ABOUT ME, WORK, DISCOGRAPHY
“In Ljoba Jenče’s voice, the memory of the world trembles, but also the possibility of its rejuvenation and rebirth.”
Milan Dekleva, Slovenian poet.
LJOBA JENČE, preserver of oral tradition
Singer, storyteller, collector, vocal and storytelling coach
Ljoba Jenče has been collecting, researching and, above all, singing and storytelling from Slovenian oral tradition and medieval epics to children and adults at home and abroad since 1988 as a freelance artist. She has toured on six continents, giving up to 100 performances a year for children and adults.
1988 – she started collecting folk songs of the Notranjska region, Slovenia.
1990 – she performed at the Druga Godba Festival at the Križanke Open Air Theatre in Ljubljana with the presentation “Ljudski pevci in godci Notranjske / Folk Singers and Musicians of Notranjska”.
1994 – she organised the FIRST INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM OF STORYTELLERS (KOZJAK) in Slovenia and established the PAJN INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING, nonprofit ngo.
2013 – PARZIVAL – the SECOND INTERNATIONAL STORYTELLING SYMPOSIUM (PTUJ) along with the European Conference on the Importance of Storytelling for Young People in the Formation of a European Cultural Identity.
In the period from 2013-16 she founded and developed the Educational Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage – the HERITAGE HOUSE, located by Lake Cerknica.
2014-16 the project IN THE SAME BOAT – YOUNG GUARDIANS OF HERITAGE that was supported by an EEA grant and assisted by numerous expert partners and institutions, she succeeded in developing a model for the transmission of old knowledge from the older to the younger generation. For their excellent work her PAJN INSTITUTE received a Special Mention of the Jury for 2017 by the expert jury of the highest European association for cultural heritage, EUROPA NOSTRA AWARDS.
She conducts workshops in the art of storytelling, developing a natural voice method and systemic layouts of connections to the constellation of voices, she holds voice workshops for participants from Slovenia and abroad and at international festivals. She takes care of the intangible cultural heritage of the Cerknica Plain and participates actively in the development of art through her Educational Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage – the Heritage House within Pajn Institute.
She is characterised by her love of natural acoustics, a direct contact with the audience and by occasonally including simple traditional musical instruments or bird sounds while singing a capella. She appeals to modern man to listen to their inner self and to the richness of oral tradition, which bears the imprint of a primal bond with the realms of nature and the universe. Self-knowledge through folk tradition and a constantly deepening artistic aspiration lead her on the path to uniqueness and universality in man. One of the most special experiences was her tour to Tibet and Nepal, where she was able to present archaic Slovenian songs in such a way that even the Tibetan monks responded with their prayers. She was also heard all over Europe, in Canada, Argentina, Africa, Asia, Australia. On her tours, she manages to establish a direct contact with indigenous cultures.
In her latest project, COMMUNICATION ECHOLOCATION (2020, KDNG Pixxelpoint) with film director Jasna Hribernik (Whitebalance), she also highlights the importance of human deep connection with the worlds of nature and the world’s largest creatures, whales, and her project sheds light on the meaning and longevity of a Slovenian cosmogonic song that sings about the fabled fish Faronika, who carries the whole world on her back. It is a particular joy for her when she senses in the audience that listening to old songs and stories awakens people’s memory of our essence, our spiritual roots and ancestral heritage. Whoever has a memory also has a future, both the individual and the nation itself.
She lives by Lake Cerknica. After high school in Postojna she studied economics at the University of Ljubljana and worked in tourism for 5 years. Through her work she noticed the unwanted consequences of tourism in national parks, but at the same time she discovered that there is still a lot of spiritual richness among the people of Notranjska, so she left the world of economics and ventured into the humanities on the path of a collector and into the arts as a performer, singer and storyteller. She went to England to receive training in the natural voice method or the etheric tone at the Emerson College – Tonalis Institute for Development of Tonal Awareness. There she became acquainted with the Werbeck singing method, eurhythmy and creative speech according to Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Since 2000 she has been taking solo singing lessons and occasionally creative speech training. With great care she has been constantly researching the ways of Slovenian folk singing and storytelling among the people.
She has been a founding member of the ethnomusicological organisation »Folk Slovenia« Cultural Society since 1995. Since 2020 she has been a member of the Slovene Writers’ Association.
She collaborates with the Musical Youth of Slovenia and the Reading Badge Society of Slovenia with performances for children in kindergartens and schools.
– 2010 Golden Sign of the Municipality of Cerknica for the preservation of folk tradition of the Inner Carniola (Notranjska).
