Friday 24 February 2023
The Polish-Japanese duo Szymon Mika & Yumi Ito (Szymon Mika - guitars and Yumi Ito - vocals) will play the material from their latest release "Ekual”, and few covers arranged for the duo setting.
What do the video game “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and Joni Mitchell’s album “Hejira” have in common? Both blend, in equal part, elements from an established genre and fresh influences to create a timeless work of art. Equal is the keyword. On their new album “Ekual” Yumi Ito & Szymon Mika create such a brew. Drawing from the versatility of the voice and strings, the Polish-Japanese-Swiss vocal-guitar duo creates a universe of gentle harmonics, haunting chords, intricate melodies and explorative improvisations. No single element is pushed to the fore. Instead, Yumi Ito and Szymon Mika perform as one, like two kindred spirits. This is best reflected in the piece “Minha Flor” which offers the secret garden as an image for the natural retreat buried within ourselves.
London Jazz News preview/interview of the concert: https://londonjazznews.com/2023/02/13/szymon-mika-yumi-ito-jazz-cafe-posk-friday-24-feb-2023/
Yumi Ito...weaves into her music stories about society - stories that matter, regardless of how large or small, how bright, or dark they are. The sound is equally diverse and presents itself as an amalgam of several styles. What might seem tricky, really isn’t: the musician, composer, producer, and arranger with Japanese and Polish roots expertly navigates a clear stylistic path, based on hundreds of hours of practice. Like a Zen master she observes, classifies, and writes down events from a distance – precise, concentrated and wise. This can be heard on “Stardust Crystals”, the release of her orchestra as well as in her duo with Szymon Mika. Yumi Ito lives and works in Basel, regularly performs all around the world and has shared the stage with artists such as Al Jarreau, Becca Stevens, Nils Petter Molvaer and Mark Turner. Her own art includes jazz, art-pop, electronica, free improvisation and neo-classical music, flexibly performable from solo to orchestra, while - of course - always telling a story.
Szymon Mika...is a dedicated explorer of the vastness of the strings. The Polish guitarist, composer and bandleader combines influences from Polish folklore, experimental music, groove jazz as well as free improvisation in his music. In addition to the electric guitar, he also plays the Argentinean mandolin-like instrument Ronroco and an acoustic soprano guitar developed specifically for him. He can be heard in the Szymon Mika Trio with Max Mucha and Ziv Ravitz, which has released two albums to date, as well as in a duo with the singer Yumi Ito. His talent and musicality have already earned him acclaims from Peter Bernstein, Lage Lund, Mike Stern or John Abercrombie. Szymon Mika has performed with Polish jazz masters such as Adam Baldych, Joachim Mencel and Aga Zaryan, as well as international names such as Avishai Cohen, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Holland, Mark Turner and Joshua Redman. His musical presence always involves a string instrument and a virtuosity second to none.
“Szymon Mika is one of the most musical guitarists I have heard - he plays with a beautiful sense of phrasing and time and has a great melodic sensibility. He is someone to listen for in the future as he has a lot of great music to make!” - Peter Bernstein
“The duo Yumi Ito and Szymon Mika undoubtedly belongs to the young elite. From wide spheres to virtuoso improvisations, they wander all soundscapes” - Radio3Fach, Switzerland
“This is an extremely interesting and original project and without a doubt worth a live encounter” - Krzysztof Komorek, Donos Kulturalny, Poland
Video. Yumi Ito & Szymon Mika (Minha Flor): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THWVS-WP_Gg
Video. Yumi Ito & Szymon Mika (Float and Drift): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz1uZTXTrDE
Video. Yumi Ito (Is It You): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JZi3-3jIjA
Video. Yumi Ito (Stardust Crystals): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KFR2NEDBB4
Video. Szymon Mika (Playing the Game): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z-1f16cB7I