Lua Project is a blend of original and traditional music from Mexico, Appalachia, and the Atlantic Basin. Lua is a cultural pollinator, bridging together musical styles from different continents and different centuries. They write about contemporary themes, about families, and people and work and loss, but draw on the musical traditions of their own families’ past.
The music is inspired by Mexican Son, Appalachian song forms, Jewish and Eastern European tonalities, baroque melodic ideas, and Scotch-Irish narrative storytelling approaches. They strive to create a repertoire that constitutes new traditional music that they will be able to pass down to their children to experience, transform, and pass on.
Lua Project was formed by David Berzonsky and Estela Knott after they returned to Virginia to raise children after almost a decade of travelling, performing, and recording, throughout the Western hemisphere, in places as far afield as Lima, Peru, Veracruz, Mexico, Recife, Brazil, and Berkeley, CA. In so doing, they have found musical adventure and a diverse cross-cultural experience right here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains where the backdrop of life in a multi-ethnic community serves as a wellspring from which Lua Project draws subject matter and inspiration, which is then blended into a music that it describes as Mexilachian.
With an artistic commitment to go deep inside their own families’ cultural roots, they meticulously thread together the narrative of their history—Appalachian, Mexican, Jewish—into a completely original yet seamless journey through styles and centuries. They write gorgeous melodies, punctuated by Estela’s soaring voice and the band’s complex and subtle arrangements.
The stories they tell— of bonds both familial and communal, and the intoxicating natural beauty of their homeland in the Virginia foothills, are refreshing, disarming, joyous, and haunting. The current lineup features Matty Metcalfe and Christen Hubbard, two limitlessly talented and utterly authentic musical co-conspirators, who have travelled widely but have settled deeply in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. They are emerging masters of Appalachian fiddle tunes, Irish music, Argentinian tango. The Lua Project’s shows are engaging, soulful, celebratory, and captivating. They are truly blazing their own musical trail, filled with surprises and wonder. And they represent the best of a new breed of Virginia artists, grounded in tradition, yet with a syncretic musical intelligence that beckons the whole world into their musical village—to build bridges across cultures and pathways into the human soul.