– 2015 Medal of Merit for the preservation of folk music heritage, awarded by the President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor – nominator Simona Moličnik, Radio Slovenia
– 2017 Special Mention Award, issued by the Expert Committee of the European Cultural Heritage Association EUROPA NOSTRA AWARDS for the project In the Same Boat – Young Guardians of Heritage 2014-16, in Turku, Finland
– 2017 Pippi’s Ambassador – honorary title of patron awarded by the Pippi Longstocking Festival in Velenje
- LJOBA JENČE: Ljudska pesem poje v meni / Slovene Folk Songs (The Folk Song Sings in Me) (CD/MC self-published 1992): folk songs of Slovenian regions with commentaries on their origins and English translation.
- LJOBA JENČE: Srčna moč – Slovenske ljudske skozi praznično leto / The Springs of Heart – Slovenian Folk Songs through the Festive Year (CD self-published 2001): 55 folk songs for children and adults with bird sound recordings (Tomi Trilar, PhD) and nature atmospheres (Boris Romih). Approved supplementary teaching tool for schools and kindergartens
- LJOBA JENČE AND GYUTO MONKS: Lepote modrosti – srečanje svetega zvoka Tibeta in starodavne slovenske pesmi / (The Beauty of Wisdom – The Sacred Sound of Tibet Encounters the Ancient Slovenian Song), (Društvo za podporo Tibetu / Tibet Support Society 2001) (SAZAS DPT CD 001)
- LJOBA JENČE with guests. Slovenija. Odmevi večnosti: pripovedne, obredne in druge ljudske pesmi / Slovenia. Echoes of Eternity: Slovenian Ballads, Ritual Songs and Other Traditional Songs (CD MOHORJEVA CELOVEC, 2011). Guests: Uroš Polanc – trombone, Domen Marinčič – viola da gamba, Janez Jocif – psaltery, portative, Duško Mamut Badovinac – gongs, Nina Volk – dulcimer. Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
- In memoriam Pavle Merku, Zvenenja Slovenije / In memoriam Pavle Merku (Sounds of Slovenia) – APZ Tone Tomšič (Academic Choir Tone Tomšič), (APZ Tone Tomšič Univerze v Ljubljani, 2017). Jerica Gregorc Bukovec, conductor, Bojana Šaljić Podešva, composer, Ljoba Jenče performing four folk songs with the choir.
- LJOBA JENČE: O lepa moja Vida – slovenske ljudske balade in ljubezenske pesmi / Oh, My Fair Vida – Traditional Ballads and Love Songs (Pivec Publishing House, 2019) with guests: Jure Goručan, piano, Boris Kovač, saxophone and sound producer, Milena Jančurić, flute.
Publications of documentary material of folk music
- Ljudski pevci in godci z Notranjske / Live Folk Music (Folk Singers and Musicians from Notranjska) (MC, Druga godba, GMS, 1990). Ljoba Jenče, music producer and accompanying text
- JEZERCI – Ljudske pesmi Cerkniškega polja / (People of the Lake – Folk Songs of the Cerknica Plain) (MC, self-published, 1995). Edited and published by Ljoba Jenče. Supported by the Municipality of Cerknica and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
- Notranjsko … je šla meglica ‘z jezera – dokumentarni posnetki ljudskega petja, 1957-1968 GNI, 1988-2007 Ljoba Jenče / (Notranjsko … A Mist Lifted from the Lake) – oral tradition from 1957-1968 GNI, 1988-2007 Ljoba Jenče (CD, self-published, LJ 2007). 42 folk songs and tunes, collected, recorded and edited by Ljoba Jenče. Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO.
- NOTRANJSKO. … je šla meglica ‘z jezera. Pesmarica dokumentarnih posnetkov ljudskega petja / (Notranjsko. … A Mist Lifted from the Lake. Songbook of documentary recordings of folk singing), (self-published, LJ, 2009). Introductory text, transcription of lyrics, edited by Ljoba Jenče, expert text by Marko Terseglav, music transcription and notation by Urša Šivic. Supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO.
- LOKOVEC . POSLUŠAM KOVAČA – Ljudske pesmi, viže in govor / (Lokovec. I Listen to the Blacksmith – Folk Songs, Tunes and Narratives) (TD Lokovec, 2008, repr. by Miroslav Šuligoj Bremec). Material collected, recorded and edited by Ljoba Jenče, performed by the local performers: Domači pevci iz Lokovca (The Lokovec Folk Singers), Darko Bratuž, Milka Bremec …, Vesel Gornjekančane (The Merry Singers of Gornji Lokovec). Supported by the Municipality of Nova Gorica.
