"…Krakauer joined with the adventurous South African pianist Kathleen Tagg in an exciting new duo project known as Breath and Hammer. At the peak of their conversation, Krakauer sailed through virtuosic passages before taking off on a passionate, soul-stirring improvisation…Throughout their compelling duo set, Tagg joined prepared piano to electronics in increasingly brilliant applications." - Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine
ABOUT BREATH & HAMMER
Breath & Hammer began with the simple meeting of a clarinetist and a pianist who share a constant quest to redefine the sounds and roles of their instruments.
- the traditional clarinet and piano combination totally reinvented and expanded into a multi-dimensional, multi-media, highly entertaining experience.
- a Grammy-nominated classical/world music artist from New York coming together with a “mad-scientist” South African sound explorer.
- lush orchestrations, pulsating percussive beats, samples, loop pedals and every extended technique one can imagine that create sounds from these two acoustic instruments extending from a whisper to a roar.
- a sound that could only have come from the culturally rich hotbed of New York City, with music deeply connected to the community of these two unique artists that encompasses elements of jazz, world music and electronica in a deeply personal sound.
- a captivating video feed that invites you into the creation of their soundworld.
...The result is Breath & Hammer
Influences of world music, jazz, classical, experimental techniques and electronics blend together in this unique collaboration. Krakauer’s use of extended techniques, improvisation and circular breathing on the clarinet, and Tagg’s prowess inside the piano to use it as a harp, a zither, a drum and a cello through bowed piano, plucking, strumming and more augment the traditional sounds of their instruments. In addition to utilizing the full range of timbres that can be imagined from both instruments, they further expand the scope of sonic possibilities by incorporating electronic effects and layers.
Widely considered one of the greatest clarinetists on the planet, Grammy-nominated artist David Krakauer has been praised internationally as a key innovator in modern klezmer as well as a major voice in classical music. South African-born pianist, composer and producer Kathleen Tagg has performed on four continents in leading venues such as Carnegie Hall, had her original music performed in venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center, appeared on a host of classical, world music and multi-genre recordings and produced numerous CDs and inter-disciplinary programs from South Africa to Los Angeles.
Individually they have an impressive track record of creating innovative programs that stretch the boundaries of traditional concert presentations. In “Breath and Hammer” they bring together their disparate backgrounds to make something new and uniquely their own.
"Breath & Hammer” is made up of Krakauer & Tagg’s arrangements of “simple songs” by composers as diverse as New York-based visionary John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, as well as original compositions by Krakauer and Tagg, with influences ranging from interlocking African drumming patterns to romantic symphonic music to minimalism to klezmer. These diverse and seemingly disparate musical influences intermingle, transformed into something entirely new, a hybrid art form that bridges the cultures of the past and new work that looks towards the future.
WATCH THE BREATH & HAMMER VIDEO:
Live from National Sawdust, New York. FERUS Festival, 2016.
Breath & Hammer is an electro-acoustic project with
Video Projection designed by Jesse Gilbert
November 22 by Kinan Azmeh (arr. Tagg)
Ebuhuel by John Zorn (arr. Krakauer, Tagg)
Parzial by John Zorn (arr. Krakauer, Tagg)
Shron by Roberto Rodriguez (arr. Tagg)
Berimbau by Kathleen Tagg
Rattlin’ Down the Road by David Krakauer
Demon Chopper by Rob Curto (arr. Tagg)
Moldavian Voyage by Emil Kroitor (arr. Tagg, Krakauer)
Synagogue Wail by David Krakauer
Der Heyser Bulgar Traditional (arr. Krakauer, Tagg)
(One set without intermission~75 min)
READ THE REVIEW:
BREATH & HAMMER review in Downbeat Magazine
FOR ACOUSTIC RECITAL PROGRAMS, SEE