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The Neanderthal Flute – Lecture and performance by Boštjan Gombač

By October 5, 2022No Comments

    Photo: Uroš Hočevar

The Slovenian Embassy cordially invites you to a lecture and performance by Boštjan Gombač. He will introduce you to the world’s oldest musical instrument, a flute made by Neanderthals who inhabited his home country of Slovenia. Estimated to be 50,000 – 60,000 years old, it is carved from the thighbone of a cave-dwelling bear.

28 October 2022 at 7 pm

Edinburgh Society of Musicians
Recital Room, 3 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3BL

RSVP by 26 October 2022:

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, courtesy of the Slovenian Embassy.

Boštjan Gombač will give a talk about the discovery of the flute in Slovenia’s Divje Babe cave and its evolutionary and cultural significance. He will explain its features and acoustics and play a reconstruction of the original flute, which originates from a time when there was only one human species on European soil – the Neanderthal. The discovery of the flute more than 20 years ago disproved outdated ideas that Neanderthals were primitive humans, incapable of artistic, spiritual and abstract expression. This ancient flute is probably the oldest evidence of musical creation in human history.

Music played on the bear bone flute can also be heard in the David Attenborough BBC documentary series “Prehistoric Planet”, which also features Hans Zimmer, Anže Rozman and Kara Talve.

Boštjan Gombač is a renowned multi-instrumentalist, live performer and composer of music for theatre, film and television. His work of the last 20 years comprises of about 140 albums playing classical works from all over the world, as well as original music for more than 50 theatre pieces and about 40 TV documentaries. In addition to the clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophone and other wind instruments such as tin whistles and ocarinas, alghosazi and fujara, Boštjan also plays the trumpet, fluegelhorn, musical saw and the theremin. He also produces a range of surprising and strange sounds from objects rarely seen in concert venues. As Boštjan Gombač puts it: “The sound itself is my guide and inspiration. The more unusual the sound, the greater the challenge, the more expressive the possibilities and the deeper the joy.”

As a member of the critically acclaimed Terra Folk group, Boštjan Gombač won BBC Radio 3’s World Music Award and many other accolades.

Boštjan Gombač is a current Artist in Residence in London, a programme which aims to contribute to the international mobility and visibility of Slovene artists.

The programme is supported by the Cultural Fund run jointly by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims at promoting Slovenian culture abroad.