Renowned for her complex musical sensibility and supple sound, Croatian vocalist, arranger and composer Astrid Kuljanic has immersed herself in an eclectic variety of musical traditions. Her love for jazz brought her to New York, where she had the opportunity to study and perform with world-class musicians, including Theo Bleckman, Gretchen Parlato and Kate McGarry at Manhattan School of Music, obtaining Master of Music in Jazz Performance. Astrid’s wide range of interests led her to study Brazilian percussion, Indian classical music, and live performance with electronics. With her quintet ‘Mildreds’ she released two albums for the major Croatian label Aquarius Records, and is preparing to release her debut solo album “Transatlantic Exploration Company” recorded in New York. Astrid performs regurarly throughout Europe and USA, including such venues and festivals as Gramercy Theatre, Waldorf Astoria and Golden Festival in New York, Mendocino Music Festival in California,Teatro O’Nariz in Portugal, Lent Festival in Maribor, Slovenia, Lisinski Hall and Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia and JZ Jazz Club in Hangzhou, China. Astrid’s mission is to cross cultural boundaries within and outside of music. To that end she founded Crescendo Music Festival (Croatia) which has been connecting local audiences with a diverse array of artists for 10 years.
Astrid possesses an impressive and broad range and color of vocal jazz palette as well as a seminal talent for coherent improvisation, and above all, the absolute control and refinement of intonation.
– Zdenko Sulc, Novi List 2013 (CRO)
ASTRID KULJANIC TRANSATLANTIC EXPLORATION COMPANY
Hailing from Croatia, Brazil, Seattle and New York City, USA, the Astrid Kuljanic Transatlantic Exploration Company unites four musical worlds, bound by a shared dedication and curiosity for music. Astrid’s instinct for exploration brought her to New York, where she quickly became immersed in musical communities from India and Brazil, Klezmer music, avant-garde improvisation, and electronic experimentation. She carefully drew from these circles her new band members: percussionist Rogerio Boccato, accordionist Benjamin Rosenblum and bassist Mat Muntz. The band developed a strong connection through regular performances of Astrid’s original music, arrangements of jazz and Brazilian standards, and traditional and popular songs from Eastern Europe. Performance highlights include Gramercy Theatre and Waldorf Astoria in New York City, and each performance is charged with interactive improvisation and rhythmic intensity. The band recently recorded their first album – an energetic set of music with rolling momentum – to be released in the summer of 2017.
ASARAN EARTH TRO
So a Croatian, a Brazilian and a Hungarian walk into a bar…
A collective of vocalists from different corners of the globe (as well as the set up to a great punchline), Asaran Earth Trio is a group dedicated to signing beautiful music from around the world. With New York City as their figurative ‘bar’, Asaran came together out of the desire to take different traditions in new directions, combining folk elements together with the adventure of group improvisation and each member’s musical ‘history’. Together they sing, clap, play percussion and are known to cause groups of strangers to laugh, cry, sing, dance and shake some groovy shakers. Asaran features Astrid Kuljanic from Croatia, Artemisz Polonyi from Hungary and Anne Boccato from Brazil. They love to share their music and stories all around the Earth – in living rooms, theaters, houses of worship, festivals, on the street and even in actual bars.
LIVE ELECTRONICS DUO AND SOLO
Astrid’s duo project with bassist Mat Muntz seeks to create a new kind of concert experience within the jazz idiom. Through their careful curation of standard repertoire and the implementation of live electronic performance, Muntz and Kuljanic transform conventional jazz sets into immersive soundscapes. Kuljanic’s command of musical software allows the duo to manipulate sounds made in the moment – with no prerecorded samples – into arrangements and improvisations.
Mat MuntzKnown in New York for his intense, energetic stage presence and a personal expressiveness on the bass, Mat Muntz is proving a promising presence in the city’s creative music communities. He has performed at some of New York’s most prestigious venues, including the Jazz Gallery, Avery Fisher Hall, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. In addition, Mat has toured in Asia and Europe, playing at Blue Note Beijing, JZ Shanghai, JZ Hangzhou, Umbria Jazz Festival, Liburnia Jazz Festival, and Beijing Nine Gates Jazz Festival. Both as a leader and a sideman, Mat brings to the music a diverse range of influences, a willingness to experiment and explore, and above all a sense of joy and playfulness.
With her own group, Astrid tries to push her boundaries further than ever: bringing her original songs to the stage, implementing the improvisation characteristic of free music into inventive arrangements, exploring new ways of playing familiar jazz standards and other favorite songs, applying modern sounds within her live electronic set to old traditional music… but always keeping in mind to perform music as expressive as possible, preserving and protecting the spirit of the song itself. Depending on occasion, she shares the stage with various musicians and instrumentation, from duo and trio to a whole band.
“WHICH WAY SAID SHE”
Solo vocal live electronics performance with Jasmin Vrban (contemporary dance).
Inspiration for this performance came from songs that contain women -related topics, exploring relationships of women to men as: an object of desire, a pure sexual object, a wife, a housewife, and a mother, through marriage, adultery, and death.
The role of the male dancer reviews stereotypical gender roles in the arts. Typically, men are musicians and women are dancers. In this reverse setting, the story behind the songs challenges expected behaviors and prejudice.
It is also a musical journey across the globe – from ancient Croatian folk songs that speak critically of young girls, their vanity, innocence, infidelity, and marriage, to South African dance tunes, famous jazz standards and evergreens as well as original songs written by Astrid.
Mildreds are, as you all know, stuck up ladies dressed in tweed, drinking their 5 o’clock tea: Astrid Mildred Kuljanic – voice, Uros Mildred Rakovec – guitars and mandolin, Ziga Mildred Golob – double bass and bass guitar, Blaz Mildred Celarec – percussion and clarinet, and Kruno Mildred Levacic – drums. After they successfully wiped the dust off their favorite old songs (CD «Brisaci prasine», Aquairus Records, 2007.) they have decided to put their home made cookies on the shelves. Again, with no mainstream glitter, only melodies and words, tea and biscuits, the performance is outstanding, ingredients above all natural. The concert of Mildreds, the Croatian – Slovenian group, is also recommended by the Department of the Institute for Division of Association for Individuals and Congregations.