60 Seconds with Asaf Sirkis

What was the last record you bought?

Weather Report Live In Tokyo, 1972.

Who/what are your musical inspirations?

Allan Holdsworth, Olivier Messiaen (especially his organ works), Tony Williams, Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, South Indian music and rhythms, progressive rock bands such as Yes & Genesis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and the musicians I play with.

Tell us a little more about your new collaboration with vocalist extraordinaire Sylwia Bialas. How did that come about?

I met Sylwia back in 2012 at the Jazz Ahead conference in Germany. We were both already aware of each other’s work at the time. Listening to her music, I particularly enjoyed her instrumental-like approach, her compositions and the fact that she was singing in her native language (Polish). We both wanted to collaborate in some way but felt that we had to wait for the right moment when the right thing comes along. After a time of throwing ideas forth and back we finally put together this band (Sirkis/Bialas IQ), recorded an album in 2014 and started touring in the UK and Europe.

What can people expect from the breathing rhythms workshop you are running at Bristol Folk House this year?

In the ‘Breathing Rhythms’ masterclass, we will look at some of the important fundaments of being a performing musician; making the connection between our rhythmic understanding and the way we breathe and use our body.

Our understanding of Rhythm plays a crucial role in how comfortable we are playing/singing anything and the way we sound. We will be taking some basic elements from Konnakol (south Indian vocal percussion) and show how it is possible to use it to increase our rhythmic understanding and awareness.

Sylwia will look at the mechanisms of the breathing process, the types of breathing and their connection to our movement while playing, its importance and how we can use it to create a relaxed state from which creativity can flow playing any instrument as well as singing.

Asaf Sirkis/Sylwia Bialas IQ join us at the Festival on Sat 17 March in The Lantern. They are also running a MASTERCLASS at Bristol Folk House. You can claim 20% off the masterclass when booking both. Speak to Colston Hall Box Office for booking on 0117 203 4040.