Drawing from a multitude of influences ranging from elegant classical and jazz styles to the rawest, most basic blues, country and soul, Radoslav Lorković has taken on an unusually broad musical spectrum and refined it into his distinctive piano style. His tenure on the R&B and folk circuits has culminated in five critically acclaimed solo recordings and numerous appearances on the recordings of and performances with artists including Odetta, Jimmy LaFave, Ribbon of Highway Woody Guthrie Tribute, Greg Brown, Richard Shindell, Ellis Paul, Ronny Cox, Dave Moore, Andy White, and Bo Ramsey. His thirty year touring career has led him from the taverns of the upper Mississippi River to the castles of Italy, The Canary Islands, The Yup’ik villages of Alaska, The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.Born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1958, Lorković’s initial exposure to music can be attributed to two grandmothers. Antonija, his maternal Grandmother, sang him Croatian, Slovenian and Czech folk songs since birth. At age one he was reported to be singing back on pitch. By age three he was putting on floor shows for his grandfather and friends who would respond by showering him with coins yelling “pivaj Radoslav pivaj!” During this time classical music played in the home constantly due to the influence of his paternal grandmother Melita Lorković, a internationally renown classical pianist. After this blend of central European musical influences Radoslav moved to the United States at age six. He had a foothold on a classical music career when at age fourteen he was sidetracked by a blues scale that a friend had taught him.
After several years and countless hours of expounding on this spark, Lorković began touring at age 20 with Bo Ramsey and the Sliders. Lorković entered the band having mastered the styles of boogie-woogie greats such as Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Freddie Slack etc.. Ramsey’s influence drove Lorković deeper to the core of the blues. The music of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Little Walter shifted Lorković’s focus to the basics as he began to draw from the styles of Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins. Several years later Lorković and Ramsey joined forces with Greg Brown adding musical authenticity to his deep Iowa Roots. At this time Lorković was simultaneously brushing up on his classical heritage and looking south to the polyrhythmic sounds of Professor Longhair and James Booker. He had picked up Tex-Mex and Zydeco accordion as well. In 1990 he made his solo recording debut. Six CDs later, Lorković currently tours the world regularly appearing at prestigious events such as the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, WOMAD, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa folk festivals, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Mountain Stage, Prairie Home Companion, eTown as well as a litany of Italian castles and villas.
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1: What artist would you most love to work with?
That is tough. I have imagined myself in many bands through the years. Turning back time, I see myself in Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty tour, Grateful Dead throughout the 70's and Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band in the late 70's.
2: What instrument brings you the most joy?
A Steinway D
3: What was the worst advice?
Don’t quit your day job. I never had a day job, thankfully!
4: What was your first concert?
Grateful Dead, 1973
5: What/where is the best road food?
Anywhere and everywhere in Italy. No contest.
6: What’s the best music advice you ever got?
A one off piano lesson in France. If it’s not effortless, it’s wrong.
7: Who is your most surprising inspiration?
James Booker. I stumbled upon him while I was studying Professor Longhair. He is the consummate master of what I try to do pianistically.