The Family Elan was christened by Chris Hladowski in 2006, being the natural culmination of many hours spent in solitude, both writing songs and attempting to develop an intuitive approach to music making based on the myriad traditions of the long-necked lute. The debut album, Stare of Dawn, consists of spiraling free form yet rooted originals with Hladowski playing bouzouki, baglamas, violin, clarinet, and guitar, alongside various percussion instruments, and Hanna Tuulikki on recorder and flute. The songs range from instrumental modal wanderings with themes such as cascading waterfalls, to folk-inflected tales of friendship and seduction. It was recorded by John Cavanagh (Phosphene) at his home in Muirend, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Since the recording of the album several forays have been made into the murky world of live performance.
Elan derives much inspiration from devotional and folk music traditions. The tanbur playing of the Kurdish Sufi mystic Ostad Elahi and Âshyq songs of the Azerbaijani sâz master Edalat Nasibov spring immediately to mind, alongside the rawer, more percussive sounds of the Yayla musicians of the Eastern Black Sea region – who fashion reed instruments from young pine saplings - like Hasan Yïldïrïm (who plays the violin like a drum) and Hayri Dev. The music of the Rebetes of early twentieth century Greece is an obvious benchmark, alongside more recent European folk revivalists like the Hungarian band Muzsikás. Other signposts might include the bouzouki inventions of Anne Briggs and the musical tapestries of the Incredible String Band. There is also a ‘pop’ sensibility lurking in there somewhere, though it is nigh on impossible to pin down in the conventional sense.
Hladowski grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, doing the rounds in rock and punk clubs in Bradford and Leeds before moving to Glasgow in 2001. He was a founding member and songwriter with Scatter, who released two albums, Surprising Sing Stupendous Love (Pickled Egg/Cenotaph), and The Mountain Announces (Blank Tapes) and has enjoyed many a fine ale with the folk-rock band Lucky Luke, playing on their debut album Patrick the Survivor (Invada). He met Hanna Tuulikki in 2004, and alongside Aby Vulliamy they began playing as Nalle, who have so far released one album - By Chance Upon Waking (Pickled Egg) - with a follow-up due on Locust this coming winter. Hladowski also plays in The One Ensemble, who have released two CDs - Live at VPRO (Brainwashed Handmade Series) and Wayward The Fourth (Secret Eye/Daffodelic) - and also the Mystery Water Saloon Boys, who have released three cdrs (on the now defunct Memoirs of an Aesthete and 23 Productions)
Hanna Tuulikki is now a full time member of the Family Elan, and the two young troubadours hope to get out on the open road as often as possible.
chris hladowski, bouzouki, baglamas, violin, clarinet, and guitar
Hanna Tuulikki, flute