True Life Trio & Gari Hegedus Like Never & Like Always (Waxsimile Records, 2016)
A cappella ensemble True Life Trio and multi-instrumentalist Gari Hegedus collaborate on Like Never & Like Always, inspired by the music and poetic traditions of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
The True Life Trio specializes in the beautiful vocal harmonies of Eastern Europe, which they showcase on Like Never & Like Always, along with interplay between the singers and mesmerizing ethereal vocal work. Gari Hegedus plays a wide-range of string instruments from various traditions. He also uses a new musical instrument called the tarhu, which is described as a type of spike fiddle. Hegedus often uses his instruments on this album to create a drone effect that gives the listener a trance-like sensation.
The music selection includes adaptations of traditional songs from Albania, Poland, Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania, and new compositions by Juliana Graffagna. Some of the lyrics are based by poets from Eastern Europe. The only exception is a poem by Chilean author Pablo Neruda.
The True Life Trio is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Members include gifted vocalists Leslie Bonnett, Briget Boyle and Juliana Graffagna. On the album they are joined by Gari Hegedus on tarhu, mandocello, Pontic lyra and ud. Faisal Zedan provides additional support on frame drum, dumbek and riqq.
Like Never & Like Always features the finely-crafted evocative vocal work of True Life Trio, who open a portal to the rich traditions of Eastern Europe.