Asaran Earth Trio-Why Should Your Heart Not Dance.

Nowadays, 8.2 million people call New York City home, including many musicians and vocalists who have arrived in the Big Apple from the seven continents of the world. They know that New York is still one of the musical capitals of the world, and home to some of the most talented and innovative musicians and vocalists in America. Many have already made their mark and the music industry, while others have still to make a breakthrough. However, they’re unwilling to give up on their dream of enjoying a successful musical career and following in the footsteps of the legends who took to the stage at Max’s Kansas City, Fillmore East, Electric Circus, Coney Island High, The Bottom Line and The Palladium. To do so is to live the American Dream, and become part of New York’s rich musical history. 

Every new group realises this, including the groups that are founded in New York each and every year. Some of these groups feature musicians who have travelled from far and wide, and eventually settled in the Big Apple where they embark on the next step of their career. That was the case with Asaran Earth Trio which features Brazilian-born singer and percussionist Anne Boccato, Croatian vocalist Astrid Kuljanic and Artemisz Polonyi  a vocalist from Budapest, in Hungary. They had all travelled to New York, where they first met and formed a vocal group which eventually became the Asaran Earth Trio who have recently Why Should Your Heart Not Dance. It’s a captivating and enchanting album that showcase the considerable talents of the Asaran Earth Trio, and is the next chapter in what has been a remarkable musical journey.

Each member of the Asaran Earth Trio comes from a very different background, but share one thing in common, a love and passion for music. Their love of music resulted in them embarking upon a journey, with their eventual destination being New York. Some took a direct route, while others embarked upon a circuitous route from their homeland, that was akin to a Homeric Odyssey.

Anne Boccato.

In the case of pianist and vocalist Anne Boccato, she was born and brought up in the city of São Paulo, in Brazil. However, around ten years ago, Anne Boccato travelled to America, and eventually, settled in New York. 

This was the perfect place for Anne Boccato to call home, as she had always loved jazz music and immersed herself in the Big Apple’s vibrant jazz scene. Meanwhile, Anne Boccato taught the piano, and in her spare time starting playing her own music. Before long, she was a familiar face on the live, and soon,  Anne Boccato began collaborating with other musicians. 

Some ten years later, and Anne Boccato is busier than ever. She’s now a mother of four-year old Anne, and continues to teach music, and write and perform her own music. This she hopes will connect with a wide audience from different parts of the world. That is no surprise as Anne Boccato is also a talented linguist, who can seamlessly switch between English, Portuguese and Spanish, and similarly, is just as happy playing instrumentals as songs. Anne Boccato puts her skills as composer and vocalist to good use in the latest project she founded, the Asaran Earth Trio. She invited two of her friend to join the nascent Asaran Earth Trio, including Astrid Kuljanic.

Astrid Kuljanic. 

Astrid Kuljanic was born in the Republic of Croatia, which is situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. That was where Astrid Kuljanic’s was born and brought up, and where her love of music began. Before long, she had immersed herself in music and had a wide range of musical genres. Initially, this ranged from Eastern European and Balkan music, but as time passed, Astrid Kuljanic embraced a wider range of musical influences.

By then, Astrid Kuljanic has enrolled at the Conservatorio di musica Guiseppe Tartini, in Trieste, Italy, and later graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree. This was only the first part of Astrid Kuljanic’s formal musical education and later, she would graduate with a Masters of Music degree in Jazz Performance from Manhattan School of Music. That was still to come.

In 2007, Astrid Kuljanic founded the quintet the Mildreds who released their debut album Brisači Prašine on Aquarius Records. They would go on to tour Europe, and two years later, the Mildreds returned with their sophomore album Život U Ušima in 2009. By then, Astrid Kuljanic had embarked upon a new venture.

Astrid Kuljanic founded the Crescendo Music Festival on the island Cres, in Croatia in cooperation with Croatian Music Union. Astrid Kuljanic wanted the local audiences to see a wide range of artists and connect with the different types of music that they were making. This was all part of Astrid Kuljanic’s continued mission to engage audiences across cultural boundaries, and is something she continues to today in New York.

Just like her future colleague Anne Boccato, Astrid Kuljanic also decided to travel to New York to embark upon a new chapter in her career. By then, she had already founded the Mildreds and the Crescendo Music Festival. However, Astrid Kuljanic was keen to broaden her musical horizons, and made the journey to the Big Apple.

Now living in New York, Astrid Kuljanic absorbed and embraced a wide range of musical genres, ranging from jazz, Brazilian and Indian music. This was quite different to the Eastern Europe and Balkan music she had grown to love back home in Croatia. However, it helped shape Astrid Kuljanic as she experimented with new things.

One of them was performing with electronics using the digital audio workstation Ableton Live. This was very different to the much of the music Astrid Kuljanic had discovered earlier in her life and recently embraced. However, Astrid Kuljanic wasn’t just making music with Ableton Live. Soon, Artemisz Polonyi was invited to join Anne Boccato’s latest protect the Asaran Earth Trio, and became the third member of this truly talented triumvirate

Artemisz Polonyi.

