ichotomy – a partition of a whole into two complementary parts: the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the light and the dark, the woman and the man – often used to evade the pointless convolution of a myriad of shades of life. It may be the simplicity of merely two options concealing the fact that there are many musics as joyfully pushing blood through veins and cheering the soul up as those composed in the rhythm of just two beats – the strong and the weak beat. This rhythmic form is essential to success of the music, which has always made people ecstatically transcend into a dancing trot: the polka, be it either ornamented with the gild of the Viennese court of the Strauss brothers, the clearly recognizable Slovenian melodics of the brothers Slavko and Vilko Avsenik, or Dixieland music, which is basically a march with an emphasized back beat and, just like the polka, a two-beat musical form.
The successful synthesis of the music of the Avsenik brothers and other excellent performers of this music genre daringly combined with the Dixieland playing style of the Oberdixie Band and its top Slovenian academic musicians is therefore not surprising, as both music genres have grown from the same roots and, though differing in time and space, they awaken the same joyful feelings of soul salvation, which great art can conjure up, such as the music of the Avseniks undoubtedly is. Moreover, it is “the phenomenon of universality and uniqueness combined with diverse and charming Slovenian melodics and enriched with elements of operetta and popular or European light music”, as noted by composer prof. Tomaž Habe in his description of the Avsenik brothers’ music. Similarly, Dixieland is the music which embodies the very beginning of great art called jazz, originating in the early 20th century (1910s and 1920s) in New Orleans, the port’s melting pot of diverse cultures of the new, old and African worlds, amidst the collision of the black slave suffering and longing with cosmopolitan Creole and white cultures and refinement. With World War I, Dixieland began its march to Chicago and, thanks to the candour of black music, excellent musical education of Creole people and the two-part rhythmic form which found its way into the European classical music, it spread not only across America, but also to Europe and around the world, as it does even nowadays through its concert and dance forms. The striking similarity of the Avsenik and Dixieland musics – originated in the narrow, steep valleys of the Gorenjska region (the backwaters of the Mississippi river delta swamps), filled with knowledge of classical musical arrangements of the polka and the unmistakable feeling for beautiful melodies, created with dedication and heart – geared up to reach beyond one’s own boundaries and to bring joy to many others around the world.
And yes, to cheer the listener up is, given all the similarities between the Avsenik and Dixieland musics, the joint, most valuable effect and fusion of both of them in the Oberdixie Band.