Simon Thacker first came to prominence as a classical guitar soloist before becoming firmly established as one of Eueope’s most accomplished cross-cultural musical voices through his world expanding ensembles. These include Svara-Kanti, a world leading Indo-Western collective which has seen him tour and collaborate for major festivals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, most recently for an audience of 60 000 in Dhaka at one of South Asia's biggest festivals, and Simon Thacker's Ritmata, his musical laboratory with three of Europe’s leading improvisers. Both groups entirely feature Simon’s music.
Simon is classical guitar tutor at Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College and has performed as soloist with many orchestras, including the RSNO.
“The music resounds-beautiful, amazing, moving the strings of the audience's souls, on which the duo play as they do on their instruments"
Justyna Jablonska has studied with Peter Dixon (Principal Cello, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra), William Conway (Hebrides Ensemble) and Eric-Maria Couturier (Ensemble Intercontemporain, Paris). In 2014 and 2015 she was selected for Lucerne Festival Academy, and worked alongside Sir Simon Rattle and Isabelle Faust. In 2016 Justyna was asked to be part of the Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni directed by Wolfgang Rihm, and she recently toured Switzerland with the same ensemble.
Justyna has been the recipient of numerous scholarships from The Waddell Trust in Edinburgh, as well as the RNCM scholarship and the Scholarship of The Polish Ministry of Culture.
Songs of the Roma, with Simon Thacker and Masha Natanson, premiered a new programme of Simon's Roma song reimaginings at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to five star reviews as part of the prestigious Made in Scotland showcase.
Effortlessly expansive new musical alchemy and roots reimagined from one of Scotland’s most intriguing musical figures, guitarist/composer Simon Thacker, and acclaimed Polish cellist Justyna Jablonska.
Karmana (Sanskrit for “performing anything by means of magic”) is informed by the belief in the mystical, transformative power of sound. In original compositions and radical reimaginings, Thacker unites the explosive virtuosity and effortless musicianship of two of the country’s finest contemporary performers with a lifelong devotion to embodying the creative spirit of some of the world’s deepest musical traditions, from India and the Balkans to Andalucía and Gaelic Scotland. Railing against conformity, Thacker and Jablonska recognise traditions as living forms and propel them forward to inform the present.
Their debut album features Simon's epic six movement Karmana suite, transformations of Gaelic and Polish traditions, a revelatory new frontier for Scots song in The Highland Widow’s Lament, featuring the incomparable Scots singer Karine Polwart, a unique take on the Romanian Roma song tradition with singer/violinist Masha Natanson, one of the Romany world’s finest exponents, and a genre melting trio with Indian tabla master Sarvar Sabri.