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Ljova and the Kontaband at Cinema Arts Centre (Huntington, NY) on April 3rd


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Ljova and the Kontraband is new music, i.e. chamber-jam music for the remix generation. As if by alchemy, Eastern-European and Gypsy melodies, Latin rhythms, Jazz-inspired improvisations, and deeply rooted Classical forms are given new meanings in original compositions that fearlessly forge a new direction, with a nostalgic gaze towards the past. Since making its debut in June 2006, the ensemble has performed at venues such as New York's Lincoln Center & the Museum of Modern Art, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it was the opening musical guest of the Sundance@BAM Film Festival. The Kontraband is also a mainstay at New York's Joe's Pub, and the Brooklyn-based club, Barbes. Founded by the maverick film composer, arranger, and violist Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin —- hailed by Billboard magazine as one of New York's fastest rising composers and instrumentalists— the ensemble also features his close collaborators on vocals, accordion, bass and percussion. Inspired by his many collaborative projects, Ljova's compositions dazzle with intricate textures, odd rhythms and lilting melodies, creating music that is both fresh and timeless.

LJOVA" (Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin) was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia, and moved to New York with his parents, composer Alexander Zhurbin and writer Irena Ginzburg, in 1990. He divides his time between performing as a violist in diverse groups ranging from his own Ljova and the Kontraband, to string quartets, jazz combos and Gypsy bands; studying and arranging music for Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, Jay-Z, Gustavo Santaolalla, Osvaldo Golijov, Alondra de la Parra and others; and composing original music for film, TV, dance, and the concert stage.

The creativity, joyous energy, the stretching of limits that can be part and parcel to jazz, combined with colors of deep, mysterious tones imbedded within the Eastern European sound, all make for a very exciting experience. Ljova and the Kontraband can speak in ways that are stimulating yet intimate. They are having fun in the making of this sound...and that can be felt! An audience is able to escape everyday life, letting go, surrendering to this unmistakable pull of a new world of adventurous time signatures and sound. There, as well, is a unique balance created by this captivating, strong instrumental ensemble that is at times caressed, excited and taunted by Inna's beautiful, deep, feminine vocals. They are all having a grand time and it shows!

This music of Ljova and the Kontaband comes out of who Ljova is. Having a depth of character beyond his years, Ljova is able to interpret life though his music, translating into subtleties of sound that span the emotions. He pulls from the interplay of working with many talented musicians and diverse projects, with each new undertaking bringing its own unique flavor. This is exactly what brings people back for more. When a flavor is so good, as well as unique, it isn't easily forgotten. And just one taste just isn't enough.

The more a wise man learns the more he knows how much he doesn't really know at all. Ljova is in awe and full of gratitude for this path he has chosen ....or did it choose him? He is third generation to be on this journey in music with its infinite opportunities of expression. The collaborative joy experienced in learning with others of many cultures, coupled with an energy that comes from entering the door of each new project with both its risks and rewards is an adventurous path of growth, continued joy and wonder. The sound created is testament to this.

So the question becomes, how does one categorize the music of Ljova and the Kontraband? All that can be said is that is 'new' music with roots in the old. This melting pot growth of Ljova and the Kontraband's music has opened up so many opportunities spanning the genres of world festivals to Lincoln Center. Instead of being a copy of what is already 'out there' Ljova's venturing into the unknown has been the birth of a sound...i.e. Ljova and the Kontraband.

For a detailed overview of Ljova and his ensemble visit the easy to navigate, carefully laid out website at Ljova and the Kontaband The NY Times article by Allan Kozinn, which profiles Ljova's work from last summer, the review of Ljova and the Kontraband concert by Justin Davidson published in Newsday, plus numerous other articles are all a grand sign that many eyes and hears are waking to this new sound. Reviews If you are busy and/or your preference is video and you wish to gain a quick but entertaining idea of just who Ljova and the Kontraband are. Visit Ljova's EPK
Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin pronounced lay o va (viola), Inna Barmash (vocal), Patrick Farrell (accordion), Mathias Kunzli (percussion), and Mike Savino (bass & banjo) are Ljova and the Kontraband. This performance at the Cinema Arts Centre is part of a series curated and hosted by Premik Russell Tubbs , legendary jazz musician, who will join the stage. They also will be joined in several numbers by two wonderfully talented young students from the Huntington area, Mikah Feldman-Stein (age 17) and Jonathan Bodian (age 13).

Cinema Arts Centre is fast becoming the place known for quality music. Premik began his monthly series last January 29th, 2010 with the first full night of music. This was over a year now Cinema Arts Centre began the journey and has continued to graced the community with phenomenal classic and innovative music that at times like this rival Lincoln Center. Cinema Arts Center is committed to expanding this offering with the same zeal and discernment it applies to film. HEARING IS BELIEVING.


Cinema Arts Centre
Place page
423 Park Avenue
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 423-7611

A wine and cheese reception will follow the music.

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