GAL GEORGE (1978); as half-Canadian half-Slovene, living and working between Central Europe and North America, he has been a professional artist consecutively for the past 21 years (since 1999): singer, songwriter, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist (he plays well over 50 instruments), a studio owner and music producer, independent publisher, composer of scores for symphonic, big-band and chamber music, prose writer, lyricist as well as a poet. He's raising 2 sons (age 10 and 13).
Gal's professional artistic journey first started with language and literature. He studied the Sociology of Culture (Department of Sociology and Philosophy) and the Slovene language (Department for Slavic Studies) at the Faculty of Arts, FF/FoA, Ljubljana, Slovenia, European Union.
In 2000 he received a double national prize for poetry as a part of a national literary contest among 450 professional authors. In 2002 he was honoured with a nomination by the national committee for best debut book of the year at the Ljubljana's International Book Fair (book of poems The City, publ. by Mondena, 2002).
His poetry and short prose had since been translated into 7 languages, which include Italian, English, German, Czech, Slovak, Serbo-Croatian and French, for the purposes of attending international literary festivals (public readings) and various official publications and articles.
Gal's poetry can be found in all recent Slovene official poetry anthologies (in anthology 1990–2003 “Mi se vrnemo zvečer” (publ. by Beletrina, 2004; ISBN: 961-6446-58-4) and in anthology 1848–2006 “V tebi se razraščam” (publ. by Mladinska knjiga, 2008; ISBN: 978-961-01-0038-6).
In 2006 his poetry became available as a studying material at the University, Faculty of Arts, Ljubljana, for students taking masters and Ph. D. in Slovene and comparative literature. Otherwise it has been published in various international literary publications and reviews (COBIB/COBISS/OPAC).
In 2017 he became officially eligible for different sorts of grants for his literary works as a prose and poetry writer by the Council for the Arts in Ottawa, Canada.
Currently he's finshing a 300 page book of essays on music and music related topics called "Music is a form of love".
QUICK CHRONOLOGICAL OVERVIEW
"EUROPE AND CANADA"
Gal George is currently in Europe on a 2020 concert tour, which started in January 2020. Due to Covid19 restrictions some summer 2020 gigs are being posponed, some cancelled and some carried out with Covid19 limited audiences to fulfill the needed health pandemic requirements. In 2017 Gal became officially eligible (besides literature) for different sorts of grants as a professional touring and recording musician, composer and studio producer by the Council for the Arts in Ottawa, Canada.
& CONCERT TOURING
In 2001 He started combining poetry readings with improvised jazz music, as an innovative live on-stage presentation of his new book "The City". He named this project "Project City". As a key figure, he was usually accompanied by a four to six piece jazz ensemble that over time expanded to a small orchestra of 10-12 musicians.
With Project City he'd attended multiple festivals and various indoor and outdoor concert venues. In 2003, working with young painters, architects, photographers, dancers and designers, he added visual aspects to the project. These aspects included: live painting, video-arts, performance, installations, dance and live sculpturing. Gal gradually joined the musicians on-stage full time, playing various instruments (different keys, trumpet, trombone, bass), since he'd been playing jazz at clubs from 1999, as a double bass player, pianist and composer of jazz originals.
With Project City he produced, wrote and independently published three albums: The City (2001), Minutes? and The Return Of Ivan (both in 2003) which all combined spoken word and largely improvised music. He also published several radio singles and music videos that at that time reached top positions on popular music charts on National Radio & TV.
& CONCERT TOURING
After he disbanded Project City, for it had reached its full potential, he started a new group (2003), called Olivia, featuring his original popular compositions, mixing acoustic pop with jazz, chanson, rock and ethno, and his sister Severa Gjurin as a lead vocalist.
The band broke through quite fast, getting national attention and general critics praise in 2004. With Olivija he recorded two albums (and both went gold): Between a Man and a Woman (2004; Nika Records/Warner) and No Shame, No Fear (2005; Nika Records/Warner).
