Hailing from the present-day Czech Republic, Iva Bittová is one of Europe's most innovative and celebrated artists. She began her career as an actor in the mid-1970s, appearing in several Czech and Slovak feature films. Born to famed Roma violinist Bittó Kálmán, she was playing violin and singing at a very early age. In 1987 Iva & percussionist Pavel Fajt released an album of original minimalist fusion of alternative rock music with Slavic and Roma motifs. Iva Bittova's first solo record ("Iva Bittova" - 1991) fully outlined her extraordinary complexity as an artist. She composed all of the 14 tracks on the album, except for Czech folk song "One Sister".
Bittova is one of those rare artists who know how to put all possible extremes of the emotional scale into one song: she laughs and cries, cackles as a hen, chirps as a bird, slaps her tongue, makes strange throat noises. Bittova's violin playing is as impressive as her vocal acrobatics, distilled from different techniques, constantly mixed. She might pluck her instrument as a ukulele or a banjo,or play with a bow or a wooden stick to get a rhythmical pattern from the string. Bittova uses everything she has, plays with her entire body, beats a rhythm with her feet.
In addition to her solo concerts Bittova has collaborated and performed with Jiri Stivin, Emil Viklicky, Fred Frith, Tom Cora, Chris Cutler, David Moss, Pavel Fajt and many others.
Antonin Fajt's music combines elements of folkloric traditions of Eastern Europe, jazz and classical composition. Toni grew up in Lelekovice, in the Moravian region of Czech Republic in a musical family. His mother, Iva Bittová is a singer, violinist and composer, and his father, Pavel Fajt is a drummer and composer. Antonín moved to the Hudson Valley, NY in 2007. He likes to work with preparations, folk materials, sampling, texture, and repetition. Toni holds a BA in music from Bard College ’14, where he studied under the mentorship of the composer Joan Tower.
Besides music, he likes to cook, work outside, make events, and pretend to know things. He's been fortunate to work with wonderful musicians such as Dean Sharp, Niloufar Shiri, Window Quartet, Andrei Kvapil, Henry Birdsey, George Mráz, Jessika Kenney, Eyvind Kang, Michael Dessen, PUBLIQuartet, & the ICE ensemble. He can be heard with his group Mantis with Niloufar Shiri, in duo with Iva Bittová, or in improvised music scenes in New York and southern California. He holds an MA from the Integrative Composition, Improvisation and Technology program at UC Irvine where he is currently finishing his PhD dissertation and composing a larger musical work centered around the Hudson River and its two-way flow as a representation of time.
Unseen Rain is an experimental ensemble from Philadelphia. Delving into the sound worlds of places beyond human reach, the music evokes the echolocation of ocean floors, the bustling of anthills, and the cosmic reverberations of extraterrestrial life. The group’s instrumentation of strings, vibraphone and modified drum kit lends itself to an intimate, quieter aesthetic that embraces space and slow-building forms.
Unseen Rain was formed by violinist June Bender in 2017. Recent projects include the release of their debut album, Out Beyond, and film scoring for the documentary, Queer Genius directed by Catherine Pancake.
June Bender violin/compositions
Alban Bailly guitar/cello/electronics
Matt Engle double bass
Mike Szekely percussion
Andy Thierauf vibraphone
Admission is FREE. Registration is encouraged. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/iva-bittova-antonin-fajt-duo-unseen-rain-tickets-516056277217