Simon Thacker and Justyna Jablonska
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Simon Thacker and Justyna Jablonska

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Duo World Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Musical meeting of minds transcends boundaries"

MUSIC is a universal language. Good music can transcend boundaries and remind us that all humanity is one. This was eloquently demonstrated at Ardross Hall where the composer/classical guitarist Simon Thacker, brilliantly partnered by the young Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska, performed a dazzling array of solo and duet pieces by Thacker and others.

Thacker's music is an intimate blend of Indian and Western. He takes the indian raga scales and rhythms as a starting point and develops them into a scintillating array of notes and tones that passed seamlesly between the guitar and cello in equal measure.

Two extended compostions framed a number of shorter solo works. The first, 'Karmana', the Sanskrit for "performing anything by means of magic", is a suite in six movements with movements two and three linked and continuous. It combines elements from classical, Indian, jazz, Celtic, Balkan,and Flamenco traditions.

The ensemble and rapport between the two instrumentalists on Saturday was impressive and never faltered despite the rhythmic complexity of the piece. The other work, 'Aruna', was equally enthralling and it particularly centred on the rhythmic interplay within and between the two instruments.

The second half opened with two works for solo 'cello. The solo 'cello has inspired composers from Bach to Britten and has formed a significant part of the instrument's western classical repertoire ever since Casals 'liberated' the Bach cello Suites from obscurity in the 1930's.

The first piece performed by Jablonska was 'Intermezzo e Danza Finale' from Suite for Cello by Gaspar Cassadó, a pupil of Casals. It was noticeably in the Iberian spirit and the dancelike melodies shone through.

This was followed by a piece, 'Julie-O' by the american 'cellist Mark Summer This was different in both style and performance employing strumming and percussive technniques with a distinctive Jazz style that was entirely captivating.

Thacker's solo guitar pieces typically ranged from the standard to the avante garde. The 'standard' classical piece, whilst sounding mainstream, hailed from the pen of an eccentric Paraguayan guitarist and composer, Agustín Barrios-Mangoré.

La Catedral (The Cathedral) is a musical evocation that paints the picture of a solemn visit to a cathedral and the return to the bustle of everyday life. The sound world it evokes is complex and brilliant and in the hands of Thacker it convincingly captured the solemnity and atmosphere that Barrios-Mangoré intended. The more avante garde work, Nirjanavana, used digital time delay techniques to create a more dense sound than might be expected from a single solo guitar.

Again, despite perhaps challenging some of the audience's expectations, it was satisfying, exciting and well received. Both this work and the Summer piece for 'cello showed how the sound world of conventional instruments can be extended and developed to add extra dimensions that do not sound contrived or out of place.

The applause at the end demonstrated how much the musical insight of this talented duet was appreciated, as was Adross Hall for having the confidence to bring this music to such a venue.

Thacker and Jablonska showed their appreciation of the audience by providing an encore of a haunting and beautiful arrangement of a Gaelic song that itself has haunted Thacker since he first heard it in his youth.

A wonderful concert by players that should be sought out and listened to again. Indeed, as their poster says it was "an exhilarating meeting of musical styles, cultures and traditions played by two outstanding musicians."

JL - Ross-shire Journal

"Lyrical world of Karmana"

See link - Pangea Magazine

"Masters of the strings"

See link - Pangea Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Guitar virtuoso Simon Thacker's duo with the outstanding young Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska performs compelling new music which distills the essence of Simon's pioneering intercultural experiences to create new soundworlds. Their current programme is Karmana. They also collaborate with leading performers from diverse traditions.

Karmana is Sanskrit for "performing anything by means of magic" and the programme is informed by the belief in the mystical, transformative power of sound, drawing upon Simon’s unique inspirations and collaborations around the world. Karmana combines elements from classical, Indian, Celtic, Balkan, Flamenco, Eastern European Gypsy and Polish music, with Simon adding, transforming and subverting the elements of each that move him the most to deepen the expressivity of his own musical language. The result is new music of a rare emotional directness, spontaneity and inner searching, embracing the incredible sonic palette of guitar and cello.

Simon and Justyna have toured across the UK and are currently recording Karmana for their Creative Scotland supported debut album, which also features special guests. A trio programme with tabla has also performed at the Brighton, Isle of Man GuitarFest and Sound Festivals.

Band Members