The jubilee Vilnius Jazz inaugurates a new line Vilnius Jazz Extra Line, which presents Magic Mushrooms, a group well known to club audience. In three years of its existence the group has defined its route – its “magic mushrooms” display hints of acid jazz, funk, disco, hip-hop; in addition to original compositions the group plays Tower of Power, Freak Power, The Prince and Liquid Soul repertoire as well as jazz compositions. Last year Magic Mushrooms became a laureate of the first Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition.
The groupinvolves eight like-minded stage-seasoned individuals – students of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Vilnius College of Higher Education.
Elena Neniškytė enhances Magic Mushrooms’ musical fabric with her exceptional vocal. A student at the Vilnius College of Higher Education she has gathered her stage experience in groups No Problem, Juvelyrika, The Chemicals, Fuse Factor, Mushitakta, as well as in gospel choir Sounds in G.
Saxophonist Vygintas Kisevičius pursues Master Degree under P.Vyšniauskas at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. He is a participant and winner of classical and jazz competitions including Jazz Hope (second prize, 2005) and the International Jazz Saxophone Competition in Latvia (first prize).
V. Kisevičius is a versatile saxophonist at home not only with jazz, but also academic and club music. He has played in student formations – Karoliniškės Big Band, Lithuanian Academy of Music Big Band; is a member of group Pieno Lazeriai; has collaborated with Dmitrij Golovanov, Tomas Dobrovolskis, and Andrė Pabarčiūtė among others.
Magic Mushrooms’ trumpeter Justas Keliuotis, a student at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, also appears in various jazz projects.
Since Paulius Volkovas, a student at the Vilnius College of Higher Education, has traded his first instrument, piano, for guitar at the age 14, he has played in groups NT Swing and Jazz_Hop Community, participated in various jazz projects including V.Chekasin’s April Charon’s Pizza, presented at the Birštonas Jazz 2006.
Keyboardist Dmitrij Golovanov, one of the leading Lithuanian jazzmen of young generation, joined Magic Mushrooms this year.
Julius Valančiauskas has started playing bass guitar in 2002. He is at ease in both jazz and rock music. Active musician as he is he plays in alternative rock groups IR and Caramel Members. With the latter he has won the Brodvėjus Star 2005 and Eurorock 2005 competitions and was nominated the best instrumentalist. He plays jazz with 2Good, The Faces, project Jam in the Box, which has made appearance at the St. Christopher Summer Festival earlier this year.
Brothers Gediminas Augustaitis and Mantas Augustaitis are responsible for Magic Mushroom’s rhythm.
Drummer Gediminas Augustaitis has kept Magic Mushrooms’ pulse since the group’s very inception. He studied at the Kaunas J.Gruodis Conservatoire and the Vilnius College of Higher Education. Currently, he is furthering his education at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Since he had switched from piano to percussion at the age 18, he has played in various punk-rock groups as well as projects with his brother Mantas.
Mantas Augustaitis has joined Magic Mushrooms last year. Like his brother, he has traded his first instrument, accordion, for drums at the age 18. Since then, he has played in a number of groups including The Bray, Black Bishop, Life Style, A Perfect Day for Bannana Fish, Mutabor and Resound. With UAB Music he took part at the International Kaunas Jazz Festival. He also played in group Curtain of the Rain, a laureate of the first Vilnius Jazz Young Power competition. The drummer has played with gospel choir Sounds in G, and vocalist Valentina Jaronskaja. He collaborates with DJs as well as his brother Gediminas. Mantas has garnered a prize at the Young Jazz Performers Competition in Vilnius (2003), and claimed Grand Prix with group Groovin’ High at the Jazz Fountain competition in Panevėžys (2005).
© Jūratė Kučinskaitė