Tag Archives: Hungary

Artist Profiles: Téka

Téka

For more than thirty years now, Téka has been amongst the leaders of Budapest’s new wave of folk music. In 1977 they received the nationally recognized title of “Young Masters of Folk Art” and have gotten many other awards since then.

Téka has been hosting regular ‘dance houses’ in Budapest since 1977 – evenings of live folk music, dancing, and singing, where people come to learn or just to socialize; popular meeting places for Hungarians and ethno-tourists alike.

The attractiveness of the Téka Group can be explained by their individual intonation, original performing style and brilliant knowledge of singing. The members of the Téka Ensemble are also active music teachers, dedicated to passing on the traditional Hungarian music to younger generations.

Their concerts on world music stages across Europe and beyond, delight audiences with the warmth of their performance and their ethnic playing style. Over the years they have worked continuously with and included professional folk dancers in their programs.

Sixteen LPs of their music released abroad (in the USA, Germany, Switzerland), along with the Hungarian released LP-s and CD-s, comprise their impressive discography.

In the rooms of old peasant houses in Hungary there used to be a small wall-cupboard, the “téka”, containing the family valuables: documents, money, the Bible, salt and brandy.

As the cupboard teka, the group collects, preserves and passes on to others the treasures of Hungarian folk music.

The members of the Téka band:

Ökrös Csaba – fiddle
András Soós – fiddle, viola
Beatrix Tárnoki – voice, lute
György Lányi – viola, bagpipe, lute
Pál Havasréti – double bass, hurdy gurdy

Discography:

Mestereink/Our master’s – Bársony Mihály (2001)
Mestereink: Magyar dudások/Hungarian bagpipers (2004)
Padkaporos bál Dél-alföldi táncmuzsika/Our master’s – Dusty bench ball (2005)
Vadvirágok – Wildflowers (2009)
Égig érő fa – Sky-high promising tree (2011)

Web sites: www.tekazenekar.hu

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The Passion and Virtuosity of Khamoro Budapest Band

Khamoro Budapest Band – Hungarian Gypsy Music (ARC Music EUCD2708, 2017)

Preparing to direct the 1970 film, “Little Big Man,” director Arthur Penn decided to use country blues for the soundtrack rather than Native American music. He called Columbia producer John Hammond to discuss the matter, stating that he wanted “the sound of oppression.” Hammond played him some of the music of Robert “Hellhound On My Trail” Johnson, and Penn said, according to Hammond’s autobiography, “My God, that’s just what I want. I hope we can get him.”

Hammond told him Johnson had been dead for more than thirty years, but that his son, John Paul Hammond, played just like him. That is how now-renowned slide guitarist John Hammond got his recording career off to a fantastic start, courtesy of his father, and that is also an example of how “the sound of oppression” easily crosses cultural barriers to speak to us all.

Gypsy music parallels blues in many ways. It is the music of an ethnic group stuck in interaction with a bullying mainstream culture. One does not wish persecution on any culture. Music is, however, a means of expressing deep feelings and generating solace and joy. The music of an oppressed people has the extra task of replacing words in a climate where a dominant culture frowns upon or even bans said oppressed people’s verbal observations on their plight. The listener can share the solace and joy and admire the players’ abilities all the more when the music comes from such a source, and the players are more motivated and rewarded by being able to accomplish much with a restricted set of tools. This is what Khamoro Budapest Band brings us.

There is some mournful wailing. There is reliance on sad, minor keys. Instrumentation is not always what we expect. There is also an imparting of awe; how can these people still dance and laugh with all they’re letting us know with their music that they and their families have gone through? Khamoro (“little sun” in the Romani language) plays with passion, virtuosity and the enthusiasm that comes from their desire to share the experience and exuberance of their musical tradition with the world.

There is poignancy, pride and dignity in “Rovan More Jahka,” humor in other pieces, and beautifully supported celebration throughout the release.
They have done their homework and selected pieces from specific regions in which gypsy culture has bloomed best. As a plant grows tallest above the soil when its roots run deepest beneath it, their take on the music shares it articulately because of the study underlying their familiarity with the form. When one acquires this CD, one acquires not only the joy and strength inherent in the music, but also a deeper insight into the tradition that built it.

Buy Hungarian Gypsy Music

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Artist Profiles: Péter Éri

Péter Éri

Péter Éri was born in 1953 in Budapest, Hungary. As a ten-year old child he won the first prize of a dance competition with dancing the Lads’ Dance of Kalotaszeg, accompanied by his schoolmate Andras Schiff, who is currently a world famous pianist.

His stepfather, Dr György Martin, a well-known ethnographer, brought young Éri to his trips where he collected Hungarian traditional dances and instrumental music and consequentially Éri as a child made his first connections with living musical and dance traditions.

