New Mexico's widescreen roving folk duo A Hawk and A Hacksaw present their first live soundtrack, a brand new rescore of legendary Russian director Sergio Paradjanov's classic film “Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors”. Mixing folklore, sorcery and religious symbolism, the film tells the age old tale of a peasant's love and loss set high up in the Carpathian mountains. For the last decade A Hawk and A Hacksaw have immersed themselves deeply in folk culture, with the colour, grandeur and gut-wrenching romance of their music an attempt to eulogise the fragile traditions of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Their music offers the perfect complement to Parajadnov's epic tale.
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” is the first major work by the legendary Russian filmmaker Sergei Parajadnov. Hailed as a genius by the likes of Fellini, Antonioni and Tarkovsky, his films are as allegorical and mysterious as Byzantine frescos, each a beautiful riot of small movements within his almost always static frames. Although acclaimed internationally, Paradjanov’s visionary and poetic oeuvre was regarded as subversive by the Soviet authorities and he was frequently banned from filmmaking and imprisoned. 2010 saw a major retrospective of the director's films at the BFI Southbank and Bristol's Arnolfini.
The film is the archetypal Ukrainian story of a young peasant who marries the daughter of his father's killer, loses her, falls into a long spiral of sadness and then remarries again, with tragic results. Paradjanov enriches the tale with occult imagery, swooping camerawork and a wide tableaux of breathtaking landscapes. His recreation of the vanished world of the Ukrainian Gutsul high up in the Carpathian mountains evokes a pre-industrial culture where magic and ritual are as much a part of existence as backbreaking work and violent family feuds.
A Hawk and A Hacksaw
Started as a solo project in 2000 by accordionist and drummer Jeremy Barnes (former member of indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel) and named after a line in Cervantes' Don Quixote, AHAAH became a duo in 2004 when Barnes met violinist Heather Trost. The pair began an adventure that took them to Budapest, Hungary where they lived for two years and met/toured with some of the country’s finest folk musicians, as well as countless US & European tours both on their own and with big names including Portishead, Calexico and fellow New Mexico resident Beirut (whose Gulag Orkestar album they performed on and helped bring to wider attention). Joined by an ever expanding and contracting line-up of musicians, A Hawk and A Hacksaw seeks to create and document an ecstatic sound much like the village bands of old, with the communal aspect of folk tradition and musicianship the key factor.
A Hawk and A Hacksaw's new album “Cervantine” is out now.
“So ebullient and full of character that by the time it’s over you feel like you’ve caught a glimpse of the type of joyful festivity that always feels most rewarding after a long journey”
“A cheerfully exuberant fusion based around Hungarian instrumental style, but including a bit of everything, from a Greek melody to echoes of Mexican Mariachi brass and what sounds like a rhythmic off-kilter funeral march that would impress Tom Waits”
“Underneath all the noise and frenetic cross-fertilising of old and new, East and West, an obvious musical intelligence is at work. Happily, it also clearly recognizes the value of fun”
“…more than mere dalliance or faux goulash … it only takes about ten seconds of exposure to the opening track … to be overwhelmed by the evocative, aromatic, lovingly and closely simulated delights of this album”
“The band … increasingly resemble modern-day musicologists as they travel across cultural frontiers tapping into grassroots folk”