Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun
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Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun

Band World Acoustic


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"MORWENNA LASKO & JAY PUN "Etopia" Kukicha"

Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun play violin and guitar, respectively, in a style rooted in the tradition that also produced Flook. The Charlottesville duo's album, "Etopia," enlists a few guest players, but the most significant addition to the disc's mostly instrumental fare comes from Lasko and Pun themselves: their voices. The guitarist sings on only a few songs, and the violinist even less frequently, and always wordlessly. Yet such Pun tunes as the jazzy "Sad Times" and Lasko's scat vocal on "1inA" open things up nicely. "Etopia" is primarily a showcase for the twosome's instrumental skill, but it suggests a more expansive music to come. -- Mark Jenkins - Washington Post

"Worth The Wait"

Jay Pun and Morwenna Lasko began the first notes of their set without introduction. I have to say that I'm tightly obsessed with the way Lasko plays a violin. She displays incredible attitude-- as if the instrument owes her something, and she has come to collect payment in full every time she strikes a note. Pun, on the other hand, just seems to conjure music from his guitar with little to no effort. The two of them lock into a rhythm that reveals the life in every song… Hats off to Pun, Lasko, and everyone involved in the project for making a long-awaited debut well worth the wait. - The Hook, Charlottesville, VA

"Tea, twilight and a dream gig"

We can't help but be giddy with all of these festivals and great shows on the horizon, but Feedback also loves to see Charlottesville musicians making their way out of town and onto other big stages. Local violin and guitar duo Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun have landed an opening slot for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at Roanoke's Jefferson Center on September 27. Pun says that this chance "is probably one of our 'dream gigs' as far as who we'd like to open up for."

Dynamic duo: In September Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun will head to Roanoke to play with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

It's not just that the duo has a style similar to Bela Fleck's jazzy, folk fusion sound, but also because they've earned the slot on their own. "We've never thought of a gimmick to make our music more widely known or ever thought that any one person or way could help us craft our style to further our career," Pun says. "We are what we are." That independent, DIY spirit is sweet music to Feedback's ears. - C-ville- John Ruscher

"Both sides now: Fans like duo, band ventures"

The buzz about Morwenna Lasko and Jay Pun officially has been spread outside Charlottesville.

The local experimental acoustic duo recently wrapped up its most ambitious year of touring, which included a handful of popular regional festivals, a spot opening for Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and a side-stage appearance at a Dave Matthews Band amphitheater show in Raleigh, N.C.

"We gained a lot of fans from that show," Pun said of that last gig.

"We now have a wide variety in our audience.

Lasko and Pun have gained recognition for their broad take on instrumental folk, which branches into jazz, bluegrass and world rhythms.

Both trained at the venerable Berklee College of Music.

Lasko's violin often has a traditional, pastoral vigor, while Pun's guitar counters with percussive finger-picking grit.

The pair occasionally enhances the eclectic string concoction with its What the Folk band, which includes John Chance on electric bass and Stuart Gunter (of Wrinkle Neck Mules) on drums.

"When we play with the band, it's not quite rock, but it has a fuller sound and seems to open up things," Pun said.

"The younger crowds seem to like the band, where as people over 25 seem to like the acoustic stuff more."

The duo will play its last show of the year at the Gravity Lounge on Friday night on a co-bill with Tennessee songstress RobinElla.

Heading into 2008, the duo's first plan is to take a breather from the rigors of the road and head into the studio to record a follow-up to the well-received independent debut "Etopia."

The only rule for the new sessions is no boundaries.

"We've been playing with a lot of different artists at festivals, and that always influences us," Pun said. "We have West African influences, as well as jazz and blues tunes. With this new record we want to continue to take it to a level of not being able to classify it. We're just trying to make good music.

"We also have ideas of bringing in more vocals. I know Morwenna wants to sing a few." - Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA - Jedd Ferris


Album: Etopia (2005)



Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun are indeed something that is unlike anything out there today blending sounds of World, Jazz, Bluegrass, Funk and whatever seems to fit at the present moment.

As a band they bring together ethnic sounds from Asia to Africa, The Middle East right back to home with a full funk sound.

Either way, Morwenna and Jay's music touches all kinds of people and of all ages, leaving their audiences with their jaws dropped to the floor.

Together they have shared shows with the likes of such acts as Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Darol Anger's Repulic of Strings, Frank Vignola Quintet, The Avett Brothers, Dr. Ralph Stanley, RobinElla, The Everybody Fields, Jesse Colin Young, Dave Matthews Band, Old School Freight Train, Flook, Jesse Winchester , Nickel Creek, to name a few.

They've also been able to play such wonderful venues as Prism Coffeehouse, Club Passim, Grey Eagle, Eddie's Attic, Down Home, as well festivals including FloydFest and Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

"A musical dance between two lovers of music , a romance written in notes...with never a need of a voice...only the tips of their fingers and the smiles on their friendly faces." - Robinella

"Charlottesville has always been a great place for music and Morwenna & Jay are definitely proving that, they're great."- Darol Anger

"When Lasko and Pun are on stage together, their chemistry and sound is irresistible."-Andrew Leahey (C-ville Weekly- Aug'04).

"A phenomenal duo from up Charlottesville way, our friends and true trailblazers on the acoustic front ."-Adrienne Young