Dalius Naujo and Jonathon Haffner's new ensemble 'Rasa Rasa' has arranged sutartinės, the ancient polyphonic vocal music of Lithuania using a variety of ensembles and instruments. The result is an entirely new musical world. Charming, infective grooves, imaginative arrangements and ancient vocal rounds featuring singers from around the world, noise guitars from the downtown scene and stellar drum work from Lithuanian born Dalius Naujo.
The band Rasa Rasa was formed in 2012 by long time friends and collaborators Jonathon Haffner and Dalius Naujo as a way to explore minimalistic Lithuanian folk sutartines with modern electronics, drums, and guitars to reflect the sounds of their home, New York City.
These two musicians first met in 2004 at Anthology Film Archives (Artistic Dir. Jonas Mekas) in Manhattan and have been performing and collaborating ever since.
After various projects including 'Now We are Here Orchestra' with film maker Jonas Mekas, and performing with Butch Morris and the Nublu Orchestra, the two friends performed at Vilnius Jazz Festival and discovered a unique mix of Lithuanian folk music, alongside New York City sounds and ideas…
They began playing more and more of this mix at various clubs in NYC and also at The Fluxus Ministry in Vilnius, Lithuania. Finally one night after many notes, talks, and many beers and cigarettes the new ensemble Rasa Rasa was born while waiting for the F Train in the east Village at 7am.
This new band (named after close friend Rasa Daubaraite) had their first concert during a weekly sunday night residency which lasted a year at the famous downtown music club Nublu. This venue became a musical laboratory for Jonathon and Dalius to explore the ensemble Rasa Rasa where they played with many different singers and musicians from around Europe and New York.
In 2014 with the help of John Zorn and the record label Tzadik, Dalius, Jonathon and drummer Kenny Wollesen recorded much of the Rasa Rasa repertoire with a young group of singers from Lithuania. The band was called Wollesen, Haffner, & Naujo and the album was titled 'Rasa Rasa' to pay tribute to the ensemble which pioneered this mix of Lithuanian music and the downtown NYC sound.
The track heard here is Rasa Rasa performing live at Nublu during one of their many weekly performances.
The album by Wollesen, Haffner, & Naujo can be found here for preview and download.