Following a spur-of-the-moment concert in Japan in 2013, and following up on five years of intense busking on my own, I’m working on some Solo stuff. Quite a few performances in and I’m still in the early stages, but the project is starting to take shape. I’m calling it “Exploring Improvisation” because where would we be without pretentious, unimaginative titles. You can get a flavor here (recorded in march ’15 in NY), however things are (very much) still evolving. The music is a mix of pure impro and some more fixed stuff, which varies wildly depending on public and venue (which is the point). More recordings (thanks to the invaluable help of Adam Pietrykowski) to follow, eventually culminating in a CD.
My long-time friend and musical husband, the talented guitarist and singer Aleksander Kusmić and I play in this free-form improvising duo that has been going for four years now. We do a lot of busking and regularly play bar gigs together, as well as going on street tours (the word vacation comes to mind, but is dismissed quickly). We released our first CD, The Bridge, in 2012, and another one is in the early stages. More at mad-kats.org. The duo as such survives mostly on the street, we’ve moved our energies on to:
Wild Strings Trio
The natural evolution of Mad Kats to a new level, this band, officialy born in 2014, brings Aleksander Kusmić and me together with the engaging and energetic jazz- and ethno-violinist Petra Onderufová in a high-powered acoustic trio where we strive to make a new sound blending our respective backgrounds. Rethinking traditional Balkan tunes and writing new through-composed pieces, sprinkled throughout with improvised solos, has made us a strong new addition to the Slovenian music scene.
Our first studio album, Lost Weekend recorded in november 2015, has been released!
Find it and lots of other good stuff at wildstringstrio.org.
When Istrian singer Nika Solce contacted me in early 2014 with a “let’s make a band” line, little did I know how much I would get excited about the result. Playing with guitarist Tilen Stepišnik opened up new harmonic and textural worlds, and both him and percussionist Žiga Šercer pushed me to explore many new rhythmic possibilities. The sound of the band, centering on reworked Balkan and Istrian traditional songs but including quite a few original pieces, sung in Nika’s beautiful and delicate voice, is both subtle and strong.
More at bandfaronika.wordpress.com
An extension of Faronika brought us together with the living encyclopedia of folk tunes, accordionist Matija Solce, a master of the on-the-fly arrangement and fabulous musician, as well as wonderfully gifted Indian artists Sabiha Khan (vocals) and Vinayak Netke (tabla), to form an independant band. A month of hard work in April of 2014 culminated in a series of acclaimed concerts and a set of recordings that has been released as our first album. The band is blooming: after two recent tours in Slovenia, and one in India, more concerts are on the drawing board.
Visit the band at zamee.info
Kate in the Kettle quintet
I started working with the talented, generous and touching fiddler/singer Kate Young at the Floating Castle festival in 2015. Her music and arrangments for string quintet are a delight and a thorough pleasure to perform, bringing a balance between our shared experience of classical chamber music and folk fiddling. Rearranged Bulgarian songs and Scottish tunes appear amid her original songs, all of which carry the beauty that has made her a musical force to be reckoned with. A few concerts and festivals in Slovenia and Sweden in 2016, and back in Floating Castle in 2017, are the promise of more to come!
A tidbit here
After a few weeks of intense fun at Ethno Histeria 2015, I started getting in touch with my long-lost amurrican roots by working on some of Daniel Wall‘s tunes. After many iterations with various bandmembers, I was finally invited to tour as a guest with the full band of Old Salt, joining the great cast (Lotte Remmen, Johannes Wannyn, Anton Teljebäck, Lara Rosseel, Dave Barfoot) for a series of concerts in Belgium. Catchy old-timey tunes and well-crafted originals, all in the americana tradition, arranged with love, care and attention bring a fresh approach to the genre. I’ve been having a ball!
Check them out here !
Other stuff, on its way, biding its time
As a project with no expectations, but lots, and lots, and lots of enthusiasm, I’ve been working with superlative Swedish musicians, violinist Sofia Högstadius and percussionist Stefan Hedborg at some extreme rhythm work, full of Bulgarian tunes, and crazy improvisation. We call ourselves, in a bout of modesty, FURY.
What with working with Old Salt, I’ve started having scales sessions with the multi-talented and powerful violinist Lotte Remmen. Things are getting a bit out of hand and so we graduate easily to classical show-pieces, americana, Balkan folk, Gypsy swing… and then just give in and improvise for some hours. Undoubtedly more to follow!