Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Music of Slovakia

The Slovaks are a Slavic people, closely related to the Czechs. Due to long-term political ties, Hungarian music has also been influential in Slovakia. Popular music began to replace folk music beginning in the 1950s when Slovakia (then part of Czechoslovakia). American jazz, R&B and rock and roll were popular, alongside waltz, polka and czardasz, among other folk forms. By the end of the 50s, radios were common household items, though only state stations were legal. Slovak popular music began as a mix of bossa nova, cool jazz and rock, with propagandistic lyrics. Dissenters listened to ORF (Austrian Radio), Radio Luxembourg or Slobodna Europa (Radio Free Europe), which played more rock. Czechoslovakia was more passive in the face of Soviet domination, and thus radio and the whole music industry toed the line more closely than other satellite states. As Communist power declined, the popularity of reggae, hip hop and punk rock increased.

After the Velvet Revolution and the declaration of the Slovak state, domestic music greatly diversified as free enterprise allowed a great expansion in the number of bands and genres represented in the Slovak market. Soon, however, major labels brought pop music to Slovakia and drove many of the small companies out of business. The 1990s, saw German dance music, American grunge and alternative rock and Britpop gain a wide following, as well as a newfound popularity in musicals.

Folk music

Folk instruments include the fujara ( a flute), bagpipes and others, used to make dance music called cardas. Lyrics often concern a local hero named Janosik, a legendary highwayman who brought justice for the oppressed and poor.


Some of the most famous Slovak musicians: