Started as a solo project in 2000 by accordionist and drummer Jeremy Barnes (former member of indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel) and named after a line in Cervantes’ Don Quixote, A Hawk and A Hacksaw became a duo in 2004 when Barnes met violinist Heather Trost. The pair began an adventure that took them to Budapest, Hungary where they lived for two years and met/toured with some of the region’s finest folk musicians, as well as countless US & European tours both on their own and with fans including Portishead, Swans and fellow New Mexico resident Beirut (whose Gulag Orkestar album they performed on and helped bring to wider attention). Joined by an ever expanding and contracting line-up of musicians, AHAAH seeks to create and document an ecstatic sound much like the village bands of old, with the communal aspect of folk tradition and musicianship the key factor.
In 2012, Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost scored a live soundtrack to the unforgettable and inspirational 1964 film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by the legendary Ukranian director Sergey Paradjanov. They took the soundtrack on tour, accompanying the film live, and performed in cinemas and theatres. New double album You Have Already Gone To The Other World: Music Inspired By Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (released March 2013) is the product of those tours and the evolution of the soundtrack into something that can stand on its own: a record of new compositions and traditional folk tunes that have been inspired by the surreal folk magic of the film, sprinkled with the wondrous music and foley from this piece of cinematic history.
Produced by John Dieterich of Deerhoof, this is the first AHAAH album in a long time on which its two primary members, Barnes and Trost, play pretty much every last note (save for a couple of Dieterich guitar cameos). Yet the instrumentation is far from minimal, and the songs often explode into the rich ornamentation that one would expect from the band. Dieterich’s production values and sense of experimentation have elevated AHAAH into new territories of folk psychedelia, with the band’s own personality colouring the traditional forms they explore with such joy like never before. It’s also the bands most dynamic album since they began their Eastern European adventure, with the thundering percussion and dramatic arcs of violin on the title track being counterpointed by majestic solo pieces for hammer dulcimer (Where no horse neighs, and no crow flies) and piano (The Snow in Kryvorivnya), stately organ-led processionals (O Lord, Saint George, bewitch Ivan, make him mine) and original sound and melodies from the film woven in throughout.
“The passion they imbue into their performances seem to know no bounds” – Pitchfork
“Every time I hear them I get this warm feeling about their music” – Adrian Utley, Portishead
“(Cervantine) is an album of glorious madness and melody, played not only with skill, but with real passion.” – AllMusic
“Every note is considered and played with joy, care and a sense of craft. Together with the record’s beautiful packaging, Cervantine feels like a personal historical document, speaking to and from the soul.” – Drowned in Sound
“What’s really interesting is the way (they) are now alchemising their global travels and influences into something personal” – The Wire
No shows booked at the moment.