A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble by A Hawk And A Hacksaw
Formats: CD/DVD (DOCK 47CDVD) Digital (DOCK 47E
Release Date: 7 May 2007
A real treat for A Hawk And A Hacksaw fans, this strictly limited EP includes the first fruits of the duo’s blossoming relationship with a group of extraordinarily talented Hungarian folk musicians, who have come together under the name The Hun Hangar Ensemble to tour Europe with AHAAH this summer. Consisting of eight newly recorded songs, both original and traditional, the EP serves as an introduction for both the listener and the artists themselves as they get to know each other, providing a platform from which music and ideas can evolve.
In addition to the CD, a 20-minute bonus DVD (An Introduction To A Hawk And A Hacksaw) documents the last two years of almost continuous touring by the original duo of Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost, with behind-the scenes insight into their travels across Europe, as well as some great live footage captured (by director Dave Herman) in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Anyone not yet au fait with AHAAH’s blistering but delightfully intimate live performances would do well to sample some of the fun…
Jeremy and Heather’s first ensemble work came in 2006: their acclaimed third album, The Way The Wind Blows, was recorded with the help of celebrated Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia and fellow Albuquerque resident Zach Condon of Beirut.
Late in 2006 Jeremy and Heather, making an exploratory trip to Hungary, discovered Fono, a music shop, venue and centre for Hungarian folk music based in the capital Budapest. Here they met musicians fluent not only in traditional Hungarian folk, but also in jazz and minimalism, with a real hunger to make original music using the palette of musical styles that they had acquired, and The Hun Hangár Ensemble was born.
Bela Agoston, an open minded and highly influential character within the Budapest music scene, brings expertise on many an instrument including Hungarian bagpipes, the clarinet and the alto saxophone. Ferenc Kovacs, who has played with Archie Shepp amongst others, was recruited for his outstanding ability on trumpet and violin. Zsolt Kurtosi’s talents lay with the upright bass and experience in traditional Hungarian and Transylvanian folk and klezmer, while a young maestro of the cymbalom (a dulcimer-like instrument central to traditional Hungarian music), Balazs Unger', completes the group.
Jeremy already had in mind the songs he wanted to record – a mixture of traditional Hungarian, Serbian, Romanian and klezmer melodies, as well as new compositions by himself and Heather - and brought rough drafts when he joined the ensemble to record in Budapest in December 2006. The Ensemble had just a week to lay down their parts before the tracks were brought back to AHAAH’s Albuquerque base for Jeremy and Heather to add their sections, once again supplemented by members of Beirut.
The songs were carefully chosen to showcase the individual prowess of each of the six musicians, in ensemble pieces (such as ‘Ihabibi’), duos (‘Kiraly Siritas’, featuring violin and cymbalom) and solo pieces (the virtuoso cymbalom of ‘Vajdaszentivany’). Perhaps most impressive of all is ‘Zozobra’, which features only Balazs (cymbalom) and Jeremy (everything else), and sounds like it ought to be soundtracking Buster Keaton…
There are just 4,000 individually numbered copies of this release worldwide, in special gatefold card packaging.