Basic information
Original title:
Pesemski odsevi medkulturnega sobivanja
Researchers involved:
, , , , , ,
1 July 2018–30 June 2021

Bilingual songs, also referred to as macaronic, or songs that were transferred from one language to another, were a markedly disturbing element in the conceptualization of the canon of national culture. In the framework of the efforts of cultural nationalism, folkloristics was focused on the tradition, which was most easily presented as a national. Some bilingual songs and songs, labelled as foreign, were nevertheless preserved in the records, but they were not included in research, some were even lost from the archives.


The project “Song Reflections on Intercultural Coexistence” explores songs and music as a space for linguistic and identity encounter and raises the question of the ways in which language choices reveal, in the historical perspective and contemporary musical phenomena, the social, cultural or transcultural identifications of performers/musicians.


It will treat multilingualism as a cultural diversity, which, with the help of individual songs, reveals the connection of two or more identities or their exclusion, while it will also consider the view of this bilingualism over time that will reveal intercultural contacts and the processes of national identification with the help of songs tradition. With this, it will explore an important part of the song creativity and overlooked song tradition, and it will draw attention to the intercultural and interethnic significance of the tradition by addressing the context. For the Slovene folkloristics, the project has additional significance in the fact that while redefining the role of folklore, it will reveal the tradition, which is represented by the intersection between Slovene song creativity and the song creativity of neighbouring nations.


Compared to the presentations of bilingualism in song creativity already carried out, complex research will be a novelty in several respects: the interweaving in song creativity will be recognized as a starting point for the interpretation of intercultural contacts and interethnic relations, as well as one of the most prominent conceptualizations of space and as a special expression of belonging to several identities. Presentation of these findings to the public will problematize a negative connotation that accompanied bilingual creativity or the passage of the song between linguistic communities, and at the same time, it will open the space for social dialogue by revalidating these interlacing in the past and by researching modernity. The confrontation between the research of composite national identities and folklore is thus a challenge not only in Slovenian humanities but also in international research.


The project will also provide important ethnomusicological findings: the contextual framework of the observed music practices will reveal the ways in which music and language interact with each other, and what is the meaning of music to express identity levels in multilingual spaces. The results of the ethnomusicological analysis will contribute to understanding the importance of music as a communication channel for the use of multiple languages within one social space.

Project steps

Phase 1: Initial phase (1. 7. 2018–31. 8. 2019):

  • drawing of a detailed theoretical and methodological plan; preliminary research;
  • in-depth study of literature; systematic research of theoretical works; setting of fieldwork and data analysis methods (interviews, archive work, music structure analysis, transcribing); examination of the materials archived in the Institute of Ethnomusicology (Ljubljana, Slovenia), examination of materials in print sources; selection of case studies;
  • launching of the project website and social networks;
  • kick-off meeting with public presentation of the project issues and establishing the cooperation with relevant institutions;
  • publishing the partial result – the chapter about bilingual songs in the scientific monograph “Poslušajte štimo mojo”;
  • first workshop and internal presentation of partial results.


Phase 2: Research phase, introduction of partial findings (1. 9. 2019–31. 8. 2020)

Research :

  • fieldwork;
  • collecting and analysing of materials;
  • development of critical approaches on studies of the textual, musical, historical and identity studies levels;

Introduction of partial findings:

  • individual and panel presentations on national and international conferences and  workshops (Komission für Volksdichtung, study groups at ICTM, SIEF);
  • organization of the concert “Zajuckaj in zapoj” (“Shout and Sing”) with the presentation of bilingual songs;
  • selection of bilingual songs for online publication;
  • second project workshop “Izzivi dvojezičnosti v pesmi in glasbi” (Challenges of bilingual songs and music);
  • preparation of scientific articles for the thematic block in the scientific journal “Traditiones”.


Phase 3: Synthesis and integration and dissemination of knowledge (1. 9. 2020–30. 6. 2021):

  • organisation of the international conference about bilingual cultural practices;
  • dissemination on various levels: submission of the manuscript for the monograph with final scientific findings of the project research (ZRC Publishing House);
  • final project workshop and the presentation of results.

Lead partner

Project manager

Project manager at ZRC

Funded by

Slovenian Research Agency

Fields of research

Folklore H400