Andreja, Rundek&Ekipa – Hypnotic Ethno Blues from Mura
Two exceptional concerts took place in Močvara on the 14th of May, both of which were inspiring and exciting takes on Međimurje folk music.
Andreja, Rundek&Ekipa are an unusual mix of diverse musicians with a fascinating synergy which they have recently eternalised in their newly released album Mura Mura.
Andreja Kurelec Košavić chose 12 of her favourite Međimurje songs, and Darko Rundek took on the role of artistic director, with a group of 9 musicians from a range of different backgrounds.
This really is a brilliant album, however the live performance shows that this music is best experienced live – primarily due to the inspired improvisation, but also the mystic atmosphere the musicialns created. Andreja Kurelec Košavić is a specific musical and stage phenomenon, her interpreteations are emotionally powerful and immerse the audience in the melancholic, and sometimes dark world of Međimurje balads.
Andreja has great charisma and a passionate theatrical musical performativity. Her beautiful tone of voice and subtle phrasing perfectly transmit the expressivity of Međiumurje ethno blues.
The Ekipa crew are no less impressive – their music is exciting, inspired, full of jazz improvisation and like Mississippi blues is bursting with raw emotion. The arrangements are vary widely, with an vast array of instrumental combinations (trumpet, sax, violin, bas guitar, double bas, vibraphone, mandolin, drums, percussion).
These are seductive and complex melodies weaving an enigmatic atmosphere, the music develops with an unpredictable flow demanding the full attention of the audience.
This is a truly remarkable collaboration and one of the most exciting musical projects in Croatia at the moment. The album apparently was recorded quickly, in a few days, and on one hand that spontaneity and raw quality is felt live, but at the same time, because of the high artistic quality the music seems elaborate and considered – this is evidently a case of rare musical chemistry. The final song on the concert which is also the final track on the album Mura Mura is a chilling 9 minute ballad which could easily have been written by Tom Waits or Nick Cave, a ballad with a dark story the musicians rendered perfectly sending chills down the spine.
Andreja, Rundek&Ekipa played for two hours, after which you suddenly realise you are sitting in a cold tent on a hard bench – reality penetrates only once the affect of the intoxicating musical magic which transferred the audeince into a different reality suddenly ends.
MURA MURA, A Deep and Wonderful Rumination on the Musical Heritage of Međimurje
(…) Keeping in mind the status enjoyed by Darko Rundek, whose band Haustor was among the first in Croatia to find inspiration in the right way in the sedimentation of folk music, before we had even heard of the term world music, the exquisite musicianship and recording of the album Mura Mura may have a chance of reaching a wider audience.
The album Mura Mura developed organically out of the collaboration between Rundek and a group of musicians who played on the Apoclapso Now tour, and the name of the crew Ftiček brings to mind Rundek’s collaboration with Cinkuši ( in the song Tiček) from whence came the mandolin player Nataša Radušić and the violinist Marko First. Although Rundek is the most familiar member of the crew Ftiček, he appears here in the role of guitarist and only sings vocals on Nega sonca ni meseca, this time centre stage is taken by the vocalist Andeja Kurelec Kosavić, backed by igor Pavlica (trumpet, melodica), Silvio Bočić (drums), Miro Manojlović vibraphone, Roko Crnić (double bass) and Ana Kovačić (tenor saxophone).
Considering the choice of instruments and music Mura Mura stands tall alongside the best albums by Cinkuši and Teta Liza (with Lado), however with even greater stylistic and musical meanderings on the recent album .
The mourning, haunting, melancholic, ruminating tones of the chosen and well known traditional Međimurje songs are present on the album Mura Mura. But there are also significalntly wider tones in harmony with Andean and Caribbean musical motives, as well as north American folk and jazz music. There are overtones of the collaboration between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, or rather Elliss’s band Dirty Three or in some of Tom Waits works, or rather his previous guitarist Marc Ribot. Andrea’s vocals are not the only difference in relation to the earlier comparisons which are not needed here. In truth, this is a rarely autochthone, high quality, tasteful, beautiful and deep album of Croatian musical heritage which should urgently be presented to the world. It is thoroughly thought through, although recorded in only two days where an important role was played by the musicians instinct which compliment each other perfectly in their interpretation of Međimurje musical heritage with a new take on the arrangements and musical textures we already know.
Aleksandar Dragaš, Jutarnji List
What Does Darko Rundek’s New Međimurje Blues Project Sound Like?
Andreja, Rundek&Ekipa have created a remarkably intriguing ethno blues record.
“Mura Mura” is an album with 12 songs replete with raw emotion. The album is kind of a fusion of musical genres spoken in local dialect, but melodically understood globally – a universal language with a special musical energy.
The collective’s cohesion comes out loud and clear, celebrating the traditions and lives of the ordinary person. They express raw and honest feelings, a simultaneous simplicity and the heaviness of the transience of time, using the Kajkavski dialect to express the camaraderie of music making, sounds which could easily hail from a small local bar far from the hustle and bustle of city life, yet carrying its’ own existential burdens, expectations and disappointments.
The album as a whole is a bohemian moment in which every instrument has a special role, its character independently expressed enhancing the traditional Međimurje melody with a bluesy feel. There are elements of jazz here too which add a mild but significant rhythm, and a sense of improvisation that enhances the directness of emotion.
The compactness of the work is completed by Andreja’s dark and melancholy vocals, concealing the power and strength that lies at the center of this very interesting project.
This is a work of art in the full sense of the words, it demands attention of its listeners for it to reveal the full range of musical detail it offers.
Simultaneously raw and perfectionist, this is primarily an honest album replete with powerful, but simple and recognisable emotion.
“Mura, Mura” by Andreja, Rundek&Ekipa Take over the Stage
On Saturday 23rd of March at the sold out concert in Kinoteka, Andreja, Rundek&Ekipa, presented their new studio album Mura Mura to Zagreb audiences. All 12 tracks thrilled the audience who expressed their gratitude with a full two hours of spontaneous applause in appreciation of each note and every emotion the band offered. Međimurje blues and Andreja’s powerful vocals, supported by Rundek on bas, Igor Pavlica on trumpet , Bočić on drums, Ana on sax, Crnić on double bas, Manojlović on percussion, Nataša on mandolin and Marko on violin resounded through Kinoteka. The combination and synergy of Andreja’s energy and emotional vocals on every track and a diverse group of musicians from varying generations and character , all breathing as one, make this band and their music even more special.