- BLOKE – Sem šu, sem šu čez gmajnico – Ljudske pesmi in pripovedi / (I Went, I Went Across the Fields – Folk songs and Tales), Marija and France Anzeljc Petrač (book with CD, Municipality of Bloke, KD Bloke, 2010). Edited by Ljoba Jenče, recorded by Jože Rajk, accompanying text by Ljoba Jenče and Simona Moličnik, translation by Robert Riley, design by Polonca Strman)
- Dr. France Prešeren – Neiztrohnjeno srce: pevci slovenskega popa v Prešernov spomin / (The Imperishable Heart – Slovenian Pop Singers in Prešeren’s Memory) (RTV Slovenia, Založba kaset in plošč, 2000), arrangement of the folksong Od kralja Matjaža (King Matjaž) performed by Ljoba Jenče and Marino Kranjac.
Featuring on compilation albums:
- FOLK PREPOROD NA SLOVENSKEM: posnetki s koncertov festivala Druga godba v Ljubljani od leta 1986 do 1997 / Folk Revival in Slovenia: The Druga godba Festival live recordings, Ljubljana 1986-1997 (CDG 003, Druga godba 1998)
- HYPERBOREA CD 1999 – Vlado Batista, Renato Chicco, Saša Olenjuk, Ljoba Jenče, (Kaj pa delajo ptički / What Are Little Birds Doing) interpretation with jazz musicians
- Sodobna ljudska glasba na Slovenskem I / Modern Folk Music in Slovenia I, (Kulturno društvo Folk Slovenija / Folk Slovenia Cultural Society 2000 / ) (KD FS CD 01)
- Sodobna ljudska glasba na Slovenskem II / Modern Folk Music in Slovenia II, (Kulturno društvo Folk Slovenija / Folk Slovenia Cultural Society 2001 (KD FS CD 02) CD, edited by Ljoba Jenče
- ETNO: glasbene poti podolgem in počez / ETNO – Music Routes – Highways and Byways, Slovenia 2011 (2 CDs,SIGIC, 2011) Song No.11: Cin cin cin belo, Ljoba Jenče
- Pripovedovalski variete v Kavarni Union. Deset zgodb / (The Storytelling Variety Show at the Union Café. Ten stories), (CDPV, 2012), Kako je nastalo Cerkniško jezero (The Story of the Creation of Lake Cerknica), and, Hudič žene polhe past (The Devil Puts Dormice Out to Pasture), Ljoba Jenče
Film production and TV Slovenia
- Zadnji čoln, dokumentarni film o Cerkniškem jezeru / (The Last Boat, documentary about Lake Cerknica) (VPK, 2004), directed by Jasna Hribernik; First Prize for documentary at the 7th Slovenian Film Festival in Portorož, 2004. Ljoba Jenče, original music for vocals and singing.
- Med hribi kačjih glav – dokumentarni film o staroverskem izročilu etnološko bogate vasi Lokovec / (Among the Hills of Snakes’ Heads – a documentary about the Native Faith tradition of the ethnologically rich village of Lokovec) (TV Slovenia, 2004). Directed by Hanka Kastelicova, script by Jadran Strle and Hanka Kastelicova; Pavle Medvešček, Ljoba Jenče content consultancy and singing. TD Lokovec and locals, repr. by Miroslav Šuligoj Bremec.
- Pojoči kamenčki, avtorski kratki filmi ljudskih pesmi / (The Singing Stones, original short films presenting folk songs), (TV Slovenia, 2006). Ljoba Jenče, selection and singing, directed by Jasna Hribernik
- Vitanje v vesolju: Sunita / Vitanje in Space: Sunita (SFC, RTVSLO, 2004). Directed by Jasna Hribernik, music by Bojana Šaljić Podešva, voice by Ljoba Jenče
- Alpe – Donava – Jadran / Alps – Danube – Adriatic
- Slovenski magazin / Slovenian Magazine
- Opus, 2017
- Slovenska zemlja v pesmi in besedi / (The Slovenian Land in Songs and Words) – 8 original programmes about Notranjska and as a guest, editor Jasna Vidakovič, 1 programme from Lokovec, editor Simona Moličnik
- Pota naše glasbe / (The Paths of Our Music), 1992
- Pesek, Angelca: Glasba 4: za četrti razred 8-letne osnovne šole / (Music 4: for the fourth grade of 8-year primary school)(MK, 2002). Ljoba Jenče: selection of folk music and stories from Notranjska, singing and speaking performance.
