the composers on this album — in different places in the
world, at more or less the same time — shared this passion
to dig inside their own culture and bring it into their art.
When you approach all these cultures — beyond what we’ve
discussed, there’s klezmer, there’s the Georgian sound
world of Tsintsadze, South American, Dvořák’s American
bohemian — it’s not like you can say ‘I’m just going to be Avi
on all these pieces.’ You have to inhabit different traditions,
and I imagine that each tradition requires a unique approach.
Yes. Each piece on this album was a response to twentieth-
century composers who composed classical music inspired
by folk music. But I wanted to take each of the composers’
treatments, dissolve it and reconstruct in my own imagi-
nation as to how each composition would have sounded
originally. It’s a bit like learning a dialect for each: when
you play folk music, it has a lot to do with the nuance, with
the accent. I lived in Italy for eight years and I was coming
from Israel, where everyone speaks modern Hebrew in
more or less the same accent — with no dialects, as it’s kind
of a new spoken language. I was astonished to discover
that in Italy every region has a language, has a dialect.
Every village has nuances — within twenty kilometers, the
dialect changes a little bit. When they all speak proper Ital-
ian, they have different accents. I really enjoy tracing these
Pickin' and focusin'.
Mandolinist Avi Avital
performs for Deutsche
Lounge’ in Berlin