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Joe Zawinul Site - Musicians
Lelo Nika

Lelo Nika

Lelo Nika with the Zawinul Special Project in L'Aquila (Italy), August 25 of 2000
Photo by Marco Piretti


There is really no point in trying to describe the artistry of I.elo Nika. Even if you try your best to find the right words, even if you are totally amazed by this young artist after having heard and seen him. you will never be able to communicate your innermost feelings to somebody who has not yet been initiated. Calling Lelo a "master" only seems idle and banal. To fully understand, you must experience Lelo Nika yourself

Lelo Nika is way beyond technical challenges ad virtuosity. He is one hundred per cent expression, But it is nat only about expressing feelings; sudden changes from sorrow into joy. from dispair into victory, from melancholy into euphoria, are also conveyed by other musicians from various genres. Lelo Nika gives you something more. Through his instrument he gives birth to stories that fire your imagination even if you should happen to be quite unimaginative. Glimpses of the past Balkan places, people on the run jealousy, happiness, misery and celebration. Brilliantly colourful pictures are succeeded by sober haze, dream and reality become one.

Lelo Nika's background is as varied as his musical palette. He is by origin a Serbian gypsy but has adopted Romanian traditions through his roots in the polyethnic village of Nikolinci, eighty kilometers north-east of Belgrade, where the majority Is Romanian. In 1970, the one-year-old Lelo moved with his parents to Denmark and settled in Helsingør. Today. he lives in Malmo in the south of Sweden. At the age of five Lelo Nika got his first accordion from his father, who is also an accordionist and whose family is well known for its gypsy music traditions passed down through generations. Lelo was brought up wlth music as a natural everyday element, music was a way of life a way al communicating, irrespective ot situation, place or hour. Techical qualities were never ends in themselves, simply means to attain total expression, His father was Nika's first accordion teacher and brought his son to Yugoslavia when he was ten years old. Lelo stayed there for three years, studying under the Serbian accordionist Branimir Dokic and going deeply into Slavic and Romanian culture. There is no doubt that this stay in Yugoslavia played a crucial part in Lelo Nika's progress, both as a musician and a human being. But a single person that has been very important for Lelo Nika is his father's teacher. Mr. Ionel Corneanu, who was very demanding and taught Lelo once and for all the meaning of discipline.

Lelo Nika plays music from the whole of the Balkan but in his very own way, based on a particular groove that is typical of modern Romanian gypsy music. He has also performed and recorded with jazz celebrities such as Adam Nussbaum, Jerry Bergonzi, Randy Brecker, Jan Ralke and Manolo Badrena. He has competed twice in the Accordion World Championship and won both times. Just make yourself comfortable "If you can sit still" and let yourself be seduced by one of the greatest accordion phenomenons of our times.


Lelo Nika Biography courtesy of [C] dB Productions Sweden Inc. / Erik Nilsson

Thanks to: Gea Marotta (Emmeci Srl)




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