“…rhythmically addictive music…Elektra’s exuberant hybrids mix folk and ethnic traditions with jazz, pop and Bartokian angularity combine infectious rhythms with old fashioned American fiddling.” – The Strad, October 2014, Bruce Hodges
Elektra Kurtis is a musician whose work honors the integrity, vitality, and history of cultural traditions through original works that sing the complexity and diversity of contemporary urban life. Quintet, Ensemble Elektra (1983), led by Kurtis as composer and violinist, includes Reggie Nicholson (drums), Bradley Jones (bass), Lefteris Bournias (clarinet) and Curtis Stewart (violin). Their combined musicianship derives inspiration from the rhythms and harmonies found in the US, the Mediterranean basin, Egypt, North Africa and Eastern Europe. They bring the musical traditions they love and know best out of isolation by marrying blues, jazz, mazurka, rebetiko and Maqam to develop a new contemporary sound. Their cultural message embraces the necessity of peaceful co-existence. Improvisation is essential to their music informed by jazz, avant-garde/experimentation, Montuno, polyrhythmic layering, and influenced by composers ranging from Bach and Bartok to Steve Coleman and Henry Threadgill, among others. Albums include Bridges from the East (2015). The ensemble has performed at Symphony Space Thalia Theater, Kosciuszko Foundation, Cornelia Street Café, among other venues.
Featured Image Photo Credit: R.S Herron