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GLAS.BA – Internet Music Magazine

Druyd of Zagreb are Dubravko Lapaine – Du (didgeridoo), Igor Ratkovic – Yr (acoustic guitar) and Mary Crnkovic-Pilas or BlackMary (vocals), and on this occasion they brought a stand with a large branch attached to it whose leaves had withered so as to, for a moment at least, draw the audience’s attention to nature and ambience.

Lapaine held a very pleasant introductory speech at the onset stressing how the new sound is stretched widely in the sea of sounds and is sometimes difficult to find, but when one enters the expanse of space, a lot of material can be found within it and without further ado, performed the acclaimed “Misao iz daleka” or “Thought from Faraway”, which was among the 10 best world music compositions at this year’s World of Music Awards organized by We Are Listening. They performed the piece in quite a convincing manner which did not steer far from the version recently released on the “Kosmopterix” album, and interestingly enough, during this time, BlackMary sat besides them on the stage and crocheted! This reminded me of a concert by the Czech experimental free-noise weirdos Zabloudil in Mocvara held about 10 years ago whose female members knitted before the performance… I hope you have all heard the didgeridoo, and that there is no need to explain its specific hollow, brittle and rough sound, but for the moment there are few who have seen Lapaine in action. But, the way things have been going, there’s still time.

He is a wizard who crams sounds of wind into three long, wooden wind instruments and modifies them at his will, forming them into subtle sound sculptures. It often reminds one of electronic effects, beats and diabolical samplers, but one can also feel how he improvises associative percussive sounds – tom, djembe, conga drums… On many instances, I almost disbelievingly searched the stage to see whether there was perhaps a sampler, but to no avail. The master is a master, the kind of which you will not find with much ease in this part of Europe…

Anyway, in the composition “Desert’s thing”, which began with a bombastic tribal rhythm in a very loud dance format, BlackMary stood up and showed the whole range of her vocals. She sings in an archaic way combining vox-extended technique with mute improvised arias which evoke the enormous desert expanse calling to the spirits of the past. She is always careful to be at least a foot away from the microphone, and her interpretation is very similar to Lisa Gerrard’s early work from the Dead Can Dance opus. In their third piece “Magic Wood”, Lapaine asked the audience for at least 7 minutes of concentration because, as is often the case, the deaf public near the bar were entertaining themselves by chatting. The combination of the didgeridoo and melodica sounded chamber-ish, almost like a bassoon, and the band performed a very complex and demanding composition in which Lisa (a Croatian Australian) sung the English text very well. For their last piece, they performed “Unwinding the wind”, once again in an archaic way with vox-extended arias by BlackMary, who seems to have a trained voice (at least that’s how it sounds), and throughout the entire performance, Igor Ratkovic was constantly based on his subtle acoustic guitar whose sound often had the timbre and expression of the oud or shargija (Bosnian traditional instrument). To compare them to the folk gothic ambient band Tamerlan from Belgrade would not be out of place and they are very similar in terms of interpreting a fusion of neoclassical, folk and world music.

For the duration of the half hour concert, a crammed Sax could be convinced of what the “new sound” really is and will most probably remember this performance for a long time to come as it was throughout quite a rarity in a sea of pop, kitsch and outright copy/paste imitations.

by Horvi – Vladimir Horvat

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