On today’s show I speak with Aurelia Shrenker and Eva Primack, amazing singers and ex-UCLA enthnomusicology students who have relocated to New York and together form the singing duet “Æ.” They do a wonderful and unprecedented mix of songs from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, mixed and mashed with ballads from the American South. A & E sing together in a capella arrangements and also accompany themselves on accordion and panduri, a 3-string lute from the Republic of Georgia. Because of their wonderful voices, good approach and depth of knowledge, it works really well.
Tamar Korn, the singer with the Cangelosi Cards told me I had to come down to Barbes, a club in Brooklyn to hear Æ, so I went not knowing at all what to expect. They were great! I caught up with them a few days later to record this interview before they left for a West Coast tour.
Check out their website for tour dates:
More info on the band bellow (from their press release):
Æ (Aurelia Lucy Shrenker and Eva Salina Primack) has been performing as a duo for a year. Aurelia and Eva have performed together in Europe, New York, and California and are finishing up their debut CD! The two women bring together a deep knowledge of different vocal traditions, and create something new and daring with each song they sing together. They have chosen the name Æ (the joined a and e, officially pronounced “ash”) because it represents something of a dual nature–not singular, not plural, but exactly two. They primarily perform a cappella but enjoy accompanying themselves on mountain dulcimer, accordion, and Georgian panduri. In addition to their upcoming CD, Æ recently contributed to the soundtrack of “The Great Soviet Eclipse”, the newest film produced under the auspices of the Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Information (www.mjt.org). Æ’s work is rooted in folk culture and never falls short of being visceral and provocative–in their music, the exuberance of youth and the reverence of ancient tradition coincide.