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177 Nations of Tasmania - Episode 54 - Singer and jeweller from Slovenia

Updated: Apr 14, 2022

This was my first attempt at interviewing a couple, I hadn't really been able to do it before easily, but now I have a new microphone system that makes it, at leas technically, possible. Both Rebeka and Peter were available at the same time, and both seemed to be doing very interesting things in Tasmania, so I thought it was worth a shot , though I wasn't so sure how it would work out.

As it turned out, it worked out really well and the conversation naturally flowed from one person to the other without it ever getting too messy or me trying to artificially manage it.

Rebeka and Peter had obviously had some experiences together, especially when it came to settling their kids down in Tasmania and the things they had had to get used to. But by the nature of their very different professions, they had their own stories separate from each other as well, and both were such eloquent and thoughtful speakers that I found it to be a really interesting and insightful conversation - so please have a listen.

But as usual with these blog posts, I like to describe a few of the things that stood out and looking at within the broader scope of my podcast project as whole. Having a brother who was a professional musician, I totally could understand the big challenges Rebeka faced in regards to pursuing her musical career here. The mental toll that this had is something that many artists could relate to in this country. What was interesting was to hear about the system of music education and appreciation in Slovenia, inherited somewhat from the former Yugoslavia and how more it is valued by the state as a community and social benefit. In my interview with Gergana, from Bulgaria, she spoke of a similar system there when she trained as a pianist. I think it is useful to hear these sorts of things so that we can understand that the systems we have here don't have to be the way there, and that in fact they may even been dysfunctional, and that there are better models out there.

Since coming to Tasmania, Rebeka has also become part of a Slovenian-inspired folk band ( great story as to how this came about which you can hear on the podcast), and here is a little excerpt of their work from YouTube :

Slovenia is yet another country where people prefer to be more direct when expressing themselves and not waste time with small talk, which is often a necessary part of social conversation here. For me, on a personal level, these interviews are reaffirming my own long-time dislike of small talk, and I feel a bit less of a weirdo in my own society :-).

Apart from the diversity of cultures/nationalities that this podcast is putting me and listeners in contact with, what I've also enjoyed is discovering the diverse range of things that people from migrant backgrounds are doing here. In my last post I wrote about a barber from Sierra Leone, and Peter is the first jeweller I've interviewed and Rebeka is certainly the first opera singer. It is also always great to hear people talk about doing things that they are passionate about, and even though I know very little about jewellery making, I found Peter's explanation of why he got into jewellery making ( "I loved making small things"), really engaging.

Tasmania also has a history of receiving migrants from Slovenia, many who came, like others I've mentioned before such as Poles, Greeks and Croats, to build the hydro-electric dams in 1950s and 60s, but the population has declined considerably in recent decades. Peter actually spoke about discovering an uncle in Sydney who he had visited many years before and developed a good relationship with, and in fact he had family members sprinkled around the world as a result of past events. This is probably typical for other too, from countries that have exprienced war, conflict or oppression and like the Croats, Slovenes went abroad to earn money to send home.

I found a little more infomation about the history of Slovenian migration to Australia for those interested -


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