A Hawk and a Hacksaw

Cult New Mexican folk duo comprising Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost.


'The passion they imbue into their performances seems to know no bounds' — Pitchfork

A Hawk and A Hacksaw began in Saumur, France, in 2002, by Jeremy Barnes, the drummer of Neutral Milk Hotel, who, being completely burnt out on playing the drums, picked up the accordion and became obsessed with folk music from Romania, Hungary, the former Yugoslavia, and Turkey. The band’s name is a reference to Don Quixote, intended as a reminder that while the path chosen is a fool’s quest, there is always the possibility of beauty and discovery along the way.

In 2004 Barnes moved home to New Mexico, and met his partner in life and music, violinist Heather Trost. Their first conversation was about Bela Bartok. The pair toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, and eventually further afield, to Brazil, Turkey, Australia, Japan. They released a good amount of recordings in an era when CDs were sold at shows and one could carry a large amount of them in carry on luggage. In 2005, they helped a fellow native New Mexican, Zach Condon get a record deal, and played on his debut album. He named his project Beirut. That same year, Barnes traveled to the far Northeast of Romania, to the Roma village of Zece Prajini, where he recorded with the brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia. Barnes and Trost moved to Hungary in 2006 and worked extensively with four Hungarian folk musicians, Ferenc Kovacs, Béla Ágoston, Zsolt Kürtösi, Unger Balázs. They moved back to New Mexico in late 2008 and continued touring, working with a variety of musicians from different parts of Europe and the U.S. They were finally able to play in Bucharest in 2010. In 2011 and ’12, they toured cinemas with a new soundtrack to Sergei Parajanov’s classic film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.

'What’s really interesting is the way (they) are now alchemising their global travels and influences into something personal' — The Wire

Barnes and Trost began releasing their own records and releases from around the world on their label Living Music Duplication around this time. They worked with Turkish Roma clarinetist Cüneyt Sepetçi, the Sayat Nova Project, former Taraf De Haidouks accordionist Marin Sandu, Thor Harris, and Calexico drummer John Convertino, among others. In 2015, they were worked with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Berlin based classical ensemble Stargaze on larger orchestrations of their music, and curated the Transmissions festival in Ravenna, Italy.


Mark Slater