Mario Batkovic

The mesmerising melodies of internationally acclaimed accordionist, Mario Batkovic, return to South Africa after 13 years with performances in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Swaziland from 18 May to 25 May 2018. Bosnian-born and based in Switzerland, Batkovic is renowned for his innovative reimagining of traditional accordion sounds.

With his recent album rated by Rolling Stone as one of the 20 Best Avant Albums of 2017, Batkovic’s return to South Africa will provide for an opportunity to hear the virtuosic musician’s work, as well provide for exciting partnerships with South African artists.

Batkovic leans on no particular style of music, instead connects different musical worlds distilling them into one unique concentrated sound. His playing has been described as challenging and experimental, yet maintaining a masterfully beautiful quality. He scratches every nuance out of the instrument, integrating scratches and clicks into the arrangements and making a feature of the kind of tonal scars and birthmarks which are usually eradicated from recordings and live performances.

With his mission to advance the sonic possibilities available to the instrument and the communication of these sounds, Batkovic embarks on a journey to collaborate with South African musicians to create new work.

Mario performs at various venues in Cape Town in collaboration with Steve Newman, Ben Badenhorst, Ronan Skillen, Hilton Schilder, Vuyo Katcha, Peter Ndlala and Carlo Fabe.  The Johannesburg performance will be in the John Kani Theatre at the Market Theatre, before heading to the MTN Bushfire Festival in Swaziland.

Mario Batkovic’s Southern Africa tour is supported by The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Johannesburg.



18 May:  Alma Café, Cape Town, 19H00
R170 per ticket

19 May: Slow Life Jazz at the Olympia Bakery, Cape Town, 19:00
R150 per ticket

20 May: Jazz in the Native Yards, Kwa Sec NY 138 No52 Gugulethu, 15H00
R70 per ticket

24 May: The Market Theatre, Johannesburg, 20H00
R90 and R70 (pensioners, students) per ticket

25 May: MTN Bushfire Festival, Swaziland, 18H30 and 23H00
R230 per ticket

“A stunning marvel of saw-sawing melodies and warm wheezes.” – ROLLING STONE

“Bosnian-Swiss lighting-director drags humble accordion screaming into futurity.” – MOJO

“The sound he achieves is immense. It pays no heed to limitations. Instead it extends the range of possibilities towards wild new frontiers. As journeys into sound go, this one is interstellar.” – THE IRISH TIMES


About Mario Batkovic

Batkovic is a Swiss solo accordion player who was born in Bosnia. A fully established artist in Switzerland, he has worked with various musicians as a producer, as well as being involved in many bands and projects. Batkovic was awarded the Artist Recognition Award from the Capital in Canton Bern, where he has his own studio and runs his own record label. He is also highly regarded as a film score composer, with many of the projects he has worked on being nominated for and winning various awards.

Batkovic studied under Prof. Elspeth Moser at the renowned HochschulefürMusik and Theatre in Hannover, Germany, and went on to graduate as a Master of Arts in Chamber Music Improvisation in the MusikAkademie of Basel, Switzerland. He was always in opposition. At the music school he missed the anarchic side of playing in bands, and when playing in bands he missed the classical perfectionism of the HochschulefürMusik.

About Pro Helvetia Johannesburg

Pro Helvetia Johannesburg is one of five Liaison Offices of the Swiss Arts Council located in major regions of the world – the other four Offices are in Cairo, Moscow, New Delhi and Shanghai. Pro Helvetia also runs a cultural centre in Paris and works in cooperation with partner institutions in Rome, San Francisco and New York.

The Johannesburg Liaison Office promotes artistic and cultural exchange between Switzerland and the Southern African region. To raise awareness of Swiss contemporary arts in the region, we forge ties with local organisations and event organisers, develop and nurture long-term partnerships, initiate co-productions with artists from the region and organise residencies.

Alongside our primary focus on exchange and collaboration between Switzerland and Southern Africa, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg has since 1998 been investing in Southern African transnational collaborations, exchanges and joint projects between organisations and creative practitioners spread across the region. This “intra-regional” programming is financed through a series of cooperation agreements with the regional office of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) located in Harare, Zimbabwe.

To make block bookings, please contact Anthony Ezeoke
011 832 1641 ext 203 or Yusrah Bardien 011 832 1641 ext 204

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