The idea of the actual project came to me in the summer of 2010. I don’t know why, but particularly during summertime I am able to find some free space within the rather dense circle of ideas that surrounds me. Usually I am working off of one or more premises, which influence (either directly or indirectly) the formation of a particular idea.
My musical roots go deep into Romanian folk music, but I also have considerable experience in jazz and academic music. For more than eight years, I have been away from my native country, the Republic of Moldova. As a result, I interact with musicians very different from the ones with whom I collaborated some time ago. I often wonder what I can do in the West with such a typical Eastern European instrument as the cimbalom. How would Chick Corea or Pat Metheny play it? Another series of thoughts has to do with the functional limitation of traditional instruments. In typical folk orchestras or even in taraf (the small traditional Romanian ensemble), the cimbalom functions as an accompaniment, but it is tempting to experiment and modify this conservative function. Further, the old tradition of taraf ensembles has not yet been developed and brought to the level of chamber music. On the other hand, the jazz piano trio can be compared with the classical string quartet when considering the level of functional equality of the instruments. These provocative ideas triggered some new approaches to the orchestration, musical form, harmony, and improvisation of music using cimbalom.
Fortunately, my thoughts were not strange to my friend Edgar, who brought a lot of clarity to my intuitive feelings. It’s possible that I spent more time talking with him on Skype than playing the cimbalom. After many conversations, the actual recording was the least difficult aspect of the project. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected sound outcome. I have come to realize that if a desire to create and a mutual understanding exist, geographical boundaries and physical distance need not be obstacles.
Igor’s proposition to collaborate was a very pleasant surprise for me. I didn’t even need much time to give him an affirmative answer.
The work process turned to be very interesting because we both demanded an ideal result from each other. I wouldn’t say it was easy to realize this project; there were very difficult moments in the creation process. The fact that I am in Chisinau and Igor is in United States was a premise for many challenges, which later turned to be very pleasant. This work in progress and the transformation of the obstacle into a small musical adventure can be felt in a great variety of melodic types.
If the first six pieces were created on obbligato motive, towards the end of the project we managed to work in ad libitum technique, which seems an easy thing – a simple improvisation, but we are two different persons with different perception. I think at the end of our collaboration we could miraculously get rid of all initial misunderstandings. I knew exactly what Igor had in mind the first time I hear his melodic idea and then the tusk was to follow this idea without losing its essence. This process of each other’s following became more intuitive in the last few pieces of our album.
For me it was always important to have mutual understanding with the person I am collaborating and in this given case I am extremely thankful for this interesting journey into the world of Ethno Jazz.