and has become acquainted with new instruments such as the Indian Sitar, the Arabic lute, the Turkish bağlama, the African kora, etc. He spent ten years in the United States, where he taught ethnic music in Oakland, California, and collaborated with eminent US musicians, both in concerts and in studios. In Slovenia he is well-known for being a member in groups such as Miladojka Youneed, Quatebriga and Begnagrad. He has written the score for over 50 theatre performances, and has won many awards for his film soundtracks.
WACKY BLUES PROFESSORS (Slovenia)
The Wacky Blues Professorsare a Slovenian blues rock band that over the last decade has gained a reputation as one of the most attractive live bands in both Slovenia and the Balkans. Apart from attending all the major festivals and events in Slovenia, they have also been on tour in Europe and the USA. They have recorded several albums, which mainly include their own music as well as those blues and rock classics that are de rigueur.
20 August BAŠKA,Jurandvor, monastic complex of St. Lucy (sv. Lucija)
Enrico Maria Milanesi
Screening of the documentary "Črni Kastavac", directed by Igor Modrić
ENRICO MARIA MILANESI (Italy)
Enrico first began to learn the piano,and then switched to the guitar. As a self-taught musician he endeavoured to learn as much as he could by attending music workshops run by maestros such as Tommy Emmanuel (with whom he has performed), Joscho Stephan, Tuck Andress, Franco Morone, Steve Lukather, Paolo Giordano, and others. At the same time, he also shifted his focus to composition, which subsequently led to collaborations with various musicians playing different genres and to the development of scores for theatre performances and other events; it also obtained him awards both in the fields of composition and instrumentalism.
ČRNI KASTAVAC –A documentary
It is a documentary on Jerry Ricks, a blues musician fromPhiladelphia who led a nomadic life busking, until he decided to settle down in Croatia, a place he had often visited when travelling. At the invitation of Damir Halilić Hal, a world-renowned guitarist, he moved to Kastav, a medieval town near Rijeka. He fell in love with the place“at first sight” and decided to spend some time there; he was however fated to remain there forever. After only a year, Jerry Ricks fell seriously ill, and subsequently passed away in 2007. His last wish wasto be buried inthe town.The Kastav Blues Festival was subsequentlycreated as a tribute to his memory and legacy,and every year in August it draws eminent musicians from all over the world; many of thesewere featured in the documentary, in which they talked at length about Ricks' smajor influence on living blues legends.