At 14, Éri became the dancer of the Bartók Dance Ensamble where he was an active dancer for six years. His interest in the music continued. He became the bass player of the first Hungarian folk revival band, the Sebő Group. At that time the singer of this band was a young woman called Marta Sebestyen.

Meanwhile when the band Muzsikas was formed in 1973, Éri became the guest musician of the band. In 1978 he became a full member.

Éri graduated from Eötvös University of Budapest as an ethnographer and philologist of Romanian language and literature.

He plays the viola, the three-string “kontra”, mandolin and different types of flutes.

Discography

* Living Hungarian Folk Music I. Muzsikás (Hungaroton Gong)
* Kettő Hungarian Folk Music (Munich Records)
* It is not like it used to be (Hungaroton Gong)
* Márta Sebestyén and Muzsikás (Hannibal/Ryko, 1987)
* The Prisoner’s Song (Hannibal/Ryko)
* Blues for Transylvania (Hannibal/Ryko)
* Maramaros, the Lost Jewish Music (Hannibal/Ryko HNCD 1373, 1993)
* Morning Star (Hannibal/Ryko, 1997)
* The Bartók Album (Hannibal/Ryko, 1998)
* Live at the Liszt Academy (Muzsikás)

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Artist Profiles: Parno Graszt

Parno Graszt

During the last decades the name of Parno Graszt (White Horse in the Roma language) became the equivalent of authentic Hungarian Gypsy music.

The band is based in Paszab, in northeastern Hungary. During social ceremonies music is shared between each one of the community: instruments are passed from one hand to another and practically everyone is a dance master. There is no band and there is no audience. There is one unified festive gathering. Whether they play in their backyard or on a festival stage for 10,000 people, the same spirit of cheerful delight vibrates in the air.

The sound of Parno Graszt is rooted in the traditional Gypsy songs of northeastern Hungary, representing a specific local dialect of Roma music. Their instruments are acoustic guitars, double bass, tambura, accordion, spoons, milk jug and ‘oral bass’ which is a continuous vocal improvisation made by the percussionist. Occasionally, the 10-piece group takes the audience for a time journey where the dancers, using an archive video projection, are performing parallel with their grandparents on stage.

World music radio stations discovered Parno Graszt after the breakthrough of Hit the piano (Rávágok a zongorára) in 2002, which was the first Hungarian record in history reaching the Tot 10 of World Music Charts Europe. The much anticipated second album In my world (2004) featured Kalman Balogh, a world-class Hungarian Gypsy cymbalist.

Since then Parno Graszt has played throughout Europe in venues and festivals like Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Couleur Café Festival (Belgium), Paleo Festival (Switzerland), Tribu Festival (France) and Sziget Festival (Hungary).

As a recognition for their work in preserving Romani culture and heritage, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC produced a music documentary about Parno Graszt. The movie was selected for the Official Film Screening at WOMEX 2008 and was screened worldwide via IMZ World Music Films on Tour.

In 2007, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary. On that occasion, DJ Gaetano Fabri (remixer of Taraf de Haidouks, Kocani Orkestar, Mahala Rai Banda) made his debut remix for Parno Graszt’s Gelem Gelem.

In 2008, the Paszabi Gypsies were invited to India where they spent two weeks in Rajasthan, the alleged motherland of the Roma people, meeting and playing with local musicians, tracing their roots, looking for familiar faces, customs and melodies. The result of this unique musical exploration was a DVD.

Band Members: Jozsef Olah on vocals, guitar, tambura; Viktor Olah on vocals, guitar, dance; Sandor Horvath on vocals, spoons, dance; Janos Jakocska on vocals, guitar; Maria Varadi on vocals, dance; Maria Balogh on vocals, dance; Krisztian Olah on accordion; Janos Olah on double bass; and Istvan Nemeth on oral bass, milk jug.

Discography

* Hit the piano (Rávágok a zongorára) (Fono Records, 2002)
* In my world (2004)
* Ez a világ nekem való – This World Is Made for Me (2007)
* Reggelig mulatok – Don’t Stop Till the Break of Dawn, CD+DVD (2011)
* Paris Budapest Caravane (Fremeaux & Associes, 2013)

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The Now Sound of Budapest Showcase on January 5 in New York City

The Now Sound of Budapest will showcase some of the new talent in Hungary’s capital tomorrow, on Thursday, January 5 at Drom in New York City. The showcase will coincide with the influential international performing arts presenters’ conference APAP.

The lineup includes world music act Meszecsinka (“Little Moon”), described as Eastern European Psychedelic ethnic fusion; the tango-influenced improvisations of Armenian-born Hungarian musician David Yengibarian; and the folk and world jazz sounds of Mihály Borbély’s Polygon trio.

 

 

8:00 p.m. David Yengibarian
8:45 p.m. Borbély Mihály Polygon
9:30 p.m. Meszecsinka

DROM, 85 Avenue A, NYC (212) 777-1157

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