You can’t find a more culturally diverse record label and booking agency than MoonJune Records, so it’s wholly fitting that the first in a planned series of international festivals will take place this June (wink) in MoonJune founder Leonardo Pavkovic’s native Bosnia-Herzegovina, a crucible and crossroads of myriad cultures since ancient times. Gathering a planetary cast of MoonJune and local musicians spanning the USA, Uruguay, Indonesia, France/Vietnam, Republic of Tuva, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain/Portugal, and Israel, the inaugural event will be staged at historic public spaces in Leonardo’s hometown of Jajce, a famed beauty spot and UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate.
MEMORIES TO MAKE
The festival culminates a commemorative expedition where the “MoonJunit” – Leonardo Pavkovic himself, his earliest friend Borislav Kresojevic, musician/scribe Dennis Rea, and documentarians Vlad Oboronko and Anthony Garone – journey to portentous locales from Leonardo’s past where the seeds of the now global “MoonJunista” community germinated. The festival activities will be part of an illustrated biography of Leonardo in book form, and a documentary movie about Mr. MoonJune’s formation, present and future plans, plus audio/video documentation of the festival itself.
Born in Jajce in 1962 when Bosnia was still a part of Yugoslavia, from an early age Leonardo yearned to discover the unknown lands on the “other side of the mountain.” Gradually forging his own path with serendipity on his side, this polyglot citizen of the world relocated to NYC and went on to build an improbably successful one-man international music enterprise in defiance of standard music-biz practice – remarkably, with no concession of musical excellence and imagination. Along the way, he gathered around himself an ever-expanding constellation of adventurous musicians ranging from gifted lesser- known talents to such zeitgeist-defining figures as drum exemplar Bill Bruford, who hailed Leonardo’s abilities as an “enabler” of aspiring musicians, and guitar avatar Allan Holdsworth, who affectionately dubbed him “Nardini” and his singular approach to life “Nardinism.”
In 2019, 39 years after he’d left Bosnia for distant shores, Leonardo tramped back over the mountain to Jajce to present a concert featuring MoonJune musicians Dwiki Dharmawan (Indonesia), Kamal Musallam (Palestine), Asaf Sirkis (Israel), and Boris Savoldelli (Italy). He and the assembled musicians met with an extended ovation from townspeople and municipal officials appreciative of the global connections he’d forged with their home. That homecoming concert, organized by lifelong friend and fellow son of Jajce Borislav Kresojevic, set the table for the First International MoonJune Music Festival, again organized by Borislav, sponsored by the town, and free to all in Jajce’s spectacular waterfall park and public square.
MoonJune’s guiding principles – or as Leonardo prefers, “modus moonjundi” – are in tune with what legendary British bass player Roy Babbington (Soft Machine and much more) memorably described as “poetic entanglement.” That is, the art of being alert to, and confidently acting on, the affinities and happenstances of the moment, in a spirit of openness, curiosity, and goodwill. In this anniversary year, the MoonJunit’s mission is to spread unity, joy, and hope through music, toward the elusive goal of peace and understanding on this troubled earth.