Martynas Levickis – Martynas. Decca Music, 2013

Martynas Levickis – Martynas. Decca Music, 2013  

English label Decca Music edits first lithuanian musician Martynas Levickis. So far, everything is normal. But, what would you say if we told you that he's a classical accordionist who dares covering Michel Teló? Under this musical proposal, Decca Music, a label that works into classical music, has get this 23-years lithuanian's album debut to the top of Uk's classical music charts.  

Martynas Levickis, student at the Royal Academy of Music of London, winner of the most importan accordionist's prize (the Coupe Mondiale) and recognized by succeeding on TV programme “Lithuania's Got Talent” in 2010 (we have to remark his performance at the beginning of the next season of this talent contest, crowned as a winner with Steve Wonder's “Isn't she lovely”), risks his cards in a game where the limits between classical and modern disappear. Far away from Balkan sounds, where it's easier to reach an instrument like the accordion, Martynas collects in this work likes and studies to outline what he can achieve with this “new” proposal. 

Martinas Levickis, with the company of a band, David Garret (trumpet), a string quartet and an orchestra: leaving austerity step aside, but without big ambitions or musical grandiloquence. A virtuosity that perhaps doesn't exploit but fixes the perfect element to highlight Martynas's work in an intensive choral work. 

But, how to get an accordion to UK chart's nº1? It's an instrument that has always been involved to the tango or Balkan music and in the last years has become a “must” in folkie bands with hisper-ambition... And if we think of it, it's very difficult to introduce the accordion into the English market, one of the “markets” without this musical tradition. 

A fantastic journey through different styles, ages and places where Martyna's accordion tries to draw a polite line but anchoring to the classic side. Whithout breaking moulds, “Martynas” is a work where Brahms (with “Hungarian Dance Nº5”), Verdi, Bizet and his “Carmen”, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi or Beethoven co-star with Gardel's tango, the traditional “Hava Nagila” or the emotional impact of Morricone. But the best card of this lithuanian clung to his accordion is, without question, that one with the word “cover” on its side. From Katy Perry's “Hot n Cold” to Lady Gaga's “Telephone” or Michel Teló's “Ai se eu te pego”. However, Martynas Levickis can't disable the classical tradition where he has developed his own musical training. Try to imagine how he would cover Daft Punk's “Get Lucky”... as he does it in this video. 

Brahms opens “Martynas” with his “Hungarian Dance Nº5 in G Minor”, the only one track covered with a Balcan and Gypsy semblance, as the traditional “Hava Nagila” takes on a special tone more stylish and sophisticated where Martynas shows off his accelerated rhytm. But this is not an innovation. Likewise, it arrives “Czardas”, track were violin, the instrument that usually plays this theme, become a simple accordion's support. 

If in “Cazardas” the accordion relegates other instruments to the background, with Beethoven's “Allegretto” we go into a non-conventional play of the German composer. A harmonic arrangement for the second moviment of the 7th Beethoven Symphony where not only Martynas surprises with his solo, but also the incorporation of a percussion line close to swing. Stunned by J. S. Bach's “Air on a G String”, it's the track that best moves in this LP. An accurated musical work as in Mozart's “Rondo alla Turca”, that must emerge in the interpretation trying to scape from copies or ancient readings of those musical scores. 

Scores as Ennio Morricone's foolproof ones, straight to the heart and to the tear duct. A litle tribute to the Italian composer where the accordion takes a remarkable corporality as we travel from Alfredo Bevilacqua's “La Califfa” to Giuseppe Tornatore's “Cinema Paradiso” with the same brief calm Morricone always spreaded his work. It's as much emotion as it is a sensibility when Martynas tries to undertake the inheritance of the other side of the Atlantic: the tango. Gerardo Mato's “La Cumparsita” in a mash-up with Bizet's “Habanera” along with a nod to Gardel's “Por una cabeza” leaves behind bandoneon's sound (Piazzolla, Víctor Hugo Villena...) instead the accordion's one. Sound differences between both instruments appart, it was unthinkable Martynas won't integrate an Argentinean air in his work. 

But there're 3 tracks that make this musician difference to other “initiation” works in classical music market. And these 3 tracks are the responsible of being listening this LP today. Not so much for the quality of the songs selected, as for the curiosity that can catch the attention turning famous pop songs into instrumental covers guided by the accordion. “Telephone” was the first approach to this musician proposal, the first one that made us ask about what more can he offer. “Hot n Cold” in a string quartet and accordion version and with the characteristic feature of percussion passage played with the accordion. A kind of a fret-tapping without a guitar that turns Katy Perry's song in one of the best songs of the LP. Mind you, putting away the original song and intensifying the listening in what it's hidden. Michel Teló's “Ai se eu te pego” is not as “perfect” as the other songs covered, but we have to remark that it is the only one track where Martynas Levickis tries playing and singing. Furthermore he sings in Portuguese. Afraid? Who said afraid?

With a correct interpretation without being so virtuous, Martynas is lacking in throwing feelings to us. Far from other instrumentalists such Chris Botti (trumpet) or Lucia Micarelli (violin), who are able to choreograph an emotional dance on the stage with feelings, young Lithuanian musician, has to dwell in that aspect: trying to install himself in the plot of the feelings with an internaliser and more personal interpretation of that we receive with this first edited work. 

To those who have curiosity of knowing how does it Martynas with the deccaffeinated but always dramatic Lady Gaga's pop, we're showing you this version of “Thelephone”. An interesting commitment to a foreground accordion that we hope it would go further with the musical colourimetry that it always give.

Martynas: “Telephone” (2013) 
Tracklist “Martynas”: 
01. Hungarian Dance Nº 5 in G Minor (Brahms)
02. Theme from “La Forza del Destino” (Verdi)
03. Habanera from “Carmen” / La Cumparsita (Bizet / Matos)
04. Por una cabeza (Gardel / Le Pera)
05. Telephone
06. Ai se eu te pego (Nossa Nossa)
07. Hava Nagila 
08. Air on a G string (J. S. Bach)
09. Rondo alla Turca (Mozart)
10. La Califfa / Love theme from “Cinema Paradiso” (Morricone)
11. Hot N Cold (Kate Perry)
12. Czardas (Monti)
13. Parlez-moi d'Amour (Lenoir)
14. Allegretto (Betethoven)
15. L'Inverno (Vivaldi)

Next gigs Martynas: 
14 Septiembre – Plush, UK
16, 17, 18 Octubre – Vilnius, Lithuania
31 Diciembre – Vilnius, Lithuania

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