The ensemble Kon Sira, focusing on traditional Sephardic and Balkan music, presents a unique interpretation of the traditional songs of the Sephardic Jews.
The song tradition of the Sephardim, preserved in the heart of the Jewish communities of Northern Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, represents a unique repertoire in which the Hispanic motifs cherished by the Sephardic Jews following their eviction from Spain (1492), are interwoven with the melodic tradition and imagery of the lands where they found refuge.
Kon Sira consists of five musicians from various musical genres. In their interpretations, traditional Sephardic melodies are combined with musical motifs and approaches from different genres and musical styles. The majority of the songs in Kon Sira’s repertoire feature harmony vocals and an instrumental accompaniment which doesn’t strictly adhere to traditional ways.
Katerina began to sing Irish traditional music in the band Celtic Rej, in 1997. In 1998 she co-founded the band Dún an Doras, where she performed until 2007. Since 2001 she has collaborated with Lubos Malina in the band Garcia. She has also collaborated numerous musicians across various genres (Druhá tráva, Pavel Bobek, Steve Walsh, Alan Doherty, James Ryan, and the Dublin-based Traditional Arts Collective, among others). She became interested in Sephardic songs in the course of her masters, and later doctoral research, on the Judeo-Spanish language at Charles University in Prague. In 2006 she founded, together with her sister Barbara and fellow-singer Predrag, the band Kal y Kanto, focusing exclusively on Sephardic and Balkan traditional music. As a Hispanist, she continues to explore this area and currently lectures in Trinity College, Dublin.
Barbara started singing Sephardic songs as a member of Kal y Kanto. She also sings mainly traditional songs from the North of Spain (in the bands Seis and Marw) and songs from the Czech, Moravian and Slovak traditions, in the female chamber choir Chrpy.
Lubos Malina is the co-founder and leader of renowned Czech bluegrass band Druhá tráva. He is also a widely-respected producer and studio recording musician. He has been voted “Banjo Player of the Year” on numerous occasions by the Bluegrass Association of the Czech Republic. Along with Robert Krestan, he recorded six albums with the band Poutnici. Both in 1989 and 1990, Poutnici received the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music award for Best Non-American Recording of the Year. His first solo recording, Naper se a Pukni! (All You Can Eat) was released in 1996 and his second project, A Piece of Cake, including guest artists Davy Spillane, Peter Rowan, Bela Fleck, Tony Trischka and Druha Trava, was released in August 1998. His third solo project, Afterparty, was released on Good Day Records in 2004. His fourth solo album “Dueling Fingers” was awarded “Album of the Year” by the Blegrass Association of the Czech Republic. He also collaborates with Katerina Garcia in the band Garcia and performs with the bluegrass band Malina Brothers.
Bosnian singer and guitarist Predrag Duronjić comes from a family with Sephardic roots and a very strong musical tradition. Since 1997 he has been living in the Czech Republic, where he has performed with a number of bands from a wide range of musical genres: Celtic Rej, Dún an Doras (Celtic music), Draga Banda (world music), Kal y Kanto (Sephardic and Balkan music). He currently performs with Radimova kapela Karel (gypsy punk).
Studied double-bass at the Jaroslav Ježek Conservatory in Prague and in 2013 finished a masters in composition at the prestigious Jazz Institut Berlin, under the direction of renowned American teachers Greg Cohen and John Hollenbeck. Tomáš has performed internationally at jazz festivals and concert halls across Europe, the Americas, and Africa, and has won several prizes at jazz festivals in Poland and Spain. His key collaborators, besides Marta Topferova, are David Dorůžka, Steve Walsh, Druhá tráva, Beáta Hlavenková, Cyrille Oswald, Lenka Dusilová, Eternal Seekers, Dan Tepfer, Mark Aanderud, and many others. Tomáš’s debut album as a composer, “Invisible World” (2009 Animal Music), received the Tais Awards prize for the most original recording of 2009, and was nominated for the Czech Grammy awards (Anděl).