The concept behind Shofar is to carry on the Jewish musical traditions that are still alive for us, while also searching for a common denominator shared by Hasidic music and free jazz. The band consists of three leading Polish musicians: Mikolaj Trzaska (saxophone, bass clarinet), Raphael Roginski (electric guitar) and Macio Moretti (drums).
Shofar's repertoire consists of traditional Jewish sacred music. As is the case with the tradition of Torah commentaries, the music recalls different currents of religious thought. This is why Hasidic nigunim appear alongside music of the oldest temple rites, and songs of prewar cantors are followed by pieces of a more liberal orientation. The trio's repertoire includes nigunim, or religious songs meant to induce a state of religious ecstasy, freylakhs of a more dancelike nature, as well as pieces derived from Jewish liturgy. Unchanged in form, this material unlocks the whole broad spectrum of Hasidic music and culture. The impulse to pursue this area of interest was a discovery of a collection of Hasidic songs by Moshe Bieregowski (1892-1961) who, beginning in the 1920s, researched and wrote about Jewish music in Ukraine, Poland and Moldova. One of the results of his ethnomusicological research was a volume on the Hasidic tradition.
Shofar's founder Raphael Roginski was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and began playing electric guitar at the age of 13. He received both jazz and classical musical training and supplemented his education with studies of musicology and ethnomusicology. Since his earliest creative pursuits his main focus has been on jazz-influenced improvisation and folk music. As a composer and performer, he feels a powerful connection to Jewish culture and strives to include it in his work with his two bands, SHOFAR and CUKUNFT. Roginski has collaborated with many established musicians in Poland and abroad, including Noel Akchote, Frederic Blondy, Joe Giardullo, Axel Dorner, Thomas Lehn, Andrew Sharpley, John Edwards, John Tilbury, Brigit Ulher, Yale Strom, Macio Moretti, Patryk Zakrocki, Tomasz GwinciDski, Daniel PigoDski, Konstanty Usenko, Vadim O. Pavluk, Ryszard Latecki. He was a guest artist on such albums as Djazzpora, Sztetlach, Broniewski, and Meritum.
Mikolaj Trzaska - born in Gdansk, saxophonist, bass clarinetist and composer, grew out of "yass" a socio-artistic movement that in the 1980s and 90s opposed what the participants saw as the rigidity of the Polish jazz environment. Together with Tymon TymaDski and a group of other musicians free from any fixed doctrine they changed the image of Polish jazz music. Trzaska was the co-founder of the most important yass group "MiBosc" and the similarly creative "Loskot." Although the impetus of yass faded away many years ago he became the leader of the national improvised-music scene. After the yass period he recorded a few concentrated and quiet albums with the Ole[ brothers. He also accompanied poets Zwietlicki and Andrukhovych, he created muical literary projects with Andrzej Stasiuk. Today he is the leader of the international quartet INNER EAR, danish trio Volumen and a member of, among others, Resonance of Ken Vandermark, Magic Joe McPhee, and the Shofar trio with Raphael Roginski and Macio Moretti playing Jewish music. Above all he sees himself in the mode of radical contemporary free jazz. He travels around the world cooperating with personalities of world improvisation among others with Peter Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Peter Friis Nielsen, Clementine Gasser, Pete Ole Jorgensen, Michael Zerang, Franz Houtzinger, Jay Rosen, Domik Duval, Mark Sanders. He has recorded about thirty albums.
Macio Moretti is a performer, composer, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. He started his musical career as bass guitarist with SLAGE IMAGE/KROLOWIE ZYCIA; now he plays drums as a member of STARZY SINGERS and BAABA. His broad spectrum of musical interests covers such diverse areas as grind/punk, twisted country-and-western, improv, psychedelic and pseudojazz. He is a cofounder of the independent music labels LADO ABC and ZGNILE MIESO REKORDS. In 2010, Moretti received the "Passport" award from influential Polish news weekly, Polityka. He has a successful second career in graphic design, working for publications such as Przekrój one of the country's oldest and most respected magazines.