He contributed as a bandleader, vocalist, instrumentalist, 100% author of the music and lyrics, studio producer and mastering engineer. Olivia performed many concerts and attended various music festivals. Music from these albums is still frequently being played within Slovenian, Austrian and Italian radio broadcast, national and commercial.
"GAL AND THE GALLERISTS"
& CONCERT TOURING
After Olivija he'd assembled a new 7-9 piece group in late 2005, Gal and The Gallerists, featuring his original melange of music, arrangements and lyrics – based on jazz, blues, funk, pop, root African, experimental electronic and acoustic music, integrating modern approaches to live performances, with electronic effects, sampling, smaller string orchestras and rich brass sections, depending on the occasion and venue. For studio purposes and live GG enriched his lead voice melodies with vocoder and female backing vocals.
With The Gallerists he published two albums: Fetish (2006; Nika Records/Warner) and an extended 24-bit tape remastered version Fetish Suprême (2007; Nika Records/Warner), which he signed as lead vocalist, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist,100% author of music and lyrics, arranger, studio producer, mixing and mastering engineer. They continued performing at different concert venues and attending various music festivals. Both albums went silver.
STUDIO ALBUM & CONCERT TOURING
In the beginning of 2009 GG published his solo singer-songwriter album "The Heart" (2009; Sedvex/ 2017; HAD), first released on CD, followed by a double LP. He recorded it almost entirely by himself, remaining a 100% author of all of the songs.
It became one of the most successful albums in Slovenia to this day regarding sales (went platinum) and top hit radio singles, since it was more (acoustic) pop oriented (with elements of melodic pop-rock), acquiring media and critical approval and large audiences for live concerts. In 2011 a double LP was released.
"BODY & SOUL"
DOUBLE STUDIO ALBUM AND TOURING
After "The Heart" he published a double studio CD singer-songwriter album "Body and Soul" (2012; HAD). He'd recorded the album almost entirely by himself. It featured 22 new songs and his 100% authorship (music, lyrics, arrangements, production, mixing, mastering).
It was an album of blending different genres into a fresh coherent sound: pop music, world music, folk, jazz, rock, ethno and others. The album went gold.
Touring around and presenting these last two albums took many forms in many different venues, from clubs, outdoor festivals to the most distinguished big concert halls.
And this is pretty much the way things are for GG today. Luckily, as it turned out, Gal has been always able to cultivate a very loyal audience, regardless of what kind of projects he's involved in at the moment.
ORCHESTRAL SYMPHONIC PROJECT "CANTABILE"
& CONCERT TOUR
Being clearely aware of that, he started a large project with an 86 piece Symphonic Orchestra "Cantabile" in early 2013. He wrote approximately 5000 pages of scores (original sheets of symphonic music) for this occasion and then went on a two year tour with this orchestra. He was always joined by special guests (vocalists and instrumentalists). If needed, Gal also conducted the orchestra.
The repertoire consisted of his new original symphonic works (such as Concerto for piccolo trumpet and Symphonic Orchestra, orchestral pieces for oboe (e.g. A Movement for Oboe from his Alpica Orchestral Suite), pieces for solo violin (e.g. Alpha Centauri) etc. and innovative symphonic arrangements of his songs from previous albums that had already reached popularity through radio airplay and TV broadcast.
With this collaboration he succeeded in building a bridge between audiences of popular music and classical symphonic European music, since there is quite a gap between the two.
With the orchestra Cantabile and international guests he published one double live album “Cantabile” (2013; published by HAD). It went silver. An official live concert video and a very well accepted official documentary film about GG's project were released - reaching even more people via National TV and internet broadcasting. The project is currently in hibernation, waiting to be put on stage again in the future, especially due to always satisfied audiences and almost endless symphonic possibilities of different musical landscapes and exploration.
"GG & THE DARK ENSAMBLE"
& CONCERT TOURING
In late 2014 the project that followed had a very different twist to it – called "G.G. And The Dark Ensemble". It featured Gal's original music, drawing from the sound of the U.S. prohibition era and The Roaring Twenties, taking the concept of “prohibition of ideas and speech” as the main driving force behind the music and lyrics, sometimes expanding to satire, chanson and burlesque, as a form of critique of modern western society.
