Hidden Legacy (FolkSounds Records, 2012)
There are several bands out there using the name Harmonia. This Harmonia is an American band from Cleveland (Ohio) specialized in Eastern European musical repertoire. The ensemble features fiery instrumental pieces with dazzling violin, cimbalom and flute interplay as well as folk ballads and evocative songs.
“You strike up a csardas or kolomyjka, and people go nuts,” states accordionist and Harmonia founder Walt Mahovlich. “The people in the audience may be third or fourth generation, but when the band starts up, they just won’t let us stop. It’s great to be part of making sure that this stays a living tradition. You can’t keep it alive without great musicians.”
Harmonia’s lineup includes a mix of Eastern European immigrants and American born musicians: Alexander Fedoriouk on cimbalom; Beata Begeniova on vocals; Steven Greenman on violin; Jozef Janis on violin; Andrei Pidkivka on panflute (Nai), sopilka (Ukrainian folk flute); Branislav Brinarsky on bass, fujara (six foot long Slovak shepherds flute), gajdice, vocals; and Ken Javor on bass.
“Some people think this kind of music is only popular among the older generations of immigrants, but that’s just not true,” Mahovlich indicates. “Our biggest supporters in the community and most enthusiastic fans at shows are young.”
“Someone writes a pop tune and it’s gone. But this music is still with us and still popular,” says Fedoriouk. “You could have heard the music on the album, the music we perform, centuries ago. We put our little twist on things, but the core, the root remains the same.”
Harmonia‘s Hidden Legacy is an impassioned recording that keeps alive the rick folk traditions of various European countries and regions: Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, Vojvodina, Slovakia, Moldavia and the music of the Roma (Gypsies).
Buy Hidden Legacy
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.