Brian McLane

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ZURNA!!!! Thank You Amir Gwirtzman

May 7th, 2011 · No Comments · music

Zurna!!!!!

Those of you who read my column know that my wife is from Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia. When I visited the country back in 2009, I was impressed by the city, the people and their culture.

They are passionate. When they would speak to one another or engage in conversation, I often would think that an argument was taking place. This I was assured was not the case. Likewise I found some of the colloquialisms to be strange. For instance one expression I would hear my wife utter loudly as if asking for assistance from the heavens above was (and still us), “Zurna”. A Zurna I found out is a small horn played at funerals. So when my wife had enough of us, me and the kids that is, she’d wail “ZURNA!!!”

Well I finally got to see Zurna in action.

I was invited to a showcase down at Pianos on Ludlow Street. Boy has that block changed. I used to live at 123 Ludlow between Rivington and Delancey in a Tub-In-Kitchen 2 room studio for 300/mo.

But now I was back to see a gifted musician, Amir Gwirtzman who plays all sorts of woodwinds from saxaphones, clarinets, flutes, bagpipes and yes Zurna. It is a hard instrument to male sound good though mountain folk have a natural proclivity for it. There is a tone that is unavoidable and a sense of angst which accompanies it which is where the sentiment comes from when, in a moment of despair, one wishes for the setting of a funeral marked by the presence of Zurna that seems like the only relief available.

You can read about Amir Gwirtzman in an article on JazzReview.com here.

Here is a clip of Amir Gwirtzman from a recent show. I just handed the tapes over and am waiting to hear what Mgmt thinks and to see if they’ll let me post and distribute.

Today’s band is Amir Gwirtzman with “Inhale Exhale”

ZURNA Amir Gwirtzman

Click For ZURNA Amir Gwirtzman

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