Alice in WonderBand

Alice in WonderBand was founded in 1998 in the hills of Fruska Gora (nearby to the city of Novi Sad, provincial capital of Vojvodina) and since then the band has been performing and educating audiences in Serbia and neighboring regions. We are the only artists from Balkans who have been developing very specific type of performing arts: unity of music, theater, dance, movement and acrobatics with special art of body music and body percussion. We have been learning from international body percussion artists and developing this technique which uses body as a rhythmical instrument.

Alice in WonderBand is a lifelong project of musicians and theater performers Ana Vrbaski and Marko Dinjaski. We are partners on stage as well as in private life for 23 years, which gives our relationship very unique dimension. We are parents of Alisa (19) and Vid (22) and now have a chance to devote ourselves to our artistic (theater for children, youth and adults and music) and pedagogic work (workshops of body music), since our children have grown to be adults and live on their own in the city of Novi Sad.

The group has been around for some time, each step of our journey being valuable because we had the opportunity to be an art lab, absorb different influences and create freely, open to different suggestions. This is why our artistic expression is so rich and diverse, and we have the opportunity to perform at completely different events (such as the Nišville Theater Festival, Festival, Barski ljetopis, Milano Clown Festival, Bitef Polyphony) and reach out to audiences of all ages, education and professions. We performed in Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and many stages in Serbia.

Reduced – sublimated, that’s exactly what art is. Creating an entire orchestra with only two people’s bodies is a challenge. This attracts us, because it is very basic and direct, and therefore communicates with the audience.

The Rika Taka, new Balkan rhythm project gave us the opportunity to become more familiar with the heritage of Balkans. The more we learned about it, the more we realized that the connections between the Balkan countries were numerous, which opened up doors to a sense of cosmopolitanism. We hope that each of our performances succeeds in conveying the same idea to the audience, as our similarities should connect us.

With the concert, which we started performing two years ago, we have toured so far Germany, Serbia and Montenegro. German audiences love Balkan music and in Montenegro we felt at home. We also performed parts of the concert in Turkey, in Gaziantep, at the Social Circus Festival, in front of a large number of children, primarily of Syrian descent. It is interesting that the audience reacts similarly, from the youngest to the oldest: they enjoy the rhythm and melodies, clap with us and participate in the performances. Balkan music is a treasure – we’ve just arranged it our way and enjoy every performance.

We haven’t found a label, agent or manager yet, since we are focused still on the recording and production of the audio and video material. We are looking for all three!

Our influences in music are numerous, from jazz (Miles Davis, especially in seventies of 20th century, when he was performing with Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, or Jelena Jovovic, modern Serbian jazz singer) to African pop (Fela Kuti), from krautrock (Can, Kraftwerk) to Balkan music (Anastasia, Vlatko Stefanovski, DakhaBrakha, Gipsy Groove from Kosovo, Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, Angelite), Indian music (Ravi Shankar) to rock (Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Doors) or pop (Bjork, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder), progressive rock (King Crimson, Gong, Van Der Graaf Generator) and Latin music (Barbatuques). We have listened to so many different styles of music from all over the world, that it is very hard to tell which musicians have inspired us. And we like exploring and hearing music that is new to us (San Salvador, Marina Satti, Aurora), so the loop never stops.

Life in nature and life in the city overlap, and it is certainly necessary to participate in city life, as a contemporary artist. With our way of life, we have more opportunities to hear the silence, which is valuable today, as well as to face challenges that the people living in cities do not know. This is precisely what empowers us to be successful independent artists, which is difficult, almost impossible in Serbia today. The beauty of nature and freedom also makes our art special.

Alice in WonderBand are:

Marko Dinjaski (body percussion, singing, didgeridoo; drum and percussion samples; musical arrangement)

Ana Vrbaski (body percussion, singing; keyboard and bass samples; musical arrangement)

Visnja Obradovic (singing; musical arrangement)

Goran Vujicin (sound design, music production)

Alisa Dinjaski (back vocals)

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