Cellist Anja Lechner was born in Kassel, Germany, and studied with Heinrich Schiff and János Starker. Though her roots are classical – she speaks of coming from “a land of forgotten folksongs” where childhood melodies were supplied by Bach, Schubert, and Schumann – her musical interests span the globe and embrace a wide range of improvisational traditions. She has described the appeal of folk music as springing from its “abundance of songs, songs that tell stories”.
A key figure in contemporary South American music, Dino Saluzzi was born in the little village of Campo Santo in northern Argentina in 1935. Saluzzi’s ECM discography was launched in 1982 with a solo album, Kultrum, a spontaneous example of the bandoneonist’s art as “storyteller” and the first of many “imaginary returns” to the towns and villages of his childhood. From the early 80s, there were many meetings with jazz musicians: Charlie Haden, Palle Mikkelborg and Pierre Favre (Once upon a Time – Far Away in the South); Enrico Rava (Volver); Marc Johnson (Cité de la Musique); Tomasz Stanko and John Surman (on Stanko’s From the Green Hill); Palle Danielsson (Responsorium); and Jon Christensen (Senderos). Saluzzi’s chamber music for bandoneon and strings on Kultrum, a collaboration with the Rosamund Quartett, erased demarcation lines between composition and improvisation, between so-called serious and popular music.