21 Jun 2023
Germany Berlin Museum Europäischer Kulturen
A concert by Katalena
1 Jun 2017
Bulgaria Sofia Sofia National Opera and Ballet
A performance by Katalena
19 Dec 2016
Austria Vienna Schubert Theater
A concert by Katalena, supported by the Slovenian Culture and Information Centre, Vienna (SKICA), Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Vienna,
5 Sep 2015
Italy Ancona Corte della mole Vanvitelliana
A concert by Katalena at the Festival Adriatico Mediterraneo
7 Aug 2015
Austria Villach/Beljak Congress Center Villach
A concert by Katalena at the festival Carinthischer Sommer
The band members met almost accidentally in the summer of 2001 in an idyllic village in the Southeast of Slovenia. Coming from different musical backgrounds, from rock (Sfiltrom, Bast) and blues (Moj boogie band) to folk (Terrafolk) and trip hop (Melodrom), the musicians then experimented for a week with several old Slovene folk tunes they had discovered in the archives of the Institute of Ethnomusicology.
After that, they've gained a lot of attention in a rather short time, and their first public appearance in December 2001 at the Novi Rock (New Rock) festival in Ljubljana was, to everyone's surprise, completely sold out.
Katalena has played all major festivals and venues in Slovenia, including the prestigious Druga Godba Festival, where they've been invited to play 4 times up until now. Other festivals include Lent Festival, Rock Otočec, Carniola Festival, Mediterranean Festival, Izola, Trnfest Festival, Zmaj 'ma mlade Festival, Days of Poetry and Wine Festival and Kamfest.
In 2009 they've sold out the Gallus Hall in Cankarjev dom with a special event that included 13 ballet dancers from the Slovene National Theatre Maribor. That same year, as a part of Animateka Festival, the band also did an audio-visual concert that featured a crew of Slovene animators, who (beforehand) created short animated films, based on their songs. Another of their performances in this explorative vein is the Enci benci Katalenci show, which was created explicitly for children and which debuted in Cankarjev dom in 2015.
Katalena also has an enviable list of performances abroad, having played in the USA, Switzerland, Hungary, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Israel and Croatia.
The Katalena line-up has remained the same since their beginning and consists of Vesna Zornik (vocal), Polona Janežič (keyboards, backing vocals), Tibor Mihelič (bass, backing vocals), Boštjan Narat (guitar, mandolin, backing vocals), Robert Rebolj (drums, percussion), and Boštjan Gombač (clarinet, flutes, percussion, backing vocals and more).
The members are all very productive outside Katalena as well. For example, Boštjan Narat is highly successful as a singer-songwriter, Vesna Zornik created a well received tango oriented solo project TangoApasionada in 2010, Polona Janežič plays keyboards in Melodrom. As for Boštjan Gombač, he is undoubtedly one of the most active Slovene musicians, and was in recent years a main performer in the cabaret Patty Diphusa – Confessions of Porno Diva, directed by Ivana Djilas, with whom the band has also collaborated.
Katalena releases are quite diverse and often concept-driven. This 2002 début established their operational principle of modernising Slovene traditional folk idioms, which they continued on the second album Babje leto (2004).
Kmečka ohcet (2006) featured songs that have a lyrical connection to weddings and wedding-related themes, and Cvik cvak! (2008) reached into Resian folk music (Resia is a remote valley, close to the border in Italy, where a Slovene minority lives and is known for its specific language and culture). Noč čarovnic (2012) covered poems by various Slovenian poets and their 2015 release, Enci benci Katalenci, remodelled children's songs in such a way that they are equally appealing to children as well as to their more 'demanding' audiences. In 2018, the album called Človek ni zver (Man is not a Beast).