Just like Astrid Kuljanic, Artemisz Polonyi’s roots are in Eastern Europe, where she grew up in the beautiful city of Budapest, which is the capital of Hungary. That was where Artemisz Polonyi first discovered the Kodály tradition of singing folk songs and choral music. This was the start of  Artemisz Polonyi’s lifelong love affair with singing harmonies.

Initially, Artemisz Polonyi’s loved singing the moving middle note when she harmonising back home in Budapest. However, as an adult Artemisz Polonyi also made the journey to New York, where the next part of her musical career began.

Once she had settled in New York, Artemisz Polonyi began singing mostly with a cappella groups, and sometimes with choirs. This was the music she loved, and most of the time she’s required to hit the highest notes. Only the best and most talented singers can do this consistently. This includes Artemisz Polonyi, who is also a versatile singer, capable of switching between musical genres, and occasionally sings with jazz groups.

This includes her own jazz trio which plays in venues in New York City. The multitalented Artemisz Polonyi also teaches, conducts her own chorus and spends some of her time experimenting with world music and improvisation. Then there’s the latest vocal group that Artemisz Polonyi is part of…Asaran Earth Trio.

Asaran Earth Trio.

When the three members of Asaran Earth Trio first met in New York, Anne Boccato, Astrid Kuljanic and Artemisz Polonyi realised that they had much in common with each other. That was despite growing up in different countries, and in the case of Anne Boccato a different continent. However, they all shared a love of music which was thing that brought them together, and which they bonded over.

Soon, Anne Boccato, Astrid Kuljanic and Artemisz Polonyi had made a pact that they should dedicate themselves to singing beautiful music from different parts of the world and take different musical traditions in new directions. To do this, they fused elements of folk music, group improvisation, percussion, beats and the various genres of music that had inspired each vocalist. 

Before long, the trio were drawing inspiration from each other’s musical heritage, as the came together to sing and play various percussive instruments. Little did they realise that things were about to snowball, and what started out as three friends singing together, would eventually see them booked to play everywhere from bars, theatres and festivals to  living rooms churches and on the city streets. By then, the three friends had adopted the name Asaran Earth Trio and a new musical adventure had begun. 

It was an adventure that would eventually cross cultural and language barriers, and saw the Asaran Earth Trio bring their unique brand of genre-melting music to audiences across New York. Many were captivated by both the starkness and beauty of the music which features just vocals and percussion. This was very different to much of the music the audiences had heard before. 

While the audience had heard groups harmonising before, usually, they had a full band behind them. That wasn’t the case with Asaran Earth Trio, who were reliant on their innate or God-given talents. The audience watched as their harmonies became one, and soared high into the night air above the spartan percussion and beats. These harmonies had been honed and perfected over days, weeks and months, and now the Asaran Earth Trio were reaping their rewards as they showcased their skill and versatility. 

While some of the songs that the Asaran Earth Trio sang were familiar folks songs, jazz standards or heartbreaking laments, they wanted to introduce the audience to the music of their home countries. Gradually, the Asaran Earth Trio introduced songs from Brazil, Croatia and Hungary into their increasingly eclectic sets. Their sets reflected the members of the Asaran Earth Trio’s background, and paid homage to their homelands and those that they left behind. 

Many members of the audience who also came from the four corners of the globe could relate to Asaran Earth Trio’s music. However, just like other members of the audience, they embraced and enjoyed Asaran Earth Trio’s cerebral, joyous and uplifting music. Meanwhile, the Asaran Earth Trio were playing in a variety of venues, big and small, with their music proving increasingly popular. 

Some nights, the Asaran Earth Trio gave audience members handmade instruments to play, and asked that they sang along with them. This added to what was already a joyous atmosphere. So much so, that when some members of the audience heard the Asaran Earth Trio in full flight, thought that this irresistible sound was akin to a call to dance. That would prove ironic, as the Asaran Earth Trio named their debut album Why Should Your Heart Not Dance.

Why Should Your Heart Not Dance is the latest chapter in the Asaran Earth Trio story, and features fourteen songs from this talented trio. They showcase their talent and versatility on this album of carefully crafted, genre-melting music. It opens with the Asaran Earth Trio reinventing Ray Henderson’s standard Bye Bye Blackbird. They sing a cappella and improvise and sometimes,  become human beat boxes. In doing so, they give the listener a taste of what’s to come, as the song heads in new and sometimes unexpected directions, all the times, taking twists and turns along the way 

That is the case throughout Why Should Your Heart Not Dance, which features traditional songs from America, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal and Spain. The Asaran Earth Trio  rework, and sometimes, totally transform songs as they given them a  musical makeover. 

This includes the traditional Macedonian ballad Jovano Jovanke, which deals with love and loss. Here the Asaran Earth Trio’s tight, heartfelt peerless harmonies are augmented by a spartan arrangement which features the unmistakable sound of a frame drum

Kis Kece Lányom is Hungarian lament sung at weddings, where the mother bids farewell to her daughter. The Asaran Earth Trio sing a cappella allowing their beautiful crystalline harmonies to take centre-stage, on a song were Artemisz Polonyi’s love of choral music shines through.