- Jenče, Ljoba: Sedi k meni, povem ti eno pravljico: za ohranjanje slovenskega izročila, Zbornik prvega simpozija pravljičarjev, Priročnik pripovedovanja pravljic 1 / (Sit Next to Me, I’ll Tell You a Fairy Tale: for preservation of Slovenian oral tradition, Proceedings of the First Symposium of Storytellers, Storytelling Handbook 1) (Mariborska knjižnica / Maribor Library 2006). 17 authors, 364 pp. Ljoba Jenče: editing, drawings, selection and arrangement of pictorial material
- Otroška pesmarica: Slovenske ljudske pesmi 2 / (Children’s Songbook: Slovenian Folk Songs 2) (book and CD,MK, 2006). Selected and edited by Urša Šivic, Marko Terseglav, illustrations by Danijel Demšar; 4 songs collected and sung by Ljoba Jenče
- Šuligoj Bremec, Miroslav (ed.): Ljudem: ljudska dediščina za muzeje na Banjški in Trnovski planoti / (To the People: Folk Heritage for Museums on the Banjška and Trnovo plateaus),(Ustanova fundacija biT / biT Foundation, 2009, EEA grants). Several authors; Ljoba Jenče: O pomenu ljudskega petja / (On the Importance of Folk Singing)
- Gorenšek, Boštjan(ed.): Pravljična vas Leše / (The Fairy Tale Village of Leše) (Občina Prevalje / Municipality of Prevalje, 2012), 7 authors; Ljoba Jenče, author of two fairy tales: Skrivni gospodar življenja / (The Secret Lord of Life, and, Žal žene in zaklad kravjih rogov / (The Fairies and the Treasure of Cow Horns).
- Povedka o nastanku Cerkniškega jezera / (A Tale of the Creation of Lake Cerknica), family tabletop puppet theatre, Ljoba Jenče, Jožef Žirovnik (Pajn, 2015). Conceived by Ljoba Jenče, design and illustration by Božidar Strman, technical realization by Urša Telič Miler, printing by Abakos.
Reviews on Ljoba Jenče’s work
Prof. Jože Faganel, Chair of Stage Speech and Artistic Word, AGRFT (Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film, and Television), Ljubljana
Ljoba Jenče’s singing excels: excellent diction, which ensures good intelligibility of the text, respect for orthographic realisations in the chosen organic speech as well as in standard speech; rational articulation of the text with appropriate emotional accents; sophistication of the performance style, which encourages the imitation of sophisticated utterance regardless of the chosen speech genre; a comprehensive interpretation of the text with a fine sense of the relationship between detail and the whole; a balance between the speech and musical planes; a high artistic impression with a personal touch; a simplicity and ease of performance which makes the considerable technical complexity of the text unnoticeable when listening to it. The audio material is therefore a valuable pedagogical contribution to the promotion of the spoken culture of the Slovene language.
Milka Ajtnik, MA, National Education Institute of the Republic of Slovenia
SRČNA MOČ (The Springs of the Heart is a material that Slovenian schools and especially music subjects have been waiting for for a long time. Slovenian folk songs through the annual cycle of celebrations and seasons are a parade of reflections of the diversity of music and traditions of Slovenian regions, showing the atmosphere of musical and verbal language. The music eco-ethno project supports the cross-curricular integration of the new curricula. The approach to the work is multifaceted, highly professional, and warm and complete. The material invites to embrace, to re-appreciate or re-respect a tradition that is slowly being lost like sand between the toes in the process of general globalisation. The CD is the right choice for preserving the beauty of folk tradition. (March 2001)
Milan Dekleva, Slovenian poet, editor of the Children’s Programme on TV Slovenia
“POJOČI KAMENČKI” (The Singing Stones) – interpretations of Slovenian folk songs in the Children’s Programme on TV Slovenia
In Ljoba Jenče’s voice the memory of the world trembles, but also the possibility of its rejuvenation and rebirth. Ljoba’s approach to the song (which is always an incantation of the whole, of all that is) is feminine in the noblest sense of the word: it intertwines maternal care and an erotic courtship call. The performer addresses the song with full responsibility towards the physical and the metaphysical; towards what is transient and eternal, what exists as the body, but also as desire, longing and fantasy.
The maternal care and the courtship call are therefore not mere emotions, but a state of creative consecration in which human consciousness embraces the Other, that awaits and transcends it.