Farewell to the father of Slovene popular music

05. 01. 2021

Mojmir Sepe, who died on Thursday, 24 December, in his ninety-first year, was a legend of Slovene popular music. A conductor and composer working in various genres including chanson, popular song, theatrical song and film music, he was also an accomplished arranger, particularly of works for large orchestras. Mojmir Sepe was utterly committed to music, with every fibre of his being, and has left an indelible mark on Slovene music. His contribution to the treasury of evergreen Slovene melodies includes such famous compositions as Zemlja pleše, Brez besed, Malokdaj se srečava, S teboj, Pridi, dala ti bom cvet, Medved Bojan, Ribič, ribič me je ujel, Ljubi, ljubi, ljubi and Pismo za Mary Brown.

In 1962 he was among the founders of the Slovene Song Festival (Slovenska popevka), winning the competition in 1964 with the song Poletna noč, performed by Marjana Deržaj, and twice more with his wife Majda Sepe – in 1973 with Med iskrenimi ljudmi and the following year with Uspavanka za mrtve vagabunde. From 1970 until his retirement in 1991 he was a programme editor for popular music at Radio Ljubljana. Over the course of his rich and fruitful career he worked with numerous icons of Slovene music, including Marjana Deržaj, Stane Mancini, Elda Viler, Lado Leskovar, Jože Privšek, Bojan Adamič, Jure Robežnik, Dušan Velkaverh and Elza Budau. With them, he helped create the golden age of Slovene popular song. He collaborated closely with his life companion Majda Sepe, one of the greatest interpreters of Slovene chanson, and with the poet Frane Milčinski, aka Ježek. He composed songs in tandem with some of the country’s finest lyric writers, including Gregor Strniša, Branko Šömen, Miroslav Košuta and Ivan Minatti.

The title of his song Poletna noč (“Summer Night”) serves as the name of the concert that for a number of years now Festival Ljubljana has been organising in conjunction with RTV Slovenia on 21 June, the longest day of the year, to greet the summer. His works figure constantly in the repertoire of events organised by Festival Ljubljana. His ninetieth birthday last year was marked by a special concert entitled “Mojmir Sepe – 90 Years” during the 68th Ljubljana Festival.

With his unforgettable evergreen compositions, Mojmir Sepe has written himself permanently into Slovene musical history and occupies a special place in the hearts of all lovers of popular music.