From an article first published in Easdale People magazine, Issue No 22, Spring/Summer 2005.
The fiery fiddles from the two Russians, Lev Atlas and Oleg Ponomarev, plus fluid yet driving guitar from the Scot Nigel Clark served up emotionally charged, expertly played, gypsy jazz.
But these were not just three stunning virtuosi going through the motions: this was a passionate, soulful yet very playful and humorous performance. A mesmerizing treat.
The vodka's in the freezer for your next visit, guys.
Their first major show was played to a packed Tron Theatre in November 2001 and they have since performed around the UK and Ireland, with appearances at Oran Mor during West End Festival, Glasgow International Jazz Festival and Celtic Connections Festival (where they received the accolade of being the only act to receive two standing ovations at the Old Fruitmarket).
They have also guested with Aly Bain during the Edinburgh Festival in 2002 and composed the official song for Holocaust Memorial Day 2002, which they performed at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Nigel Clark is one of Scotland's best known jazz guitarists. He performs regularly with Carol Kidd and the Scottish Guitar Quartet. He has recently signed an exclusive contract with the legendary New York jazz label Arcadia Records. Intricate fretwork and dynamic stylings have become the trademarks of Nigel Clark's playing.
Oleg Ponomarev was born in Habarovsk, Russia and is perhaps best known for his role in Loyko, the renowned gypsy group who achieved international fame in the 90's. Ponomarev is a consummate musician who has won many international awards, and whose intense stage presence and mastery of both violin and guitar have won him fans and critical acclaim all over the world
Lev Atlas has had a distinguished career as a classical musician. He was a member of the award-winning Rostov String Quartet and the Rachmaninov Trio and is currently Principal Viola of the Scottish Opera Orchestra. He is also renowned as a virtuoso Klezmer and Eastern European folk music performer.
KOSHKA's claim to Celtic Connections fame is as the only group to receive two standing ovations at this year's festival's late-night club... Mostly...the trio get on with the business of being virtuosos.The pace varies from doleful, soulful, very Russian ballad through rhythms that quicken with the deliberation of a steam train into blurry fingered stuff that's still played with the great feeling." GLASGOW HERALD
"The charming Lev Atlas, fiery Oleg Ponomarev and Nigel Clarke are all virtuosi;the violins agile and by turns soaring and brooding, the guitar astoundingly fluent with a plectrum on nylon strings. Gypsy jazz, achingly beautiful Russian airs,
cafi-style music, and some pieces in homage to the Hot Club style of Grapelli and Reinhardt. In the wrong hands, playing like that can degenerate into a flash showcase for
virtuosity,but all three have their hearts in the music, and while their copious abilities are necessary to play their material, they never overshadow the communication" BBC Scotland