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Concert- Reviews

How to travel east and west at the same time ...…

Jazz is a universal language; the Austrian musician Klaus Falschlunger and the Italian accordionist Luciano Biondini have once again proven that at their guest appearance at the “Seekirchner Emailwerk”. On stage, they succeed in melting such special instruments as the sitar and accordion to one tonal understanding. They take up the challenge of gradually compressing the sources of their musical identity and background – that is how a completely independent sound and often impressive, wonderful timbres develop.

The virtuosos’ endless curiosity and the constant urge to create something new make that possible. As all this intensity and depth comes out with such ease one might assume that Falschlunger and Biondini have been working together for decades. Yet the opposite is the case. The answer to the question of how long they have been playing music together is astonishing: Since March, so not more than four months.

At the thrilling concert, the audience was taken on a journey through western and eastern music – at the end, they came back to Salzburg happily. A highlight of the season.

Concert review, Seekirchen/Salzburg/Austria June 2019

 

So close and yet so far

The first concert of “Jazzin’ the Black Forest” demands a lot from its audience, but then: dreamlike sounds of accordion and sitar with the unusual duo Biondini and Falschlunger. The duo of accordion and sitar is something entirely different. The Italian accordionist Luciano Biondini and his Austrian colleague Klaus Falschlunger on the sitar named their first album “Once in a Blue Moon”. They spread their music on a stage set in black and atmospheric read lights. From the beginning, the performance creates an incredible feeling of happiness. Biondini and Falschlunger know how to make complicated sound structures easy to understand. The sounds come floating and are once intertwined, once unravelled. That is how the two musicians create an enchanted atmosphere. Nobody can withstand this magic.

No limits

Exactly this combination opens up possibilities that one could only dream of and Biondini and Falschlunger seize them. They do not care about the limits of certain genres. Whether it is Pop, Rock or Folk – the accordion takes on everything and the sitar adds up to it perfectly. French folk songs on the accordion meet the singing sound of the sitar. The east and the west – both are there. United in interplay and contrast. It is fascinating how the two instruments complete each other and create a new sound body together. There is no master and no servant; one time the accordion leads, the other time it is the sitar. It seems like a conversation between both of the players.

Sweet and salty

The variety creates excitement and brings surprising results. Time and time again, the audience is enchanted by the music. When a song ends just as harmonically and expressively as it started many, many notes before, the loud applause is unmistakable on stage. Even shouts of enthusiasm can be heard and the musicians smile happily at the audience. Even the most beautiful fairytale ends once. An encore keeps the happiness around for a little longer – at the end, an audience is left behind that will keep the magical sounds in their hearts for quite some time.

Concert review by Berthold Merkle, “Jazzfest Villingen”, Germany September 2020

 

CD – Reviews

 

“ONCE IN A BLUE MOON“

Since Ravi Shankar made the sitar popular in the west in the late 1960s, it has become a symbol of global music culture. It is believed that its singing, silver sound has healing power. The Austrian Klaus Falschlunger discovered the sitar over 25 years ago and learned to play it in places like New Delhi and Varanasi. Today, he is known to be one of the most skilled sitar players in Europe. His duo partner, the Italian accordionist Luciano Biondini, is well known in European Jazz. In his substantial discography, you can find recordings with Enrico Rava, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Michel Godard, Tony Scott and many others. The combination of sitar and accordion is unusual if not unique. Even though they are two completely different instruments their sound can melt into one unit and complete one another. “Once In A Blue Moon” offers virtuoso improvisation – sensual, swift, thrilling and with magical power. The tracks – seven written by Falschlunger and one by Biondini – shift between Indian and Mediterranean, mode and harmony, drone and riff. The listeners can be won over by the finesse of the playing or just dive into the dance-like, nearly orchestral flow. My colleagues write about “incredible happiness”. After 40 minutes the album is over. I wished it would last 40 hours.

Hans-Jürgen Schaal in „Fidelity” No 55 03/2021

 

 

LUCIANO BIONDINI/KLAUS FALSCHLUNGER – „ONCE IN A BLUE MOON“

LUCIANO BIONDINI (accordion) and KLAUS FALSCHLUNGER (sitar) can without a doubt be called true masters of their art. Both of them have perfected the playing of their instruments and their creative use in different genres. With their current program “Once in a Blue Moon” (ATS-Records) they show us how you can unify the musical worlds of Indian, European and American cultures and create your very own sound while doing so.

Having grown up with Jazz, Pop and Rock the Austrian Klaus Falschlunger discovered his passion for sitar and classical Indian music while travelling Asia. Consequently, the musician completed studies in New Delhi, Varanasi and Vienna and became an icon in the European-Indian music world. Celebrated performances in Europe, India and the USA, as well as numerous collaborations with international artists, are just as much part of Falschlunger’s everyday life as regular CD releases with different projects. Luciano Biondini’s musical curriculum vitae is no less impressive. The Italian has been playing the accordion since he was ten years old, he has won numerous international prizes and also looks back at a range of releases and creative collaborations.

Sweet and salty

Dreamy, intense, new and yet somehow familiar. “Once in a Blue Moon” inspires with an original fusion of popular music melodies, eastern and western folklore and the musical freedom of Jazz. The opener “Incredible World”, for example, sounds almost like a rock riff which becomes incredibly exciting due to the sounds created by the accordion and sitar as well as unusual rhythmic motives. Other passages bring the folkloristic aspect to the compositional forefront which makes the creative and cultural exchange between Biondini and Falschlunger even more audible. This exchange or the fusion of genres and styles is often propagated but rarely acted out artistically. It has audibly succeeded here! Conclusion: Who wants to make a meditative and, at the same time, exciting musical journey around the world should not miss out on “Once in a Blue Moon”!

CD-Review by Alexander Kochman, MICA – Music Centre Austria, November17, 2020