Home Masthead Karolina Strassmayer and Drori Mondlak: Gently Spoken

Karolina Strassmayer and Drori Mondlak: Gently Spoken

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Karolina Strassmayer & Drori Mondlak with John GoldsbyRDG: How did you come upon the idea for ‘Of Mystery and Beauty’?

KS: Beauty means different things to different people. But there is a universal truth about it, regardless of taste and aesthetic; beauty has the power to move the heart.
I feel that it is my responsibility as an artist to search for those little melodic twists and harmonic turns that make my heart leap — in the hopes that they will touch the heart of another. Turning those tiny tugs and hunches into songs is a deeply satisfying work and witnessing them being brought to life by such splendid musicians as Drori, John, and Rainer was simply a blast.

RDG: Where does the music come from Karolina? Heart or head?

KS: Both. The head informs the heart informs the head.

RDG: Do you ever ‘write’ music on the saxophone (And you Drori… on the drums)?

KS: Yes, but mostly I write on the piano and sing the melody.

DM: I don’t write music on the drums.

RDG: Are you going to ‘tour’ to promote the record? Any chance you’ll come to America and Canada?

DM: We have been touring and playing the music form this latest recording since it was released. Of course we would love to come to the US and Canada to perform this music and welcome any opportunities offered.Karolina Strassmayer & Drori Mondlak Of Mystery and Beauty

RDG: If you were to make a record for a larger ensemble and you had a chance to pick your own band mates who else would you pick to be in the band?

DM: I have not thought about this.

KS: I’m very content with the quartet format!

RDG: Are you planning to make another record?

DM: We record together every two years or so and then go out and play the music live. Sure, we will record another record together and more after that. It is a wonderful process. Karolina writes beautiful music that inspires me.

KS: Absolutely. Many more, I hope.

RDG: Anything you would like to add to what we have already talked about?

DM: Drumming is my life’s passion and I love my drums and drumming as much as I did when I first begun to play. I am thankful to be doing this for a living and to share the time with other musicians that have devoted themselves to this music and to the creative spirit. I have had close working relationships with some really great musicians like guitarist Cary DeNigris, bassist Lynn Seaton and pianist and organist Danny Mixon. I worked with them in their groups for many years in New York and was the drummer on recordings of theirs as well. I am grateful for their inspiration and I learned a lot from each of them. Cary DeNigris also worked with Karolina and me as a member of our quartet KLARO! He is on 5 of our recordings and had a lot to do with shaping the sound of the group. He is a great guitarist and creative improviser and composer. In the present time, we are working with vibraphonists Stefan Bauer and David Friedman, pianist Rainer Böhm and bassist John Goldsby. They are members of our quartet, KLARO! We perform together very often and great inspiration comes from these musical gatherings. They bring their instrumental virtuosity, creativity and heart and soul to the group. We love to play with them. Our most recent quartet recording with KLARO!, “Of Mystery And Beauty” is with Rainer Böhm and John Goldsby.

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