Primary Instrument: Guitar
Born in Prilep in 1957, he started playing guitar at the age of 13. Stefanovski was one of the founding members of Leb i sol with whom he recorded 13 albums between 1978 and 1991. He currently splits his time playing with his VS Trio, in an acoustic partnership with Miroslav Tadić or composing for film and theatre. He is the brother of dramatist Goran Stefanovski. Stefanovski has played a wide variety of guitars, including a Gibson SG, a Fender Stratocaster - heavily modified with Schecter and Radulović parts, a Telecaster, a Radulović super-strat and a Pensa-Suhr super-strat. The influence of ethnic and folk music of Southeastern Europe and more specifically of the music of the Republic of Macedonia are recognizable in his occasional use of odd meters (5/4, 7/8) and non-traditional scales (e.g. the Phrygian dominant scale). He played the guitar solo in the song Za Milion Godina by YU Rock misija, the former Yugoslav contribution to Bob Geldof's Band Aid. Career Beginnings and the Invention of Ethno-Rock (1976-1979) Stefanovski began to achieve fame in the Yugoslavian rock scene during his time with Leb i Sol, his third band. The band's first 1977 single Devetka/Nie Cetvoricata already showcased his guitar prowess, while Vlatko was still only 19 years old. They played their first major concert as an opening act for Bijelo Dugme, commonly regarded as Yugoslavia's most popular band. While the band was then virtually unknown, legend has it that the audience and Bijelo Dugme were both blown away by their performance of 'Kokoška' (Eng: 'Hen'). In his early years, Stefanovski was credited for inventing a style of music known as 'ethno-rock'. This style is characterized by a fusion of classic rock and roll with folk elements, in his case from his native Macedonia. This style dominates the first two albums, Leb i Sol 1 and Leb i Sol 2. Their third album, Ručni Rad (Eng: 'Hand-made') was a departure from this style into more of a jazz-rock fusion. New Wave Phase (1980-1986) After the departure of keyboardist Kokan Dimuševski from Leb i Sol, the band began to develop a new wave style more in line with Azra, Haustor, and other popular bands in Yugoslavia at the time. They maintained some elements of their earlier ethno style, as evidenced for example in their rendition of Macedonian folk son 'Ajde Sonce Zajde' on the album Beskonačno (Eng: 'Infinite'). Pop Rock Phase (1987-1991) In the late 80s Stefanovski began to take more artistic control over Leb i Sol, writing nearly all of their songs. These later albums used vocals on all songs, as opposed to their earlier albums, in which nearly every song was instrumental. End of Leb i Sol & Solo Beginnings (1991-1995) During this period, Stefanovski began working more on side projects, including composing scores for movies and plays, and collaborating with other musicians. During this time he toured with Leb i Sol, but the band did not release any new albums. The only new material they released was their rendition of Macedonian folk classic 'Uči me majko, karaj me' (Eng: teach me mother, scold me). During this time, Stefanovski also released his first solo album, Cowboys & Indians. It received moderate critical acclaim. Some songs off the album still make regular appearances in his set lists today, including the title track and the ballad 'Kandilce'. Folk Revival, VS Trio, and more Solo Works(1996-)& Equipment
During a live performance in Kumanovo Since leaving Leb i Sol, Stefanovski has used his new found freedom to pursue a myriad of other musical projects. Since 1998, he has toured and played Macedonian folk songs exclusively with fellow guitarist Miroslav Tadić. Unlike his previous works, these have been played mostly on acoustic guitar. Stefanovski went back to his early ethno-rock roots from Leb i Sol with his VS Trio. Their debut album in 1998 received great critical acclaim and helped define the new Vlatko Stefanovski sound. Stefanovski recorded several solo albums under his own name during this time period. The sound on these albums ranged from pop on 'Kula od Karti' (Eng: 'Tower of Cards') to pure blues on 'Thunder From the Blue Sky'. In 2006, he did a reunion tour with Leb i Sol, touring the former Yugoslavian countries. After the tour, the band resumed without Stefanovski. In 2012 Tommy Emmanuel, Stochelo Rosenberg and himself have formed a band called Kings of Strings, and have embarked on tour in mid-March.
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