LilFest Presents Radoslav Lorkovic in Mount Vernon, Iowa
As Iowans, we should read the deep story about this extraordinary performer. The best I've found is MICHAEL GRANBERRY / The Dallas Morning News, April 2010.
Obsession and passion are concepts that Radoslav Lorkovic fully understands. But in his case, theyre often tangled up in a single instrument: the piano.
Born in Zagreb, Lorkovic and his family moved to London when he was 5, then to Minnesota a year later. Three years after that, they ended up in Iowa, where his father became a renowned academician. By fifth grade in Iowa City, everyone was calling him the Beav.
It wasnt even a vague resemblance, he says over a sandwich at a downtown Dallas Starbucks, before banging the keys at Poor Davids. It was like I had walked off with Jerry Mathers head. Look at my fifth-grade picture, and its the same guy. People thought I was Jerry Mathers.
As his musical homies say, the Lorkovic folklore is all tied up in his prowess on the piano and his placement in an extraordinary family. Hes the second of three children, whose father, neurophysiologist Hrvoje Lorkovi, wrote a landmark paper during the 1960s that scientists considered such an enormous breakthrough it enabled him and his family to flee the tyranny of Titos Yugoslavia.
Lorkovic's mother, Tatjana Lorkovic, is the curator of the Slavic, East European and Central Asian collections at the Yale University library. His older sister excelled at modern dance and choreography before becoming a publisher and writer, and his younger brother is a chemist with a degree from MIT.
Tatjana Lorkovic remembers Radoslav the toddler as a little crawler who, when listening to Mussorgskys Pictures at an Exhibition, would begin to sing.
She remembers a son who was gifted at playing Bach and Mozart but who, once the teen years arrived, caromed in a different direction. I fell in love, he says, with my little green transistor radio, and of course, Top 40.
Soon, his mom says, he started going to bars, and I was petrified. I thought, Bars, thats the end of it. He'll start drinking. And then I started going to these dives to hear him.
Over the years, Mama Lorkovic has heard him play in such dives with the likes of Iowas Greg Brown, who helped him appear on Garrison Keillors A Prairie Home Companion. When Keillor came to Yale, he roared to Ms. Lorkovic, So, youre the mother of that incredible blues player!
Her son, she surmises, inherited his piano passion from his paternal grandmother, who during her day was the premier pianist of Yugoslavia. His great-grandfather was one of the great conductors of Eastern Europe. But from adolescence on, his passion took a sharp turn from Mozart and Bach to the Grateful Dead, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker and Jackson Browne.
As a young performer, he cut his teeth with the Cody Jarrett Band and Bo Ramsey, before playing piano for such gifted singer-songwriters as Greg Brown and Richard Shindell. He met LaFave during the 1990s and moved to Austin in 2005. Around that time, he also became a valuable sideman to the late blues great Odetta.
Odetta, he says, stands alone. She is by far the best musician I have ever played with. She taught me so much about music, not so much in words, but in gestures, directions, stares, even smiles, and all with her sense of grace.
Rad's most recent reviews have been in foreign languages, especially Italian. A European record company has released stunning new remakes of his compositions and repertoire of covers.
It's hard to catch up with Rad, as he performs on cruise ships filled with his fans, tours with Ronny Cox (Deliverance), Ellis Paul and Shawn Mullins. Indeed he is in great demand as a recording session musician, both in the US and abroad.
His last solo concert in Mount Vernon was eight years ago. Don't miss this one!
Uptown Theatre of the First Street Community Center (View)
221 1st St. NE
Mount Vernon, IA 52314
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