This duo is a force. The music comes from the heart, and bristles with excitement and inventiveness Much of the country and world hasnt tuned in yet, but they will. One listen is all it takes.
-Aer Stephen (Folk & Beyond WTJU)
What do you think of when you first see Acoustic Violin & Guitar? Bluegrass? Classical? Country? Erase your preconceptions and let the sounds of Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun change your mind. With their own unique blend of styles from Jazz to Folk, World Beat to Rock, it's always a surprise what comes out of their sound. With Morwenna's beautiful tone reminiscent of Stephane Grappelli & Stuff Smith mixed with Jay's funky rhythms channeling Richie Havens & Michael Hedges, these two are truly creating something unique with their instruments like such artists as Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Kaki King, Ben Sollee and Jake Shimabukuro to name a few.
The duo was recently involved in a competition to win a slot at the famous Bonnaroo Music Festival in TN. Out of 750 bands, they ranked #14 which is amazing for an instrumental duo. In addition to playing as a duo, they have added Pete Spaar on Upright Bass & Devonne Harris on Drumkit to form the "Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun Quartet." Coming together as a 4-piece, their sound continues to emerge into a Jazz/Folk Fusion group often compared to such bands like Shakti, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, and other ground breaking acts.
Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun (along with their Quartet) are more than a hot trend, they are here and will be here for a long while ahead.
Both graduates of Berklee College of Music, the Violin & Guitar duo started playing together in 2004 and have continued to push the boundaries of "acoustic" music. The release of their highly anticipated 2nd CD Chioggia Beat, illustrates their ability to reinvent the limits of their instruments and in the process produce a lush range of original work that is sure to move your soul and mind. A worldly mix of 12 tunes, the album showcases Morwenna and Jay's heartfelt composition skills, along with their knack for introducing unexpected musical tangents and motifs in a way that keeps you wanting more. The CD features their signature duo sound, their full band, as well as a few special guest musicians such as legendary world artist Pierre Bensusan, soul singer Ezra Hamilton, and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross.
Morwenna is one of the most original and creative violinists of today. After seeing Itzhak Perlman on Sesame Street at age 3, she begged her mom for a violin and began lessons shortly thereafter. As a child, she studied classical music with Richard Errante and also played in a band that she and her father co-founded called Cafe Musette that focused on Gypsy Swing, Celtic, and other genres. Morwenna graduated early from high-school to attend Berklee College of Music in 2000 where she continued her studies in Jazz, Bluegrass, and other styles and graduated in 2003. At Berklee, she was honored to have shared the stage with such greats as Brian Blade, Charlie Hayden, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Over time, Morwenna has developed her own unique sound and tone, that is simply unmistakable. She plays with purpose and sincerity, and has often been compared to the great jazz violinist Stuff Smith and the haunting sounds of Scottish fiddler, Johnny Cunningham.
Jay started his musical venture with the piano, studying classically at the age of 5. Soon after, the guitar was picked up accidentally when his middle school band member did not show up to rehearsal and someone needed to fill in. During high-school he studied with jazz/blues guitarist Jamal Millner and became fascinated with funk music when he discovered the sound of groups like Parliament Funkadelic and The Meters. One day, his Spanish teacher told him that world renowned finger-style guitarist, Pierre Bensusan was playing a show in town and suggested that he should attend. After that concert Jays perception of how the guitar was played changed forever. He was so taken by the performance that he later studied with Bensusan at an intensive master class held in Chateau Thierry, France. After graduating high-school, Jay moved straight to Boston, MA to enroll at Berklee College of Music where he studied songwriting, music business, and performance. Now performing & writing with Violinist, Morwenna Lasko, Jay has truly developed his own unique sound, blending all of his influences from classical to jazz, funk to world beat. As he often says "the best musicians know that there's a lot left to learn."
It wasnt until the last semester at Berklee during a Music of India class, where Morwenna and Jay met. After becoming friends and discussing similar interests in music, Jay told Morwenna about the Charlottesville, VA music scene (of which he is a native) and they both moved there in the fall of 2003. They immediately started teaching private lessons, doing session work, and playing in a few different projects. They soon discovered that playing music together and working on their original work as a duo was much more fulfilling. With no one telling them what or how to play, they discovered a creative freedom that only comes from stepping beyond the confines of genre music. Thus began their amazing creative journey. 2 albums & hundreds of shows later, they are making a mark on this world with their explosive music. Blending together World, Jazz, Funk, Blues and more, these trailblazers continue to push the envelope and will not stop.
We dont describe our music, its just us and were not trying to be anything other than that.
Together, they have shared shows with such greats as Vusi Mahlasela, Julian Lage, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band, Avett Brothers, Toubab Krewe, The Duhks, Frank Vignola Quintet, Jesse Colin Young, Ralph Stanley, Corey Harris, Ben Taylor, and more. They've also had the great pleasure and honor to play at some wonderful festivals and clubs such as FloydFest, The Festy, Smoky Hill River Festival, Bristol's Rhythm & Roots, The Prism Coffeehouse, Club Passim, Eddie's Attic, Down Home.
Source: Artist Facebook Page