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Kristijan Krajnčan: Med se iskri v temi / Honey Sparks in the Dark (Slovenija)

Honey Sparks in the Dark is a contemporary music-dance performance inspired by the motives of Slovenian folklore and mythology.

After his debut interdisciplinary project Hidden Myth (2015), a multi-instrumentalist, composer and director Kristijan Krajnčan continues with the exploration of the field with returning to his Slovenian roots. He invited his brother Žigan Krajnčan to be the main choreographer and co-creator of the concept. Besides folk music and dance they were interested in anything that could spark ideas for composition and choreography, such as unusual customs, mystical rituals, pre-Christian faith and folk mythology.

Kristijan emphasizes that the project is not an authentic performance of the folk material but a re-composition and re-integration of the ancient ideas, looked through the contemporary kaleidoscope, always preserving the essence of the songs.

The project’s mission is to excavate the long lost values from the darkness of forgetfulness. Here’s where the idea of the title originates from: honey as a symbol of our connection and interdependence with nature, and as a buried old folk treasure worth bringing to the surface.

Compositions, drums, cello, effects, director: Kristijan Krajnčan (SI)
Trumpet, flugelhorn: Tomaž Gajšt (SI)
Tenor & baritone saxophone, live electronics: Boštjan Simon (SI)
Double bass, bass guitar: Robert Jukič (SI)
Choreography, dance: Žigan Krajnčan (SI)
Dance: Katja Legin (SI), Bor Prokofjev (SI), Kristyna Šajtošova (CZ)
Light design: Borut Bučinel (SI)
Dramaturge: Nina Kuclar Stiković (SI)
Producer: Nataša Zavolovšek (SI)


Production: Exodos Ljubljana

Coproduction: Cankarjev dom

Partners: Delavni center Krušče in Društvo Pekinpah, with support: Mestna občina Ljubljana



Premiere: 16. 06. 2022, Jazz festival Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom

Replay: 19. 12. 2022, Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana (SI)

Touring: 27. 06. 2022, Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige, Bolzano (IT)

by Jan Pirnat

by Jan Pirnat

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by Miha Fras


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Kristijan Kranjčan

"We live in a world that is limited to piano intervals between tones. However, when I began to discover how many different tunings already existed in history and what different atmospheres and emotional states open up, if you use different, untempered tunings, it was like discovering a new world to me. Resian music is characterized by quarter tones. These quarter tones sound very primary, and that’s what drew me to use them in composing or recomposing folk music. I became interested in combining untempered tuning and spectral music."

foto: @Jan Pirnat

Boštjan Simon_foto Luca A dAgostino_Phocus Agency_edited.jpg

Boštjan Simon

"There is a lot of minimalism in music, which brings a lot of technical requirements for instruments, so my challenge is to consistently perform this material and delve into the extended techniques of saxophone. This is, for example, a multiphonic technique, playing several tones at the same time and singing into a saxophone while playing and then circular breathing. All of these techniques are not just an accessory, but are an integral part of the composition and are such a good opportunity for me to master them."

foto: Luca d'Agostino / Phocus Agency

Tomaž Gajšt

"In addition to exploring music together and delving into musical parameters, it is interesting that at the same time everyone has to delve into themselves and discover their own worlds. A special challenge is the simultaneous playing of this music and the attempt to relax, so that together we can give a message of a kind of originality."

foto: Petra Cvelbar

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Robert Jukič

"It's a great challenge to play this music in a relaxed way and coordinate your own work on the instrument, while capturing the message and the starting point of the composition. At the same time, this relates to dance, which carries its own tradition, in which content from the other end of the world is incorporated through jazz."

foto: Petra Cvelbar




Published on July 10, 2022

Author: Matthieu Jouan

"[…] Other concerts stand out as well, such as that of the drummer and cellist Kristijan Krajnčan, who, with his ensemble, offers a performance mixing dance and music, very well written, arranged and whose choreography underlines its intelligence. […]"


