Petras Vysniauskas (soprano saxophone) • Veronika Povilioniene (vocals)
The saxophonist Petras Vysniauskas, one of the leading lights of the Lithuanian jazz scene and a long-term collaborator of the legendary Vyacheslav Ganelin, has trod an unwavering musical path for nearly 30 years, blending the unique, incredibly powerful leitmotifs of his homeland with elements of Latvian folklore. Vysniauskas's pairing with Veronika Povilioniené, the grand dame of Lithuanian folk music, will see them explore the striking depths and beauty of Lithuanian folklore. Her work to nurture the traditions of Lithuanian folk music and to showcase their values both at home and abroad earned Povilioniené the Lithuanian National Culture and Arts Prize in 2008, while Vysniauskas's artistic talents have won him international acclaim. Howard Mandel, one of the most respected American jazz critics and the president of the Jazz Journalists Association, lavished praise on the original performance style of the Lithuanian soprano saxophonist, noting a resemblance to Sam Rivers and Steve Lacy. According to Bert Noglik, the highly respected German jazz writer, Vysniauskas's playing reflects his unique expression, with the wild beauty of the Lithuanian landscape serving as a constant source of inspiration. Vysniauskas himself has said that his playing style was influenced by the music of John Coltrane and the traditions of Lithuanian folk music. As well as being a member of Ganelin Trio Priority, he also plays in the four-person group Ultramarine, whose music features free improvisation and elements of Ukrainian folklore.
Veronika Povilioniene has received recognition not only as a performer but also for her research into Lithuanian folk culture. She has an enchanting stage presence as she shares her faithful renditions of Lithuanian folk songs.