Tuesday 28 April 2020, 7.30pm

Photo by Tadej Čauševič

Širom + Merope

Širom return to OTO following the release of 2019's acclaimed LP, 'A Universe That Roasts Blossoms for a Horse'. Hailing from Slovenia, Širom play vividly textured and (mostly) imagined, instrumental folk musics. Handmade and global instrumentation meets fearless sound exploration.

Slovenia’s miniature, but incredibly diverse landscapes, echo through its distinctive cultural, historic and linguistic traits. When thinking about Širom’s geographical trajectories, as well as their musical ebb and flow, one has to consider the abundance of water that can be found in the individual regions where they come from. Cascading mountain stream lilt, lazy lowland river meandering and the mysteriously vanishing waters of Karst are most certainly inscribed into Samo Kutin’s, Iztok Koren’s and Ana Kravanja’s childhood memories and subsequently, their remarkable musical art.

Watching the trio experiment and jam on ribab, frame drums, balafons, percussions and various other unusual or homemade instruments in the sinkhole Bukovnik in Karst, on the snowy mountain top of Kal above the village Čadrg and in bright yellow turnip rape fields in Prekmurje, the soundscapes they create symbolically depict the essence of Širom. The search for idiosyncratic sound where no one else is looking. A passion for exploring diverse sonic qualities as well as examining the constantly changing relations between the material (everything that produces sound), the environment, human experience and musical intervention.

“Fans of Richard Dawson, Don Cherry and/or 75 Dollar Bill should thrill to [this] …. It’s a sonic realm in which balafon, banjo, viola and various found objects are the new voice, guitar, bass, and drums, with spooky minor key ululations and hurdy-gurdy as the optional extras.” – Mojo

“This music is syncretic, working folk, medieval, drone and traditional musics into complex, intuitive improvisations …. Full of guttural incantations, circling chants, clattering percussion. A deep-breathing, ecstatic joy.” – Uncut

Merope

Strictly speaking, with most members hailing from countries other than Lithuania, it would be tricky to classify Merope as a Lithuanian band, however, as its music is largely centred around the singing and kankles playing by the world-roaming Lithuanian Indre Jurgeleviciute, the collective is a prime example of Lithuanian folk influences finding a firm place in the global ocean of experimental world sounds. Merope’s unique atmospheric aesthetic weaves together elements of electronic, ambient, indie and traditional music into a colorful carpet that is at once local and universal. It represents a very contemporary understanding of the shared roots of all musical creation, and promotes a pursuit of transcultural unity that escapes narrow-minded cultural seclusion. Aside from music, Merope also adresses other global concern such as the state of the ecosystem and our reliance on energy, for instance, they recorded their debut album in a natural setting in Spain using only solar power. This commitment to harmony in all its aspects makes their work deeply resonant in today’s international community in search of its roots.
Their third album 'Naktės' (nights) presents a world full of wonder, inspired by the precious atmosphere of the night. Naktės was only recorded during the hours of the deep night and brings you into higher realms. An ode to the night, full of splendor. Mystery and folk flow into the ocean of modern times.

"Album that is as delicate as it is deep: something very special indeed." – Songlines, UK

Photo by Filipe Pipi