Leo Ponikvar

Leo Ponikvar, born in 1917, has been the guitarist of arguably the most famous folk music ensemble of all time - and with that, next to Atilla Zoller himself, the most prominent endorser of the legendary AZ-10 guitar. It was accordionist Slavko Avsenik who in the early fifties made the Slovenian Oberkrain sound of the new folk music popular - a type of music that later made him the Polka king of that scene.

After starting out in a duo with his brother Vilko on clarinet, Leo made the ensemble bigger pretty soon: In 1953 Slavko joins the duo for a performance for Radio Ljubljana and was hired as a studio musician. Leo then forms the “Trio Avsenik” with Leo Ponikvar on guitar and Joze Kelbl on bass that later with additional musicians turns into the Gorenjski quartet, then the Gorenjski quintet and later the Kvintet Bratov Avsenik. The moderator of the German radio Bayerischer Rundfunk became fascinated when heard the ensemble and introduced it in Germany under a new name: Original Oberkrainer Quintett.

After fifty years of playing together guitarist Leo Ponikvar and double bassist and baritone player Mik Soss said goodbye and left the band in 1989. Leo Ponikvar died unexpectedly in 1993 at the age of 76. His constant commitment to music made him a cult figure of the folk music scene and his Framus AZ-10 is very much appreciated by the young musicians of this genre. The guitar player of “Die jungen Original Oberkrainer” Toné Zelnik (* 1978) also plays a Framus AZ-10.