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Unfurl

by Fran & Flora

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about

Born from the meeting point of the manifold interests of violinist Flora Curzon and cellist Francesca Ter-Berg, the duo’s compositions and arrangements are infused with modes and forms from traditional Transylvanian, Klezmer, Romanian, Greek and Armenian music which they have studied for over a decade with teachers of such folk traditions.

Fran & Flora approach their reinterpretation of styles and deliveries not by homage, but by interweaving. Threads of deep-rooted musics are neatly and uniquely braided with experimental electronics, ambient drones and vocal processing. The results are simultaneously reverent and authentic, deeply personal and intelligently informed.

Curzon and Ter-Berg - both established collaborators and string players - met through their work with such groundbreaking artists as Mercury Prize winner Talvin Singh MBE, Sam Lee & Friends (BBC Folk Award winner), Floating Points, Portico Quartet, Dunajska Kapelye, the London Klezmer Quartet, Cosmo Sheldrake and Frank London of The Klezmatics among others. Years of mutual collaboration have accorded the duo a deep musical bond that goes beyond a shared band membership. “Flora and I have been playing together for so long we know what each other is thinking and are doing without having to discuss it or look at each other,” Francesca writes. Appropriately, the performances throughout the record are characterised by an intuitive telepathy, both otherworldly and unshowy.


Unfurl covers a breadth of material, both musical and thematic. Traditional folk songs are sung in both Romanian and Yiddish, while pre-release single ‘Mayn Rue Platz’ is a modern performance and interpretation of a poem and melody by early New York-Jewish writer (of the “Sweatshop Poets” group) Morris Rosenfeld. Poem and song both tell the true story of the death of a factory worker, singing to his lover from the afterlife. Fran & Flora also name as influences Shostakovich, Bach, Tcha Limberger, D’angelo, Alice Coltrane, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Elka Vulcheva, Nils Okland, Gabi Lunca, Petro Loukas, Elizabeth Walfisch and Alan Bern, effectively capturing the huge range of their own expression. Present here, in abundance, is the elegance and poise of those classical reference points, flowing freely and boldly alongside the strange magic of the modern.

Recorded by Hejira’s Sam Beste, and further augmented with guest performances by contemporary composer, violin virtuoso and horse-whisperer Linde Timmermans and London-based experimental percussionist and improviser Simon Roth on frame drum, Unfurl also features artwork by Oscar winning Lord of the Rings’ lead concept artist Alan Lee, a collaborator of suitable pedigree to such a rare work.

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released February 15, 2019

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Track Name: La Obreja
La Obreja-ntr-o grădină
O prins doru' rădăcina
Au, au, au... Ioane, Ioane
După tine doda moare.

Eu am vrut să-l iau cu mine
Da' rădăcina îl ţâne
Au, au, au... dodă, dodă
Ia mai stai cu noi dă vorbă.


Translation

In a garden in Obreja
A longing took root (began)
Au au au (interjections as in to express a hearthache) Ioane Ioane (man name, would translate to John in english)
I am dying after you.

I wanted to take him with me
But the roots are keeping him
Au au au sister sister
Stay with us still for a talk
Track Name: Mayn Rue Platz
Nit zukh mikh vu di mirtn grinen
Gefinst mikh dortn nit, mayn shats.
Vu lebns velkn bay mashinen,
Dortn iz mayn rue plats.

Nit zukh mikh vu di feygl zingen.
Gefinst mikh dortn nit, mayn shats.
A shklaf bin ikh vu keytn klingen,
Dortn iz mayn rue plats.

Nit zukh mikh vu fontanen shpritsn.
Gefinst mikh dortn nit, mayn shats.
Vu trern rinen, tseyner kritsn,
Dortn iz mayn rue plats.

Un libstu mikh mit varer libe,
To kum tsu mir, mayn guter shats,
Un hayter oyf mayn harts di tribe
Un makh mir zis mayn rue plats

Translation

Don't look for me where myrtles are green.
You will not find me there, my beloved.
Where lives wither at the machines,
There is my resting place.

Don't look for me where birds sing.
You will not find me there, my beloved.
I am a slave where chains ring,
There is my resting place.

Don't look for me where fountains spray.
You will not find me there, my beloved.
Where tears flow and teeth gnash,
There is my resting place.

And if you love me with true love,
So come to me, my good beloved,
And cheer my gloomy heart
And make sweet my resting place

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