He formed a new band of 10 members, different brass instruments and reeds, supported by a strong rhythm section. They started touring in early 2015 and the project is still active. He's managed to make two studio albums with The Dark Ensemble (one of them double). They all went silver. He recorded both albums entirely by myself, playing all the brass, reeds and rhythm section parts (jazz piano, double bass, guitars, drums & percussions) and sang all the vocals.
Onstage, besides singing the lead vocals, he usually plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, piano and guitar. A documentary film on The Dark Ensemble project will be presented on TV in early 2020.
STUDIO ALBUM & CONCERT TOURING
Simultaneously he'd been working on a double “rock-grunge” album called The Earth. It is an album dedicated to the “grunge generation”, paying some musical respects to alternative music of the early 90's, expanding from the grungy Seattle music scene to the new-wavy scene of Atlantic Canada. The album had been publicly presented during Gal's live shows in 2016, and it is still waiting for it's official, "physical" release in 2020 (CD + double LP).
STUDIO ALBUM & TOURING
After coming back from Canada, visiting his grandparents in November 2016, he started working intensively on a new Canadian singer-songwriter album called “C”. Up to now he has recorded approx. 35 new songs, signing them as the author of music and lyrics.
They’ve been written in the Canadian spirit, merging all kinds of rich Canadian musical influences (folky, French, English, Irish, old European etc. with modern pop, blues, bluegrass, hip-hop and rock) in a unique amalgam of something GG calls “the maple sound”, sometimes combined with some lush orchestral elements – sang in English, with two songs in French.
Canadian album “C” is being primarily recorded for Canadian and U.S. market. It is being strongly supported by music videos and other materials.
Through 20 years of his professional career he has worked as performer, author and arranger with the Slovene National Symphonic Orchestra, different brass orchestras across the region, as well as big-bands, tamburitza and mandolin orchestras, mixed choirs and various chamber music ensembles (including strings, reeds and brass).
In 2010 he had written scores and conducted an orchestra for the main official Slovenian National Day Celebration (Republic Square, Ljubljana, 20.000 people; governmental protocol), including a 600 piece mixed choir. Similarly, in 2009 he worked with a national symphonic orchestra performing at the main celebration for national Independence and Unity Day (Cankar Centre, Ljubljana; governmental protocol) etc.
In 2016 he had written (and performed as a jazz pianist) a three movement Concerto for Jazz Trio and Orchestra of 12 Cellos, for the opening evening of International European Festival Of Cellists "Cellofest" in the main Philharmonic Hall, Ljubljana.
He has been teaching music theory and improvisation at workshops as a mentor (workshops such as How to write and record a good song or Musical theory in one hour etc. (eg. Festival Mediawave Hungary (2006); Festival Lent, Slovenia (2006, 2007) etc.)). In the school year of 2015/2016 he taught music and mentored the mixed choir in elementary school (age 11 to 14). He worked with similar youth choirs and youth orchestras on different occasions, for live and recording purposes.
He composed and performed original music for contemporary expressive dance performances, attending the international swing dance scene (eg. international Ljubljana Sweet Swing Festival - LSSF etc.), performing explicitly for swing dancers. He composed (and performed) for classical theatre plays and modern improvised theatre, various spoken poetry projects, composed and performed original music for short and full-length movies (contemporary and "old-school", such as Sergei M. Eisenstein's silent movie classic “Battleship Potemkin” from 1925, for live playing while screening) etc.
GG performs for charity and aid concerts, attending 10 to 30 charity events per year as a performer, concert headliner or organizing them as an event organizer - reaching fifth place on the Slovenian national charity list of pro bono performing artists for period 2011–2016.
In May 2016 he started publishing short educational and critical essays on music, literature, arts in general, language, history, sociology, education, politics, economics and religion on an online platform. Mainly, the essays dealt with relations between music and other fields of science and arts, philosophy and sociology of music, creative processes, Renaissance, Protestantism, Catholicism, Isaac Newton's light experiments with optics, general musical theory, music education etc.
