We're honoured to have received the Special Prize for 'Best Band' at EUROPAfest 13th Bucharest International Jazz Competition. We had a wonderful time in Bucharest admiring the architecture, checking out the local food, and meeting and playing with so many brilliant musicians throughout the course of the competition. Of course, we are hugely indebted to Cy Donkin (@cydonkin) for bringing his sticks all the way to Bucharest with us - we couldn't imagine a more committed and creative drummer to step in while Pat was on tour.
Photos from the finals haven't made it out yet, so here's a little snap from our first set in the semi-finals!
Our congratulations go out to Grand Prize winners Entropy (Italy) and our co-finalists Masala Quartet (Russia) and Saygili Autschbach Duo (Germany), and we urge every reader to go and have a listen to their incredible music. These musicians were like family to us throughout the competition and we can't wait to come back to Europe and play with them again! (We might even attempt a few of their tunes at our next gig.)
Dominique Pendleton from UNSW wrote a great cover of our experience which includes an interview with our guitarist Eitan. You can read it here.
Thank you to everyone who supported us on this trip: our mentors at UNSW School of the Arts and Media including Dr Sandy Evans, Dr Alister Spence, Dr John Napier, and Dr Manolete Mora; our donors through the Australian Cultural Fund; supporters at our March fundraiser concert; UNSW Creative Practice Lab team; Prof. David Blaazer, Dean of UNSW School of the Arts and Media; Annabelle Riger Bregovic and Kyle Hughes from Newsworthy; Dominique Pendleton and Shashma Bonnet-Rooke from UNSW Media and Content; drummer Steve Wright and all of the musicians and volunteers at EUROPAfest; and many others who have aided us on our way to Bucharest and back.
There is one point we'd like to raise: while our own experience of Bucharest International was mostly sunshine, we regret that other competitors did not have such a pleasant experience. The EUROPAfest secretariat has shown some serious issues regarding their organisation, attitude and moral conduct, and for this reason we unfortunately cannot recommend this competition to other musicians. At least, for no purpose other than international performance experience and peer networking around the globe.
Benjamin Gobinet, a fantastic pianist we met through the competition, created a detailed run-down of many of the major issues competitors experienced at various stages of the competition. We urge anyone considering their application to the competition to watch the video below.