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Zither, folk music mistery

Today we are presenting Tanja Loncar, an amazing Slovenian musician mixing folk and pop music and enterteining the audience with one of the most versitile (but underrated) instrument which is accompanying her great vocal skills.

Firstly, you probably wonder what Zither (Citre) is. The instrument is classified as string instrument and its name comes from latin word Cithara (which is also where the word guitar comes from). Zithers are played by strumming or plucking the strings, either with the fingers (sometimes using an accessory called a plectrum or pick). Similar to a guitar or lute, a zither's body serves as a resonating chamber (sound box), but a zither lacks a distinctly separate neck assembly. The number of strings varies, from one to more than fifty.

Confused? Well, here is the picture ------->

We asked Tanja a few questions about her career path, how did it all started and plans for the future.

One of the most common question you get on a regular basis is probably, why? Why Zither?

When I was around 7, I heard Zither for the first time on the TV show. Zither are considered as one of the slovenian folk instruments but a lot of times people forget that they are also considered as a classical concert instrument, especially popular in Germany.

It was a love on first sight and I told my parents, this is it for me and very quickly we arranged music lessons at the music school in my hometown. I could not say what especially was the thing that got me hooked, but probably the sound and versitility and well, Zither are a very special instrument.

Your repertoire varies a lot from folk to pop and rock. How does it all work and what are the biggest challenges?

Soon after starting my music lessons I started competinig at different national and international Zither competitions. One of my favourite moments was definitely winning in München in 2008 and 2010, where I recieved a title of european champion. I have great memories on the years when I was competing while I always felt I am competing for the sake of music not for the sake of competition itself.

I did started singing very young, but my voice developed through regular singing in the choir and later, in my early teenage years I started to have regular singing lessons as well.

After finishing high school I have been thinking of studying Zither Performance in Germany but while I am very interested in other studies, such as science and biology, I decided that music will always be by my side but not the only thing I do and I will see where that takes me in the future.

Very soon after this decision, I came up with the idea of combining the two aspects of my music making and started recording covers of popular music. I very much enjoy the process of discovering what the possibilities are when it comes to combining Zither with popular music, while I want my audience to see Zither in a different light and recignise how beautiful instrument this is and how well it fits with the vocal music.

How do people usually react on your performances?

I think people recognise more and more how versitile instrument Zither is. They are not meant to be purely used just as a folk instrument and I am really trying to expand their use, so even the regular audience can always expect some surprises. I arrange all the covers by myself and I do try to listen to the wishes of the audience. Nice ballades are always well accepteed and the biggest joy that you get as a performer is a warm response from your listeners.

Up to this point the reviews were always very positive, sometimes people are genuinely surprised but in a good way. There was also a very good response when I attended Slovenia's got talent show where I presented the Zither as a pop option with the cover of Taylor Swift's 'I knew you were trouble' and the audience was firstly very surprised but was also giving a very positive feedback.

Everytime when I see, that my audience is enjoying themselves, I get even more determined that I am doing the right thing, shaping my own musical path.

What would your advice be for any other aspiring artist and what are your plans for the future?

I would say that the most important thing in life, not just music, is that whatever you do, you do it because you love it and because you love it, you are prepared to invest more, more time, more effort and people can see that.

A lot of people is asking me if I will record an original song and that is definitely one of my future plans. I think when the time will come I will know but until then I will keep to explore the Zither as an instrument and its combination with voice for different covers.

I think we all have our own music style in us and the time tells what that is. You can't rush the process so keep working on yourself and discover your possibilities and with time, you will find the path which is exactly right for you.

You can follow Tanja on her YouTube Channel - Tanja Loncar or

Facebook Page

Her brand new video of the cover you all know very well will be out this evening and Squidy will be one of the first to share it with you so stayed tuned!

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