Catch-Pop String-Strong

The ability to build new forms from miscellaneous components, using wit and virtuosity as mortar, is a remarkable skill, a skill which Jelena Popržan and Rina Kaçinari have honed to perfection: one is a Serbian, the other a Kosovo Albanian, and together the play Bach, traditional music from the Balkans or the Scottish highlands, pop songs, as well as own compositions resounding with a multitude of different influences, and beautifully so.
In their music Catch-Pop String-Strong combine stories and interpretations from different places, eras and angles. Equipped with a cello, a viola, their voices and as much respect as necessary they build bridges between different cultures, across centuries and musical traditions, and they do it all with a light-footedness and natural easethat is simply amazing.

Jelena Popržan
I remember how disappointed I was when I was a nine-year old girl at music school and they told me to practice scales, rather than the accompaniment to any of the songs in the pop music charts at the time. I never did get that pop star training, but I did keep my airs, so eventually I became a viola player.
Later on I (fortunately) moved from Serbia to Austria to go to university, and I still live, love and work here.

Rina and I worked together on developing my first non-classical musical project. This album is the fruit of our three-year collaboration, and also a thumbs-up to continuing on our creative way.

Rina Kaçinari
I was born into a family in whose life music played an important part, as their third and youngest child. My father, who worked as a composer, conductor and pedagogue, was among the Kosovo Albanian musicians who first began to establish a classical music scene in Kosovo. My mother wanted to become a classical singer, but unfortunately that was practically impossible for a womanin 1960s Kosovo.

When I was seven years old my siblings were already studying the piano and the violin. My father wanted to found a family trio, so he persuaded me to start learning cello, because if I did that, so he told me, I would always be able to buy myself plenty of chocolate.

My first go on the cello was an improvisation; it convinced me that I already knew how to play the instrument.
Many years have passed since that time.

After university and after countless (or too many) Italian operas, I decided to go my own way. It has led me to many wonderful projects combining jazz, tango and world music. This is how I have learned most of the things I know, and the things I have always wanted to learn.
By the way, where’s that chocolate?

Catch-Pop String-Strong are the winners of the Austrian World Music AdvancementAward 2011.


Photo: Maria Frodl
A magnificent second album of this highly acclaimed female duo: Jelena Popržan and Rina Kaçinari! 
The cult band from Vienna demonstrate a disregard of musical boundaries to delight the ears of their listeners. A truly colorful col legno highlight of 2012! 
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