Here are a few dozen shots from last night’s excellent mega concert in Ljubljana’s central Kongresni Trg, or Congress Square, that was part REM tribute, part environmental awareness shindig. At top is Vlado Kreslin, one of Slovenia’s most popular and respected singer/songwriters, belting out Texarkana.
Projekt REM: Energija Ciste Glasbe (Pure Energy Music), organized and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, brought together more than a dozen artists and bands for a five-plus hour show – each act played three or four songs, one of which was a unique take on a favorite REM tune. Below is Lollobrigida, a Zagreb-based techno/pop band whose entertaining and energetic performance reminded me of the B-52s. If you guessed that she’s singing Shiny Happy People, you’d be right. The song fit them, too. They were a blast.
Forgive me for finding myself instantly cloaked in a shroud of cynicism anytime any official organ of the U.S. government puts its name, front and center, on any green initiative. (Talking the talk for the world’s second largest polluter is one thing, walking the walk is another. But let’s leave that for another time.)
Which was why I appreciated the remarks made by U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli who, while sharing a story of his experience at the first Earth Day back in 1970, told the crowd how divided the U.S. remains on issues of environmental protection. He seemed to be genuinely embarrassed when making that statement of fact. That kind of polarization, he said, isn’t the case in Slovenia.
But that’s not really why a massive crowd filled the square by the time darkness descended on a near perfect late summer evening. They came for the music, and the performers largely delivered. A few personal highlights: I saw Elvis Jackson (lead singer David Kovšca above) for the first time; they were certainly inspired during their lively ska/hard core interpretation of Losing My Religion. Another was Kreslin, who joined the Croatian Surf Punk band The Bambi Molesters.