Live Video: Sutari

Live Video, OFF Festival
Jim Beckmann
Sutari at Klub Fantom // photo by Jim Bennett

There is much to agree about when it comes to Sutari - the intricacy of their compositions, the appeal of their stage presence, the aptness of their found instruments and the relevance today of the traditional songs they play. Even their name implies accord. "Sutarti", the Lithuanian word that lends the Polish trio their name, means "in concordance" and is at the root of the female-centric polyphonic folk tradition, sutartinės, from which they draw avant interpretations. While concordance can mean being of one opinion, in the case of Sutari, it's also being of one voice, as the vocals and instrumentation of Zofia Barańska, Katarzyna Kapela, and Barbara Songin interweave to the point of becoming indistinguishable. Likewise, their use of traditional lyrics in a modern presentation blends the past with the present. Concurrence, though, can also imply several things happening at once, just as the delightful interplay within Sutari's music weaves a braid of harmony and tension, reminding us that things are different now but also the same. The modern women of Sutari have much in accord with those whose elder voices they first heard resonating within the kitchen, and to celebrate them today, they bring part of the kitchen to the stage. You won't need much convincing to realize that they are one of the most unique groups you've heard in a long time.

We were stunned by the set Sutari performed exclusively for KEXP at the historic jazz club Fantom, located in Bytom, just outside of Katowice, and we can't wait for you to hear their many/singular/contemporary/traditional voices. Watch the entire five-song session now and stay tuned each Tuesday for more in our series of Polish artists recorded by KEXP in Katowice, Poland, made possible by the OFF Festival and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute's Don’t Panic! We’re from Poland! initiative.

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