Jazz and folk are frequently bedfellows, but the folk singer Veronika Pavilionė and the saxophonist Petras Vyšniauskas have rediscovered the combination with a new energy.
The duo emerged spontaneously a decade ago, aboard a ship bound for Norway, and still keep performing with great success. The two talented and spontaneous individuals have crossed the boundaries of traditional aesthetic norms to reinterpret old truths.
If there is any benchmark for performing Lithuanian folk songs, it is Povilionienė’s singing. Her numerous recordings, and her tours of Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia, are witnesses to her strong creative potential and her desire to experience different musical genres. Her voice is featured in Variations of Dzūkija by Bronius Kutavičius and in his opera Lokys (Bear). She performs with Antis, a rock group that gained fame during the period of the independence movement, and also with contemporary youth music groups and folk ensembles.
Vyšniauskas towers over the current Lithuanian jazz scene. Performances by this multi-instrumentalist, virtuoso musician are marked by an extreme intensity, a vivid timbre, and constructive and laconic thinking. He has performed at numerous festivals in Europe, the Festival of Perth (Australia) and the Detroit Jazz festival. He has played with Vladimir Čekasin and Viacheslav Ganelin, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, and many other jazz musicians.
“When he tries to match my singing, it doesn’t work,” says the singer. “Every time, he plays differently, and to sing with him is a very refreshing experience.”
There is no place for compromise, no “folk” manner of playing, no jazz in the singing.
But everything that real jazz composition takes is there: an original theme (a folk song), its free flow and the twists and turns of the saxophone’s improvisation, old melodies, the polytonality of the sutartinė, and the rhythm achieved by syncopation.
This CD was recorded in 1992.