Welcome! Below is the copy of the July 2015 issue of SLOVENE CONNECTIONS newsletter.

Slovene Connections newsletter aims to connect Slovene Americans – Americans of Slovenian descent and Slovenians living in North America – as well as all who are drawn to Slovenia by some curious stroke of destiny.

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SLOVENE CONNECTIONS Newsletter July 2015

Pictures of Bled are probably the most popular and recognized images of Slovenia. A tiny island on a small Alpine lake, guarded by a castle and surrounded by high mountain peaks. Very inspiring on many levels: from tourist’s capturing snap-shots to share with delving deeper into the mists.
Photographers get up early in the morning to catch the mystique, as did Luka Esenko whose photo is featured below. The beauty and magic of the place touches us through the songs: Slavko Avsenik (1929-2015), to whom we said farewell this week, described Bled joyfully in the lyrics to the polka
“Otoček sredi jezera” (“Islet on the Lake”). And the original video for the waltz “Slovenija od kod lepote tvoje?” (“Whence comes thy beauty, Slovenia?”) was filmed at Bled.
Bled, Slovenia 2015©Luka Esenko
FAVORITE SLOVENE IMAGE: Bled, Slovenia 2015 © Luka Esenko Photography.
Indeed, where does the beauty of Slovenia come from? The small jewel of nature on the sunny side of the Alps was at the crossroads of Europe for centuries: East and West, North and South. Yet, people preserved the nature, culture, and language. With typical Slovene stubborn perseverance, I may add. There’s deep love for this piece of the Earth embedded in our very DNA, or so it seems. We, Slovenes, love Slovenian nature so much that we are not even fully conscious of it. Yes, we are aware of the beauty of Slovene landscapes and culture; we nurture our language; we are proud of our diligence. All of which is lovingly reflected in the Slovenian tourist campaign “Slovenija, moja dežela” from the 1980s, reaching its apex with the short commercial “Gostje prihajajo" ("Guests are coming"), produced in 1986. Click on the images below to see the restored video.
Commercial “Gostje prihajajo" ("Guests are coming"), 1986
Slovenians living in Slovenia deeply resonated with the adds and commercials—images, words, songs—and perhaps even Slovenians living abroad who still know the language. I even titled my solo dance performance “From the Sunny Side of The Alps”, New York, 1999.
But did the message resonate with people of Slovenian descent who no longer understand the language? What about the foreign tourists that Slovenia was trying to attract?
After Slovenia joined the European Union, the new trend began, and the slogan “I FEEL SLOVENIA” developed, meaning "I Feel Love, I Feel Slovenia". The Slovenian national brand progressed from the linden leaf through a bouquet of flowers to the brand “I FEEL SLOVENIA”, which has been in use since 2007. Click on the images below to read about the brand's history.
The slogan reminds of the motto “I Love New York”, created by the American designer Milton Glaser in 1975, even though I found no mention of any official connections. In foreign tourist guides, the Slovene slogan is often spelled as “I feel sLOVEnia”. The translation is “Slovenijo čutim”, which doesn't convey the same message as the English, and doesn’t have the emotional resonance of “Slovenija, moja dežela”.
Is it fair to native Slovenes to use an English sentence as the main promotion for the country? Are we loosing some of our integrity through such practice?
Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize certain traits that an individual or a country takes for granted. Those people who are interested in us, yet, removed enough to see and recognize a larger picture.
I didn’t become fully aware that we are calling the Slovenian capital “Beloved” (Ljubljana), until I started teaching Slovene language to people of Slovenian descent in New York City. I didn’t notice LOVE in the word Slovenia until a Slovene American, who doesn’t speak Slovenian, pointed out that Slovenia is the only country in the world with LOVE in its very name.
While “I FEEL SLOVENIA” may not be as close to the native Slovenes as “Slovenija, moja dežela” or “Na sončni strani Alp”, it strikes a harmonious chord with people of Slovenian descent in the U.S., and perhaps in other English speaking countries as well.
As a native Slovenian, living in New York City since 1992, it took me years, before I was able to fully accept how profoundly I love Slovenia. I always knew how much I am attached to the Slovene language, that I miss Piran, Bohinj, Novo mesto. But how deep does it really go? And am I comfortable answering it?
Love translates into a very complex word in Slovene language: LJUBEZEN (lyu-beh-zeh-n). The words in other languages—love, amore, liebe, ljubav—are all much simpler. The spoken sounds of LJUBEZEN reach the cosmic heights and the stern depths, while embracing with protective, comfortable mists. And one stands in the midst of all prevailing love, like the island on the lake Bled.
I wish you bright summer,
filled with green nature and genuine love,

P.S. The featured article this month is the interview with the Slovene drummer and percussionist Marjan Stanić, the Slovene artist-in-residence in Brooklyn for June 2015.

P.P.S. And check out the Slovene American Events below and at

Diversity, Sincerity, Ethnic Music…and Food

Click on the link above or the image below to read the interview with the Slovene drummer and percussionist Marjan Stanić, who was the Slovene artist-in-residence in Brooklyn, NYC, in June 2015.
Singing Beloved Rhythms: Diversity, Sincerity, Ethnic Music…and Food
Slovene American Events #SloAmEvents
It’s summer! And the Slovene American events this month nicely reflect the season with plenty of musical events, mainly outdoors at the several Slovene American centers: SNPJ Recreation Center in Enon Valley, PA , Slovenska pristava in Harpersfield, OH, SNPJ Farm in Kirtland, OH, and elsewhere.
Lots of opportunities to socialize and have fun Slovenian way.

Check out the details at
For the full listing of July 2015 cultural events of interest to Slovene American community #SloAmEvents visit


Jul 10-12, 2015

The 34th Annual SloveneFest
at the SNPJ Recreation Center in Enon Valley, PA

SloveneFest is probably the largest celebration of Slovenian food, music, and culture in the U.S., from its rich musical history and culinary traditions to modern-day American-Slovenian customs. For info click here.
Jul 18-26, 2015

Singing Slovenes in Minnesota

The Singing Slovenes are happily plying Slovene tunes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. They are an ethnic non-profit singing group from Duluth, Minnesota that promotes the Slovenian heritage through native costume, language, and music. For more info click here.
July 26, 2015

Johnny Pecon’s 100th Birthday Tribute & Polka Mass
at the SNPJ Fram in Kirtland, OH

The Jeff Pecon Orchestra takes center stage in this tribute to Johnny Pecon, one of the greatest Slovenian-Style accordionists and bandleaders. Pecon (1915-1975) was considered the leading stylist of the Cleveland Polka sound. His orchestra performed for Capitol Records and appeared on radio and television. His rendition of “Sweet Polka Dot” brought him national attention in 1956.
Fr. Frank Perkovich comes in from Minnesota to present his popular Polka Mass at 1:00 p.m. His recording of the Polka Mass has sold more than 100,000 copies. For more info click here.
Be reminded about the upcoming events each week by tuning in to the weekly updates on the Arinna, Inc. Facebook page at
The weekly list of events is posted each Monday evening.
Spread the word: Share with your friends and acquaintances.
Let's build a vibrant community together.
Translation & interpretation are HUMAN services.
If you, or anyone you know, need a linguist for translation or interpretation projects, I’d be happy to assist. I’m a seasoned translator & interpreter for Slovene & English languages, as well as Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian. Read more on my website, where you can also listen to my latest interview on Radio Slovenia. Just click on the button below and enjoy.
Marta Stemberger
Copyright © 2015 Arinna, Inc. c/o Marta Stemberger, All rights reserved.

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