In April 2019 GG was honored with a silver prize at the international SOF festival in Portorose, a small city at the Slovenian Mediteranian riviera, for best original music in TV adverts of the year.
As a double studio owner and studio producer he's been helping out young bands and authors to record their original material and promote their music. Some of them repeatedly join him on stage as an important part of their promotion to broader audiences.
STUDIO WORK AND EQUIPMENT
In 2005 he began building his own European studio in Ljubljana, “Studio HAD”, which became fully operable in mid 2006. With upgrading equipment every year he has managed to achieve a steady workflow dynamics that has been maintained for almost 15 years now, completing several music albums per year, for himself and various other artists, TV commercials and electronic books.
Gal's occupation in the studio environment includes singing, playing instruments, recording, mixing, editing and mastering. He has a small collection of vintage keyboards (Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, different Hammond organs) for studio and on-stage use, a fine collection of world-music instruments from different parts of the world (Indian Hindustani sitar and sarod, African balaphones and calimbas, and an enviable guitar collection. He likes to use guitar-like instruments such as different banjos, Canadian dulcimers and Weissenborns, various tenor guitars, Balkan bisernitza, bugaria & bratsch, Colombian tiple, Cuban tres, Spanish loud etc. He uses a lot of classical vintage analog outboard EQ, preamps and compressors (NEVE, UAD, Amek, SSL etc.).
He's also established a visual department of Studio HAD and Studio OSH for making music videos and other video materials related to the music business in general, such as web and TV trailers, web clips, live concerts and music documentaries for web and TV broadcasting.
He's directed or co-directed (and later edited) several live concert videos, music videos and documentary films. GG is also skilled in colour grading.
"DISCOGRAPHY HOUSE HAD"
In 2010 he started his own independent publishing label Discography House HAD. His HAD team established permanent professional relationships with external associates covering photography, video-production, vintage instrument repairs and maintenance, printing, PR, distribution, design for CD, USB, LP, books and booklets, merchandise, packaging and other promotional and artistic purposes. Discography House HAD is an entirely independent music label – pursuing the continuity of relevant artistic products, always preferring quality over quantity.
GG has been his own publisher since 1999. He owns all the rights (property and moral) to all his music and lyrics, audio-visual works and literary works.
In 2018 he's established an independant Canadian publishing department and studio: OSH publishing and Studio OSH, situated in Oshawa, Toronto GTA, Ontario, Canada.
He has played, performed or worked in various ways and on various occasions with internationally acclaimed artists (or artistic groups) who shaped his artistic life and views such as: Sigurður Guðmundsson (Iceland/Norway, singer-songwriter), Frode Barth (Norway, Chet Baker Quartet, guitars), Reggie Workman (United States, John Coltrane Quartet, doublebass), Allan Taylor (United Kingdom, singer-songwriter), Mary Coughlan (Ireland, singer-songwriter), Rade Šerbedžija (Croatia/United States, vocals), Oana Avasilichioaei (Canada, spoken word/poetry), Juli Aymi (Spain, clarinet), Carlos Valderama (Chille, percussions), Josipa Lisac (Croatia, vocals), Stéphane Séva (France, percussions), Pablo Vitali (Argentina, guitars), Pedro Lousada (Portugal, vocals/guitar), Kemal Monteno (Bosnia & Herzegovina, singer-songwriter), Damir Imamović (Bosnia & Herzegovina, singer-songwriter), Sekou Kouyate (Guinea, kora/vocals/bass), Billy Collins (United States, guitar), Adam Bicskey (Hungary, dulcimer/cimbalon), Ariel Cubria (Cuba, vocals/guitar), Neno Belan (Croatia, singer-songwriter), Marina Martensson (Sweden, singer-songwriter), Doc Scanlon (United States, vocals/doublebass), David Rossi (Portugal, DJ/producer), Gabriella Gabrielli (Italia, singer), Massimo Savić (Croatia, singer), Boris Pahor (Italy, prose writer), Marko Kravos (Italy, poet, prose writer), István Grencsó (Hungary, reeds/saxophones), African “Isingizi” vocal group (Zimbabwe, vocals), Ian Sheppard (United Kingdom, sound & mastering engineer) and many others.
