Monday 24 October 2016

Jablokov Brothers set to pluck at the heartstrings

Violin virtuosos Vladimir & Anton tell our reporter about how they used to fight a lot, and meeting Michael O'Leary at their concert, despite the fact they refuse to fly Ryanair. . .

Published 19/09/2016 | 02:30

Slovakian violin virtuosos Vladimir (left) and Anton Jablokov
Slovakian violin virtuosos Vladimir (left) and Anton Jablokov

Brotherly brawls were de rigeur for Noel and Liam Gallagher in Oasis. They were only following Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks in the late 1960s and 1970s. Ray allegedly once stabbed Dave in the chest with a fork in a restaurant because he tried to steal a chip. . .

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"In a family with six children we used to fight a lot when we were growing up," says Anton Jablokov, one-half of souped-up Slovakian violin virtuosos Vladimir & Anton.

"As we've got older it has gradually evaporated. At the moment we have a very relaxed/comfortable relationship between all of us. We argue a lot when we practice or discuss some plans but we are laughing at it 30 seconds later."

To lighten the mood, I ask them for some funny stories.

"About a year ago," begins Anton, who is studying at the acclaimed Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland, "I was playing a very serious concert in a prestigious concert hall in Lucern as a member of Opernball Orchestra. Five minutes before the start, I noticed I had forgotten my concert shoes. Luckily, my dad, who played there as well, having a bit more experience with such situations, gave me a great advice. In the end, I put two pairs of black socks over my runners. It looked really stylish. People who were further than 3 metres away from me did not notice the peculiar situation I was in."

"Anton is a bit forgetful," claims Vladimir, the elder of the two. "Apart from his socks, he managed to leave his violin at home last year. After two hours of driving to Wexford for a concert, he realised that his violin case is too light. His first thought was that the fitness training he just started was making him much stronger. After that he opened the case, just to be sure, and found out it was empty. We had to drive back to Kildare and arrived to the show just five minutes before the start of the show."

Last year, Michael O'Leary attended their show in Mullingar. This is intriguing on many levels, but perhaps most of all because Anton had once said in an interview that they never fly Ryanair because their violins are 300 years old.

"He was very friendly and affable," says Anton. "In respect to Ryanair, I avoid flying with them, because they have very strict policies on instruments on board. If I was not a musician, I would probably reconsider my decision because they do offer some good deals."

"I have met Michael on a few occasions," says Vladimir, who lives in Dublin with his wife and three kids. "Last year he invited me to his house with my wife and kids. I really respect him as a family man. In relation to his business side, I think he is one of the most clever and successful people around, but . . . you can't please everyone."

On the foot of releasing their new album, Vladimir & Anton Live, the duo are about to begin a major Irish tour: starting on October 4 at The Stock House in Trim, stopping off at the National Convert Hall on October 26 before, among many other dates, finishing up at the Wexford Arts Centre on December 4.

Asked what is the biggest misconception people have about Vladimir & Anton, Anton says: "When people hear that we are two guys playing violin, they might imagine a long and boring concert of classical music. What we did with our new album was to take Russian folk melodies, which are very simple, well known and catchy, and we arranged them as if they were romantic and virtuosic classical compositions. When we come up with the arrangements, we are trying to out do each other and push each other to come up with something better and better."

With two pairs of black socks worn over runners. . . Tickets for all shows are on sale now, see for full details

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