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Portrait of Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun

Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun


About Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun

Charlottesville, VA

“This duo is a force. The music comes from the heart, and bristles with excitement and inventiveness… Much of the country and world hasn’t tuned in yet, but they will. One listen is all it takes.” 
-Aer Stephen (“Folk & Beyond” WTJU)

A sound that's hard to describe, yet impossible to forget.  With a cutting edge vibe that explodes with originality and soulful expression, Morwenna & Jay's music redefines the acoustic origins of violin and guitar. Both graduates of Berklee College of Music, the Violin & Guitar duo started playing together in 2004 and have continued to push the boundaries of "acoustic" music.  The release of their highly anticipated 2nd CD “Chioggia Beat,” illustrates their ability to reinvent the limits of their instruments and in the process produce a lush range of original work that is sure to move your soul and mind. A worldly mix of 12 brand new tunes, the album showcases Morwenna and Jay's heartfelt composition skills, and their knack for introducing unexpected musical tangents and motifs in a way that keeps you wanting more.   The CD features their signature duo sound, their full band, as well as a few special guest musicians such as legendary world artist Pierre Bensusan, soul singer Ezra Hamilton, and Dave Matthews Band trumpeter Rashawn Ross.

Morwenna is one of the most original and creative violinists of today. After seeing Itzhak Perlman on Seasame Street at age 3, she begged her mom for a violin and began lessons shortly thereafter. As a child, she studied  classical music with Richard Errante and also played in a band that she and her father co-founded called Cafe Musette that focused on Gypsy Swing, Celtic, and other genres. Morwenna graduated early from high-school to attend Berklee College of Music in 2000 where she continued her studies in Jazz, Bluegrass, and other styles and graduated in 2003. At Berklee, she was honored to have shared the stage with such greats as Brian Blade, Charlie Hayden, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Over time, Morwenna has developed her own unique sound and tone, that is simply unmistakable.  She plays with purpose and sincerity, and has often been compared to the great jazz violinist Stuff Smith and the haunting sounds of Scottish fiddler, Johnny Cunningham. 

Jay began to study classical piano at the age of 5 and soon after decided to move on to drum lessons. The guitar was picked up accidentally in some sense, when his middle school band member did not show up to rehearsal and someone needed to fill in.  Jay put down his drum sticks, picked up a guitar, and soon discovered a passion for the guitar.  During high-school he studied with jazz/blues guitarist Jamal Millner and became fascinated with funk music when he discovered the sound of groups like Parliament Funkadelic and The Meters.  One day, his Spanish teacher told him that world renowned finger-style guitarist, Pierre Bensusan was playing a show in town and suggested that he should attend.  After that concert Jay’s perception of how the guitar was played and what one could extract from the instrument changed forever.  He was so taken by the performance that he later studied with Bensusan at an intensive master class held in Chateau Thierry, France.  After graduating high-school, Jay moved straight to Boston, MA to enroll at Berklee College of Music where he studied songwriting, music business, and performance.  Jay plays with deep emotion and clarity and his sound is often compared to the late great Michael Hedges.

It wasn’t until the last semester at Berklee during a “Music of India” class, where Morwenna and Jay met. After becoming friends and discussing similar interests in music, Jay told Morwenna about the Charlottesville, VA music scene (of which he is a native) and they both moved there in the fall of 2003. They immediately started teaching private lessons, doing session work, and playing in a few different projects. They soon discovered that playing music together and working on their original work as a duo was much more fulfilling.  With no one telling them what or how to play, they discovered a creative freedom that only comes from stepping beyond the confines of genre music.  Thus began their amazing creative journey. 2 albums & hundreds of shows later, they are making a mark on this world with their explosive music. Blending together World, Jazz, Funk, Blues and more, these trailblazers continue to push the envelope and will not stop.

“We don’t describe our music, it’s just us and we’re not trying to be anything other than that.”

Together, they have shared shows with such greats as Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, Dave Matthews Band, Avett Brothers, Toubab Krewe, The Duhks, Frank Vignola Quintet, Jesse Colin Young, Ralph Stanley, Corey Harris, Ben Taylor, and more. They've also had the great pleasure and honor to play at some wonderful festivals and clubs such as FloydFest, Bristol's Rhythm & Roots, The Prism Coffeehouse, Club Passim, Eddie's Attic, Down Home, and the list goes on...

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Portrait of Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun
Morwenna Lasko & Jay Pun
 
 
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