Two cellos, two voices – and the occasional use of the hang – Tara Fuki’s music is based on a limited set of instruments but is seemingly vast in its scope. The duo, comprising Dorota Barová and Andrea Konstankiewiczová, create music which is at once sensuous, haunting and playful. Their performance on Monday night, which was to mark the release of their Best of collection, showcased music from across their career and demonstrated why Tara Fuki may be one of the most original and creative musical acts in the Czech Republic if not Europe.
To see Barová and Konstankiewiczová in performance is as beguiling as the music they create. Their melodies, which can start gentle and then build and surge, as on “Sen” (meaning dream), or be simply joyous and exalting as on “Sens” (meaning sense), appear to grow organically in front of the audience’s eyes. The duo draw you in with their creation as bit by bit they build a piece from looping vocals or cello melodies on to which they layer additional music and sounds. In the case of the second piece mentioned, the process is extended to the audience who were invited to sing the song’s refrain.
In terms of style, Tara Fuki have drawn on and incorporated a number of influences over the course of their fifteen years together. Middle Eastern, tango, jazz and classical strains are combined into seamless unions. Though the shifts can be abrupt, the effect is never jarring. Their performance, as in their recordings, had the polished quality of skilled artists, yet their performance had a joyous atmosphere despite the artistry of the music.
On a couple of occasions, Konstankiewiczová downed the cello in order to play the hang – a relatively new percussion instrument which is in part based on the steelpan. She was as adept at generating a rich palette of sounds from this deceptively simple looking instrument as she is with the cello, thus creating an intriguing backdrop for Barová’s vocals.
Since it was an album launch, the proceedings were interrupted by the christening of their latest release, the aforementioned Best of. As is often the case at launches here, the album was annointed with alcohol, in this case slivovice. The CD version was then tossed into the crowd. One of the guests on stage who assisted with the little informal ceremony wished the duo 15 more years of success. I think everyone in the crowd felt the same.