63. Ljubljana Jazz Festival

Published on July 11, 2022

Author: Michal Kratochvíl

"[…] Then came one of the unexpected highlights of the festival. Kristijan Krajnčan performed on the main stage with his project Med se iskrí v temí / Honey Sparks in the Dark. The performance with two male and two female dancers completely mesmerised me. I devoured every note and movement on the stage—an exceptional fusion of modern jazz with modern dance that drew from and referenced folklore. The elaborate choreography was a feast for the eyes and perfectly matched the music. […]"

SIGIC – Slovenian Music Information Centre

Ljubljana Jazz Festival, for the sixty-third time

Published: June 30, 2022

Author: Nina Novak

"[…] Let's also mention freekind, one of the biggest surprises of the festival, which is based on jazz and incorporates its elements into the soul, hip-hop and other genres, and the latest project, Med se iskrí v temí by Kristijan Krajnčan, based on Slovenian mythology and folklore, which is equal parts music and dance. Elements of one are strictly based on aspects of the other, thus reflecting another of the orientations of this year's festival: the aspiration to connect different branches of art. […]"


Published: June 20, 2022

Authors: Brigita Gračner, Jan Kopač

“[…] As far as the multidisciplinary nature of the festival is concerned, the most outstanding was the project by drummer and cellist Kristijan Krajnčan, "Honey Sparks in the Dark", which was the next and the last in a series of external evening performances. The project, created during a residency at the Krušče Creative Centre, was a feast for the ears and the eyes. The musical performers coexisted on stage with four dancers, including Žigan Krajnčan, the choreographer and Kristijan's brother. The brothers based the movement-sound performance on a concept derived from Slovenian folklore and mythology but updated and transformed in a contemporary way. Music and movement creatively followed each other, leaving space for each other in the sense that the music could also be heard or the dancers could come to the fore when the music stopped. The drama itself was further accentuated and complemented by the adapted lighting of the stage and the darkness that had already descended upon us by the time of the performance. In this light, a varied and dynamic performance unfolded. [...]”


Monday at the Südtirol Jazz Festival was also full of diversity

Published: July 1, 2022

Authors: Dick Hovenga

The programme included Honey Sparks in the Dark, composed primarily for the festival by Slovenian composer/cellist/drummer Kristjan Krajnčan. A piece in which the band, Krajnčan as the drummer and three horns, use the sides of the stage and keep the rest of the space accessible for four dancers who perform a choreography specially made for the music. The composition's title is taken from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke and tells, translated into English: 'We are bees of the invisible. We wildly collect the honey of the visible, to store it in the great golden hives of the invisible'. It is a fascinating piece of music, tastefully performed by the band and strongly translated into dance. It is beautiful how Krajnčan as a drummer, pushes the horns and gives them direction and then solos at the front left of the stage, behind the cello. It not only looks visually very nice but sounds very nice as well - all the more so because the accompanying lighting plan with more and more darkness begins to work optimally. And the silhouette of the mountains in the distance becomes more prominent. Krajnčan is an exceptional musician and composer. He draws on many musical sources for his music, and new classical (read: contemporary) elements predominate in this particular composition. He builds up his musical story, together with the dancers, in such a beautiful way that, after the unexpected ending, you suddenly realise that you have heard more than an hour of music and seen more than an hour of dance.


Jas Kayser and Soweto Kinch kick it at 40th Südtirol Jazz Festival 2022

Author: Tim Dickeson

Published: July 5, 2022

“[…] The second contemporary dance show was performed by Slovenian cellist and drummer Kristijan Krajnčan and featured four dancers performing his new work called “Honey Sparks in the Dark”. This again was a show that you could not take your eyes off. Music and dance were so well brought together in this show which took place outdoors under one of the numerous mountains that define this area. […]”


Südtirol Jazz Festival "Europa"

Author: Vincenzo Fugaldi

Published: August 13, 2022

“[...] Another successful encounter between music and dance, at the Semirurali Park in Bolzano: Honey Sparks in the Dark. Four dancers, four musicians, a reciting voice and a sound designer from Slovenia in an emotional performance inspired by a verse by Rilke. The inventive composer, cellist and drummer Kristijan Krajnčan prepared the project. He alternated between the two instruments, flanked by double bass, trumpet and saxophone, interacting with the four dancers, who combined movements inspired by Balkan folk dances (also recalled by the costumes) and contemporary movements in spectacular and enthralling scenes. [...]

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