Ljova and the Kontraband

Ljova and the Kontraband

 New York City, New York, USA

Bill Bragin, Lincoln Center: "Ljova and the Kontraband play genre-defying music, organically bringing together influences ranging from classical and new music, klezmer, tango, jazz, Gypsy music and more, their music is smartly original, steeped in tradition while moving those traditions forward."


New music, old magic. If genre-defying music was a genre, Ljova and the Kontraband would probably defy that too. For if bringing together influences from classical, klezmer, tango, jazz and Gypsy music has been done before, nobody does it quite like this. Moscow-born, New York-based composer, arranger and violist Lev Ljova Zhurbin writes and plays music that evokes forgotten memories of things you think youve heard before but havent, while dreaming of Bartok and Piazzolla trundling through an early-morning Hungarian mist in a three-legged race to the village dance at the end of time. The ensemble features his close collaborators on accordion, bass and percussion, as well as the vocal of Inna Barmash.

An official WOMEX 2013 showcase selection, the ensemble has performed at venues such as New Yorks Lincoln Center & the Museum of Modern Art, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where it was the opening musical guest of the Sundance@BAM Film Festival. The Kontraband is also a mainstay at New Yorks Joes Pub, and Barbes.

The Kontrabands debut CD, MNEMOSYNE, features special guests Frank London, William Schimmel, Uli Geissendoerfer, Alon Yavnai and Marcus Rojas.



Written By: Music by Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin, lyrics by Trumbull Stickney (public domain)

It's autumn in the country I remember.

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

It's cold abroad the country I remember.

The swallows veering skimmed the golden grain
At midday with a wing aslant and limber;
And yellow cattle browsed upon the plain.

It's empty down the country I remember.

I had a sister lovely in my sight:
Her hair was dark, her eyes were very sombre;
We sang together in the woods at night.

It's lonely in the country I remember.

The babble of our children fills my ears,
And on our hearth I stare the perished ember
To flames that show all starry thro' my tears.

It's dark about the country I remember.

There are the mountains where I lived. The path
Is slushed with cattle-tracks and fallen timber,
The stumps are twisted by the tempests' wrath.

But that I knew these places are my own,
I'd ask how came such wretchedness to cumber
The earth, and I to people it alone.

It rains across the country I remember.


new album coming fall 2013!

Debut album: MNEMOSYNE (2008) -- featuring original compositions and special guest appearances by Frank London (of The Klezmatics), William Schimmel (of The Tango Project), Alon Yavnai (of Paquito D'Rivera's trio), Uli Geissendoerfer and Marcus Rojas.

for reviews, please see http://www.ljova.com/works/kontraband-mnemosyne/

Set List

We typically perform a 80-minute set of original music, with folk and cover material added as per occasion.