He has had concerts including his original music, compositions and lyrics in:
– Slovenia, EU,
– France, EU,
– Austria, EU,
– Italy, EU,
– Slovakia, EU,
– Croatia, EU
– Hungary, EU
– Germany, EU etc.
IN DIGITAL NUMBERS
Digital downloads via his official internet sites: cca. 150,000 downloads of separate songs. Videos with his original music and lyrics on Youtube have over 10 million views (other internet music providers and platforms are not taken into account). Gal became an official Youtube partner in 2020 as well.
CULTURAL POLITICS AND EFFORTS
In 2012 he began a 4-year mandate as the president of Slovenian Association of Musicians (SUGU) and a delegate/member of ECSA, European composer and songwriter alliance, an international European umbrella organization for musicians, located in Brussels (Belgium, EU). European ECSA is also a close partner of The Songwriters Association of CANADA (SCA), for transatlantic issues.
Prior to SUGU's presidency he served as a member of the board of Musical forum of Slovenia (GFS), a similar oriented musicians organization. In the meantime he also held the position of the head of the supervisory board of Musicians Union of Slovenia (SGS).
As it's known, working in the field of cultural politics usually takes a lot of time and energy (unfortunately sometimes with poor results, despite all the effort and time invested). Some of GG's personal selected achievements in cultural connecting and cultural politics are:
- In 2010 he'd organized and led an attention-grabbing “1st Slovene Musical Congress”, attended by more than 600 musicians, to suppress a harmful bill/draft of the Media act (ZMED RS; by the Ministry of Culture, Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU).
- In 2011 he launched an action “The Last Train for Culture”, 300 artists of all generations and professions attended the rally, eager to warn about the obvious deteriorating conditions in arts and culture in general, poor working and social conditions for artists and inappropriate legislature regarding media and European and Slovenian copyright laws.
- In 2012 he put Slovenia on the world map of composers and songwriters, signing a treaty of accession as the president of Slovenian Association of Musicians with European composer and songwriter alliance (ECSA) in Reykjavik, Iceland. He also negotiated and collaborated with members of European Comission and members of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
- In 2013 he filed 13 systemic petitions into the Parliament of Slovenia, supported by over 2000 manual signatures of musicians from all walks of life. The petitions put forward how the legislation (regarding author’s rights, neighbouring rights, music quotas etc.) should be formed in order to achieve maximum effect on generating cultural benefits, including the development of more functional musical business models in the region, complying with basic European cultural and multilingual axioms.
- In 2014 he publicly presented important documentation to the governmental National Council for Culture of Slovenia (NSK RS) regarding the internal musical market in the broader region, unfair remuneration of musicians working in different fields, problems with blank tape levy collecting, the significant decrease of quality music on radio and TV broadcasts etc.
- In 2015 he was chosen as a member of the official delegation informing the President of Slovenia and president's Cabinet of the important issues on European musical and cultural markets and its impact on the Central European region, which Slovenia is a part of (e. g. Internal market strategies in the EU, European Commission; Brussels, Belgium).
- In 2015 and 2016 he also participated in official long-term negotiations for Slovene musical quota legislation.
- In 2016 he's formed a broad AVNEKO coalition of cultural associations and artist unions to campaign against the harmful Author’s rights Act (ZKUASP RS), which inappropriately implemented objectives of European Commission copyrights Directive No. 26-2014-EU.
As an avid defender of cultural development and a proud Canadian he has always publicly supported musical quotas (like Canadian English/French quota for broadcasted music percentage) – explaining and at the same time promoting the Canadian concept of the musical quota system in the region (CanCon, CTRC and the Broadcasting Act of Canada), stressing it's benefits for maintaining basic musical, lingual and cultural diversity, which is extremely important in both the European and Canadian environment.
As an artist and as the president of the Association of Musicians he has always openly, in words and deeds, supported independent music organizations and independant music labels, an international exchange of cultural views and young musical talents: authors of music and lyrics, performers, translators, groups, ensembles, orchestras and other known forms of artistic expression.