Artist Profiles: Lautari

Lautari – Photo by J. Wiedro

Lautari’s music is modern, jazzy in sound rooted in Central European tradition. Folk motives, played on piano, violin, clarinet and flutes, thanks to brave arrangements and great dose of improvisation gather vital character in which tradition encounters modernity. The group was established in October 2000 and is based in Poznan, Poland. They draw inspiration from the music and attitudes of the Gypsy Lautars, masters and virtuosi of improvisation creating “gypsy jazz”, as well as from simple forms of folk applied arts.

The original lineup incluided Maciej Filipczuk – fiddle; Jacek Halas – prepared piano, accordion; Michal Zak – clarinet, flute, shawm, sampler; and Marcin Pospieszalski – double bass.

Their first CD, Musica Lautareasca Nova, involves instrumental compositions inspired by the traditional music of the Polish lowlands, the eastern and southern regions of the Carpathian mountains, the Balkans, and the Black Sea coast. “The sources of our music are musical notations (Kurpie), archival recordings (Greece, Macedonia, the music of Ashkenazi Jews), our own musical compositions and, most important, close and direct contact with village musicians still practicing traditional performance techniques (Poland, Romania, and Ukraine).

The basis of the album is our belief that the most interesting aspects of folk music originate in “borderland” areas where many cultures interpenetrate each other (e.g. Bukovina, Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Dobruja). In such environments musical motifs cross geographical borders and, arriving from distant places, join together to become statements of understanding without losing their original identities.”

The musical structure of Musica Lautareasca Nova is dual. On the one hand it emphasizes unity, homogeneity, and harmony of sound, on the other hand leaves space for individual expression and improvisation.

The second CD, Azaran, is the result of their fascination with the Byzantine music and influences from different lands-Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria-all melted in one pot.

They reformed as a quartet in 2015 for the release of their album, Vol 67, their first project fully dedicated to Polish folk music, which was recorded live at the Lodz Philharmonic. The 2016 lineup included Maciej Filipczuk – violin; Zbigniew Lowzyl – piano; Michal Zak – flutes, clarinet, shawms; and Robert Siwak – drums.

Discography

Musica Lautareasca Nova
Azaran (Pracownia Artystyczna Samograj, 2006
Vol. 67 (Wodzirej, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel is also co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart.

Angel has also produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels such as Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, and Music of the World.

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