“Who will pay me or praise me if I lose hope?” – Janos Markus-Barbarossa, luthier.
Master luthier Janos Markus-Barbarossa looks exactly like you’d imagine a master luthier to look. If you saw Markus-Barbarossa walking down the street, I’m sure you’d think, “He must be an ascetic master craftsmen of some kind.”
We don’t need to make those assumptions though. Romanian born filmmaker Matei Plesa gives us an awesome view into Markus-Barbarossa’s luthierism, depicting the luthiering master as just the wise old ascetic he looks like. Forget judging the book by its cover, Plesa opens it and reads it to you.
The documentary is beautifully and intimately shot, it’s like an eight minute apprenticeship where you don’t actually learn the craft, just get a hint of the psyche of the master.
“If I try to make something, then I might as well make it as good as can be.” Markus-Barbaros says. And he does; according to the filmmaker, JMB is one of the “most well-know[n] luthiers around the world.”
JMB says that an important part of what he does is having the right tools. This is interesting, there must be some degree of art, dedication, and mastery that goes into making luthiering tools. The same goes for the tools used to make those tools. JMB uses his tools to create a tool used for artistic expression. Really, the luthier is one step in a production line of creativity, of which the end product is song.
But the creation of the instrument is just as important as the transmission of song. And that’s why it’s so important to JMB, that’s why this man dedicated his life to luthiering. He remarks, “If I did something that bored me, what would be the point of even starting to do it?”