are you ready to get funqy?

are you ready to get funqy?

are you ready to get funqy?

Axel Portrait 4

Lingua Funqa: A Jazzhead Goes Pop

Lingua Funqa has been a long time in the making. Except that no one knew about it, least of all the project’s creative mastermind, Axel Roland. It has taken him many meandering detours to arrive at the conclusion that this must be his creative outlet.

A native of the raucous city of Cologne, Axel (born Axel Roland Schwintzer) began studying piano at age 10. While his piano instructor tried vainly to impress him with the work of classical luminaries, the young musician was secretly gorging on the more libertine melodies of Prince and Sting and other popular artists. Already a private dream was building in him to make music more than a hobby, and after a few half-hearted stabs at a respectable career in journalism and political science, Axel decided to make his dream a reality.

That long-simmering desire led him to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he expanded his skills and musical horizons, graduating in two and a half years. Moving to New York he became heavily involved in jazz as a pianist, teacher, and composer, although in the back of his mind the call of pop music had never faded away. In fact it was becoming impossible to ignore.

 “Today just make a vow, because tomorrow is right now”

In New York Axel began writing and producing original music, releasing 2011’s Uncommon Sense (under the artist name Axel’s Axiom), a record full of fluid instrumental jazz. With his 2015 release Anecdotal Evidence the movement towards pop began to take shape; the record is funkier and more drum-heavy, trading some of the fluidity of jazz for the sharper angles of funk.

Axel is a self-admitted obsessive who approaches his diverse interests, whether it’s playing chess, learning languages (he is fluent in four), or baking his own bread, with a single-minded focus – at least for certain stretches of time. Moving between intense passions personally and musically was rewarding but, over time, he felt a growing desire to master his creative ADHD and put all his energies into one major project. That project is Lingua Funqa, a series of pop singles written, produced, and performed by Axel, and released between 2017 and 2018, with contributions from long-time musician companions like Sean Rainey on drums, Dmitry Ishenko on bass, Julian Cassia on guitar, and a variety of other artists.

The project name is derived from the expression ‘lingua franca’, defined as “a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different” by the Oxford Dictionary. This reflects Axel’s deep conviction that funky music can serve as a unifying language that any person may understand.

The addition of vocals has allowed Axel to weave profound lyrics about the contemporary world into full-bodied pop songs while retaining the jazz and funk rhythms of his earlier work.

Like the work of his musical heroes Jamiroquai, the songs that comprise Lingua Funqa are musically and lyrically complex and remain upbeat even while they deal with serious themes.

On some tracks there are echoes of the political and social earthquakes that have confronted the world in recent times, while the project also includes love songs with a more universal message.

“With this project I feel like I’ve finally arrived at what I always knew I should be doing,” says Axel of Lingua Funqa, and those intertwined themes of urgency and inevitability – of finding your purpose and chasing it down – are present throughout the songs. Lingua Funqa is a work by an individual standing at a crossroads who has just decided which direction to take. It’s groove-oriented pop for a jagged, offbeat world. A positive rhythm for uncertain times.

Lingua Funqa: A Jazzhead Goes Pop

Lingua Funqa has been a long time in the making. Except that no one knew about it, least of all the project’s creative mastermind, Axel Roland. It has taken him many meandering detours to arrive at the conclusion that this must be his creative outlet.

A native of the raucous city of Cologne, Axel (born Axel Roland Schwintzer) began studying piano at age 10. While his piano instructor tried vainly to impress him with the work of classical luminaries, the young musician was secretly gorging on the more libertine melodies of Prince and Sting and other popular artists. Already a private dream was building in him to make music more than a hobby, and after a few half-hearted stabs at a respectable career in journalism and political science, Axel decided to make his dream a reality.

That long-simmering desire led him to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he expanded his skills and musical horizons, graduating in two and a half years. Moving to New York he became heavily involved in jazz as a pianist, teacher, and composer, although in the back of his mind the call of pop music had never faded away. In fact it was becoming impossible to ignore.

 “Today just make a vow, because tomorrow is right now”

In New York Axel began writing and producing original music, releasing 2011’s Uncommon Sense (under the artist name Axel’s Axiom), a record full of fluid instrumental jazz. With his 2015 release Anecdotal Evidence the movement towards pop began to take shape; the record is funkier and more drum-heavy, trading some of the fluidity of jazz for the sharper angles of funk.

Axel is a self-admitted obsessive who approaches his diverse interests, whether it’s playing chess, learning languages (he is fluent in four), or baking his own bread, with a single-minded focus – at least for certain stretches of time. Moving between intense passions personally and musically was rewarding but, over time, he felt a growing desire to master his creative ADHD and put all his energies into one major project. That project is Lingua Funqa, a series of pop singles written, produced, and performed by Axel, and released between 2017 and 2018, with contributions from long-time musician companions like Sean Rainey on drums, Dmitry Ishenko on bass, Julian Cassia on guitar, and a variety of other artists.

The project name is derived from the expression ‘lingua franca’, defined as “a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different” by the Oxford Dictionary. This reflects Axel’s deep conviction that funky music can serve as a unifying language that any person may understand.

The addition of vocals has allowed Axel to weave profound lyrics about the contemporary world into full-bodied pop songs while retaining the jazz and funk rhythms of his earlier work.

Like the work of his musical heroes Jamiroquai, the songs that comprise Lingua Funqa are musically and lyrically complex and remain upbeat even while they deal with serious themes.

On some tracks there are echoes of the political and social earthquakes that have confronted the world in recent times, while the project also includes love songs with a more universal message.

“With this project I feel like I’ve finally arrived at what I always knew I should be doing,” says Axel of Lingua Funqa, and those intertwined themes of urgency and inevitability – of finding your purpose and chasing it down – are present throughout the songs. Lingua Funqa is a work by an individual standing at a crossroads who has just decided which direction to take. It’s groove-oriented pop for a jagged, offbeat world. A positive rhythm for uncertain times.