Banana & Salt: New Agency For The Balkans Launched

Lina Ugrinovska.
Meri Ugrinovska
– Lina Ugrinovska.
Founder of Banana & Salt.

Lina Ugrinovska, one of the most prolific live professionals in Eastern Europe, today announced the launch of her own agency, Banana & Salt. The goal is to further the Balkan region as a touring destination and provide local artists with the skills and know-how to build a successful career in the business.

Banana & Salt offers services in international booking, consulting, specialized training and educational programs for artists and music professionals alike, “including competent assistance and experienced guidance in expanding the careers of music artists from diverse aspects,” according to the announcement.
Ugrinovska’s focus lies on directed and personalized assistance for artists, on helping them understand the various layers of the music industry ecosystem and empowering them to navigate the major issues they’re faced with.
“Artists are often lost between the rules and the art, between having a team or going DIY, between being cool or being ignorant, especially in countries without a music export office available to them, or in markets the lack an international network,” she told Pollstar.
“Banana & Salt will be offering consulting and concepts, allowing artists to face where they’re at, define their weakest and strongest points, learn how to create, read and use data, and, mostly, to learn the basics of the music industry ecosystem and be able to grow into it, without the need of a huge team of professionals around them,” she continued.
Banana & Salt.
– Banana & Salt.
The new agency offers workshops on how the business works, as well as how to deal with its faced-paced, stressful rhythm to both artists and professonals.

According to Ugrinovska, there’s a need expressed by both the artists and the audiences “for art to be treated in a better way,” to highlight the “warm and authentic” aspects of an artist’s work, and to dig deeper in all questions related to an artist’s career in this business.

Ugrinovska has held multiple roles in live events during her 12-year career in music, most recently working as international booker at Password Production in Macedonia.
“After more than ten years, it seems natural and healthy to become eager for new sunlight. This is not a particularly calculated change, but rather a flow. And I always believe in that flow, my gut, and in letting the present time transform me,” she told Pollstar.
It’s not just basic education for music artists and professionals on the music industry ecosystem that forms part of Banana & Salt’s offering.
In recent years, Ugrinovska became increasingly outspoken on topics of mental health and self-empowerment, two aspects that’ll inform a lot of Banana & Salt’s trainings, which delve into the demanding rhythm of the music industry and the people, who are part of it. Stress, burnout, motivation, working environment, work-life balance will all be addressed in framed workshops with promotional prices until September. 
Dr. Katja Ehrenberg, systemic counsellor, psychologist and author of the book “Stay Sound and Check Yourself,’ is part of the extended team of Banana & Salt. Ehrenberg will offer her unique sessions on professional communication, dealing with emotionally challenging customers or business partners, efficient task-delegation and more.
Ugrinovska plans to connect with other active professionals in music and culture, “that’s what it’s all about. At the moment we are discussing specialized and customized workshops and mentoring sessions that are going to be added in September, dedicated to separate domains of the industry. So, to anyone who feels they have something to offer, but lack a community: we are here for you! It will be fun!”
Banana & Salt’s artist roster at launch consisst of regional acts with international potential, including Funk Shui, Ida Prester and Luboyna. Others are to be announced. Ugrinovska is currently in talks with Lollobrigida, RUTH Koleva, “and a few other regional artists” regarding a booking collaboration.
After all, Banana & Salt is a booking agency at its core, acting as a negotiator between promoters and artists. As for the name of the agency, Ugrinovska told Pollstar with a grin: “Try mixing banana and salt, it’s the taste of entertainment.”
Some endorsements from industry pros for Lina Ugrinovska below:
“I found Lina to be extremely passionate in her approach to the artists and music she managed. Her network and good reputation – especially in South Eastern Europe in combination with her strategic approach has opened doors for both artists and promoters.” – Georg Leitner, Georg Leitner Productions (Austria)
“She has passion and is determined to be successful in all she does. Her knowledge and experience, both professional and personal, have given her the potential to become positively involved in a wide range of disciplines. Lina is a person you cannot help but ‘fall in love’ with. An invaluable capability.” – Carl A H Martin; Consultant / Live events; Sports ; Conferences
“I`ve had the pleasure of working with Lina for several years now. Lina is a music industry expert who always maintains the highest level of professionalism and transparency. Her moral values and ideals are intrinsic to her character, and her commitment to establishing equality and dedication to increasing awareness and advancing attitudes towards mental health within the industry are truly admirable and inspiring.” – Katarina Kostic, ACE AGENCY, Netherlands (Martin Garrix agent)