Burrum-bah is a recording of the world premier performance of the duo of international renowned saxophonist Frank Gratkowski from Germany, and ever astounding international pianist Elisabeth Harnik from Austria, recorded live at the SoundOut festival, Canberra Australia 2nd February, 2020. The title Burrum-bah refers to "Where the kangaroo, the wallaby, bounces over the rocks" in the local langauge of the Ngunnawal peoples of Canberra. It is in someways a very fitting analogy of the music where both artists bounce ideas around in a beautiful display of technique, heart and intelligence, to the point it was hard to hear where one or the other artist finished or began, in a flow of movement, sound and ideas.
Frank Gratkowski: alto saxophone, voice
Elisabeth Harnik: piano, voice
FRANK GRATKOWSKI is a free lance saxophonist, clarinettist, improviser and composercurrently living in Berlin, Germany. He studied Saxophone at the Kölner Hochschule für Tanz und Musik (Cologne Music Conservatory) where he has been teaching since more than 20 years. Gratkowski released more than 30 CDs under his name and he appears on many more as a sideman. His musical range is quite limitless and includes experimental music, jazz, improvised music, contemporary classical music, rock and electronic music. He performs worldwide from solo to orchestra and composes for different ensembles, recently more focusing on sound and microtonality.
His main projects, beside many others, are : "Artikulationen" (solo music for saxophone and clarinets); "Artikularionen E" (solo music for saxophone and 8 cannel live electronics); "Z-Country Paradise" (with Jelena Kujic – voice, Kalle Kalima – guitar, Oliver Potraz – e-bass, Christian Marien – dr); "Frank Gratkowski Quartet" (with Wolter Wierbos – trombone, Dieter Manderscheid – bass and Gerry Hemingway – drums); "Instant Songs" (duo with trombonist – Sebi Tramontana); Trio "Kaufmann/Gratkowski/DeJoode" (with Achim Kaufmann – piano, Wilbert DeJoode – bass) also plus Liz Allbee, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Richard Barrett and Tony Buck as SKEIN. Fo[u]r Alto" (microtonal music for 4 alto saxophones).
ELISABETH HARNIK, an Austria based pianist and composer has created a multifaceted body of work by blurring genre boundaries through various collaborations in the field of improvised music, interdisciplinary projects and contemporary compositional works. She studied classical piano and later - with Beat Furrer – composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz. She writes commissioned works and her compositions are performed regularly at concerts and festivals for new music. In addition to her work as composer she appears as pianist at concerts and festivals for improvised music in Europe and abroad. As an improviser she works within an electro-acoustic inspired sound-world, using specific preparations and extended techniques while pushing the limitations of the piano. Her performances draw from physicality and introspection, intuitive playing and high precision. Harnik´s unique approach to her instrument as well as to improvisation and composition has led to many concert invitations. Besides her solo performances she is member of numerous ensembles for improvised music and has performed and recorded with a number of internationally recognised representatives of the contemporary jazz scene in Europe and abroad such as Johannes Bauer, Thomas Lehn, Joëlle Léandre, Mikołaj Trzaska, Alison Blunt, Taylor Ho-Bynum, Fay Victor, Michael Zerang, Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Ken Vandermark, Tim Daisy, Andrea Centazzo, Clayton Thomas a.o. Harnik has performed at various national and international festivals such as the Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon, the Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen, the Artacts Festival St. Johann, the Music Unlimited Festival Wels, the Comprovise Festival Cologne, the Beethoven Fest Bonn, the A L'ARME! Festival Berlin, the Jazz & More Festival Sibiu, the Audio Art Festival Pula, the Krakow Jazz Autumn Festival, the Alpenglow Festival London, the All Ears Festival Oslo, the Umbrella Music Festival Chicago, the Okka Fest Milwaukee, the Musicacoustica Beijing, the SoundOut Festival Canberra or the Jazz na Fábrica Festival São Paulo.
Her work as a pianist and composer is documented on many recordings and she received a great number of rewards and prizes. Most recently she held the Austrian SKE Publicity Award 2017 and in 2019 a portrait CD with works by Elisabeth Harnik was released by the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation »Edition Zeitton«.