Anne Boccato’s inspiration for the title-track came Why Should Your Heart Not Dance came from CS Lewis. It features a heartfelt vocal and droning, cascading, soaring and soulful harmonies. They prove the perfect accompaniment an impassioned vocal. 

Milho Verde is a traditional Portuguese song with lyrics that are rich in imagery. As a result, just drumbeats and percussion provide a subtle backdrop for the Asaran Earth Trio’s joyous harmonies. Later, they leave room for the percussion to improvise as this traditional song, heads in a new and unexpected directions.

One of the most beautiful songs on Why Should Your Heart Not Dance is Ket Dal, which is another Hungarian traditional song. This is the perfect showcase for Artemisz Polonyi’s lone ethereal vocal, which is later augmented by subtle vocals. They take care not to overpower the ethereal beauty of Artemisz Polonyi’s vocal on this love song. 

Very different is the Croatian traditional song Divojčice Rožice, which features a conversation between a handsome man and beautiful woman. Astrid Kuljanic plays both characters during this impassioned exchange, and in doing so, breathes new life into the song. It’s a similar case with the traditional American folk song song Foreign Lander, where the lead vocal and harmonies become a musical yin and yang during this beautiful and moving lament. It’s reminiscent of many traditional Celtic songs, even some that are being written today.

The Asaran Earth Trio’s reinvent the legendary Hermeto Pascoal’s Viva o Jackson do Pandeiro, which swings as beats, percussion and a zambumba accompany their peerless jazz-tinged harmonies. Although very different from the original, it’s an irresistible, imaginative and swinging rework of a song that was written and recorded by a true musical pioneer.

L’Amante Confessore is a Shakespearian love story from Trento region of Northern Italy. In the song, a young woman who is dying is visited by her lover, who has disguised himself as a member of a religious order. The Asaran Earth Trio’ sing a cappella and again, their tight harmonies breath meaning and emotion into the lyrics. It’s a similar case on the impassioned rendition of the traditional Bulgarian song Dilmano Dilbero. It gives way to the heartfelt Hungarian ballad Széki Lassú, where Artemisz Polonyi delivers a needy ethereal vocal full of longing. It’s without doubt one of  Why Should Your Heart Not Dance’s highlights.

The Asaran Earth Trio throw a curveball on Patacoada which is a musical tongue twister which Anne Boccato cowrote with Jose Paulo Paes. It’s delivered in a Maracuta rap style, which shows another side to the Asaran Earth Trio. Closing Why Should Your Heart Not Dance is the traditional Spanish song Las Panaderas, which is a homage to the women who make the bread in the mornings. It’s a joyous song that is sung in 6/8 time, against a spartan but effective arrangement. This is a memorable way to close the Asaran Earth Trio’s much-anticipated debut album Why Should Your Heart Not Dance.

It’s a captivating and carefully crafted album of enchanting and eclectic music from the Asaran Earth Trio who are led by the talented Brazilian-born singer, songwriter and percussionist Anne Boccato. She recruited two other talented singers, composers and musicians, including Astrid Kuljanic from Croatia and Artemisz Polonyi from Hungary. They all traveled to New York separately, and met in the Big Apple where they bonded over their shared love of music.

Since then, the Asaran Earth Trio have become familiar faces  and favourites on the New York live scene, where they play venues big and small. The next step was releasing their debut album, which features the considerable talents of this versatile and multitalented Asaran Earth Trio releasing their much much-anticipated and long-awaited debut album Why Should Your Heart Not Dance.

It’s the equivalent to a magical musical mystery tour, where the Asaran Earth Trio cover and reinvent traditional songs from America, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal and Spain. They’re augmented by the standard Bye Bye Blackbird and Hermeto Pascoal’s Viva o Jackson do Pandeiro.  These songs then head in new and sometimes unexpected directions, taking twists and turns along the way as the Asaran Earth Trio leave room to improvise. In reinventing these songs, they take on new life and meaning. Suddenly, songs that are part of these countries rich musical heritage have been reworked for a ‘21st’ Century audience. 

Asaran Earth Trio reinvention of these traditional songs wasn’t without risk. Sometimes, it’s seen as sacrilege reworking part of a country’s musical heritage. That isn’t the case here, and the Asaran Earth Trio imaginative and inventive reworks of traditional and familiar songs has resulted in a captivating, enchanting and much-anticipated debut album Why Should Your Heart Not Dance. It showcases the Asaran Earth Trio’s considerable talents and their unique and inimitable genre-melting music that is variously beautiful, ethereal, joyous and sometimes full of sadness longing. Why Should Your Heart Not Dance is a musical and emotional roller coaster that showcase the considerable talents and versatility of the Asaran Earth Trio.

Asaran Earth Trio-Why Should Your Heart Not Dance.

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