Radio Student, Slovenia

DRUYD: Dronas (Digiland Records, 2010)
Saturday, 22. 1. 2011 19:00


Among the multitude of excellent albums that came forth in the past year, Dronas, the firstborn of the Croatian-Australian group Druyd, surprisingly laid somewhere in a corner. With these astral aboriginal stories you depart for a meditation. You fly over the spatial dimensions within a few minutes and listen to the weightlessness of infinite space, the waves of the deep sea and the mystique of a yet deeper forest. Druyd is a breathing teacher and balm for the ears. The didgeridooish noisy siren announced the departure of the ship. Enter the doors on 89.3 (MHz)!


“Tisuću gromova neće nadgrmiti snagu tvojih novih glasova!” “Nor thousand thunders will out-thunder your new voice power!” Druyd is the name of the band, which registers Zagreb as their home address, and Dronas is the title of this exceptional debut record, whose instrumental foundations are based on an unconventional terrain – the didgeridoo tribal rhythms, the Mediterranean warmth of acoustic guitars, and medieval mysticism of the female vocals. The central character in this three-member group is Dubravko Lapaine – Du, who established his name in solo appearances at the European didgeridoo festivals. He is a man who knows how to blow his thoughts through a hollow piece of wood and breathe new life into this dead object. It is impossible to describe Druyd using only the label of world music. However, since it is in our nature to stamp our people into stereotypes – otherwise, we would not purchase letterboxes in our homes and would have everything scattered on the floor – we will try to put him in a unilateral triangle made of ethnic, ambiental, and new age. The Heavy Wood band, as they call themselves, launches you from their platform into hypnotizing spins and wanderings without destinations – because there is actually no finite objective – only contrasts between galaxies. Between light and dark, fairies and witches, the moon and the sun, birth and death, female and male aspect… to look for an exact reference for this band is an ungratifying task. Certainly we will not be wrong to say that Druyd continues in a good tradition of Croatian folk bands in its new guises. The seals, that were struck by the dark tribal Legen and her son Kries, under the command of Mojmir Novaković, the sentimental lyrical “kajkavke” of Lidija Bajuk and Dunja Knebl, and jazzy Istrian Tamara Obrovac, to which we raise a toast with a carafe of “Istrian supa”!, have not yet dried out. They have contributed much to the success of the fusion tradition and modern components of rock, pop, jazz and techno. Druyd continues this train composition, but it is somehow moving aside, they sit in a separate compartment. The difference between them and those mentioned above is that Druyd does not draw from Croatian tradition, it does not work on “hits from the past centuries”, modified, processed and plastically embellished too many times already, but it creates from scratch. It creates an unusual sound imagery and rarely abides by regular structures in songs. Abrupt shifts from one space and time to others are not rare. They are like passages from reality to dreamtime – not to dreams, but as in Aboriginal beliefs, to another, parallel reality. Objects from all places and from different viewing angles, as in the Borges’ Aleph, will be flying towards you at the same time, or you the listener will be flying against them.


Let’s get back to the tradition. Rather than the Croatian, Druyd would have contact points with Celtic musical traditions, which echo on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, in the misty sea among lost souls within sacred forests and ruins of ancient cities, that is where the introductory song Daorson leads us. Portugal is a place in old mother Europe where the sun goes down last, and the song Valso de Sufokato, sung in Esperanto and played with melodicas, could be without a doubt attributed to the sad fado of Madredeus, to Teresa Salgueiro and her voice. The singing of Mary Crnković-Pilaš aka BlackMary, who knits on stage during the instrumental tracks!!!, could easily be compared with druidic verses memorized by heart. Those ancient thinkers, healers and magicians, and especially mediators of the gods in the Celtic and Gallic tribes, were scattered all over Albion, and they, just as the band which we are getting to know today, paid much attention to elements of nature. Together with Merlin and the famous magical druid from Asterix, Druyd has joined the list of the famous ones. Their story is strongly infused with Gothic elements, which were significant for pop and art rock bands from a not too distant musical history. Some common features would be found with Jethro Tull and their folk phases in the album Heavy Horses. And then there is the Irish folk band De Danann, whose singer, notice the odds, had the mirrored the name of Druyd’s first voice – that is to say Mary Black Vs. BlackMary! And speaking about the vocal, the common denominator is found in the British pop Gothic lyric Miranda Sex Garden from the eighties, and especially on the album Fairytales of Slavery, but also in All About Eve in some sequences. Unwinding The Wind begins with a slow lyrical avalanche of Cocteau Twins, and then moves to the wandering of Macedonian Mizar. Australia obviously bears something in itself – down under is the inspiration to which the trans electronic musician Kiril Džajkovski flew to, and ultimately Lisa Gerrard comes from there. But we can forget about all these, because in their music did not use the didgeridoos, which occupy an honorary place in the band Druyd and covers all the rhythms of music.


Finally we should mention the rest of the co-creators. The third is Ivan Uravić – Ur on acoustic guitar and tamburicas, as well as Igor Ratković – Yr as coauthor of the compositions. The producer Hrvoje Nikšić contributed in knitting the soundscape, known for the cooperation with local underground bands such as Petrol from Belgrade, and Andy Jackson, a former producer of the Pink Floyd and the album Tubular Bells.


prepared by Robert Suša
Radio Student, Slovenia @ 89.3MHz

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