Tag Archives: Slovakia

Artist profiles: Katarína Máliková

Katarína Máliková

Composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer Katarína Máliková was born in 1990 in Polomka, Slovakia. Her music combines traditional Slovak folk songs, art-pop, classical and world music.

She grew up in Polomka in the Horehronie region, among mountains and traditional songs. The mystical character of her home region left a strong impression in her music.

In my childhood I was touched by folklore and 90s’ pop culture, which hardly found its way to Horehronie,”says Katarína Máliková. “Later, the dreams about the big city came, together with jazz – that was my remedy during my teenage years. My studies of classical music were also a big influence on me. Returning to my birth place Horehronie with the music of Telgárt, Šumiac, or Pusté pole will always be spots that I pass with feeling of something forgotten, mysterious and haunting.”

Katarína Máliková and her band

In 2017 Katarína Máliková and her band performed at major world music festivals and venues in Slovakia and abroad, such as Pohoda Festival (Slovakia), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), EtnoKraków/Crossroads Festival in Krakow (Poland), World Music Festival Bratislava (Slovakia) and Budapest Ritmo (Hungary).

The lineup in 2017 included Andrej Turčin on first violin;  Janko Tomek on acoustic and electric bass;    Katarína Máliková on lead vocals, piano, keyboards, tambourine, and wind instruments; Katarína Turčinová  on flute and fujara; Klaudia Kosmeľová on piano; Ondrej Druga on accordion and vocals;     Tomáš Hríbik on drums and percussions; and Žaneta Mariňáková  on second violin and tambourine.

Katarína Máliková’s music combines Slovak folk, global sounds, electronic and classical music.

Her atmospheric debut album, titled Pustvopol (barren field) included new arrangements of folk songs from Zvolen and quickly attracted the attention of the media and the public, and soon became one of the top albums in Slovakia.

Discography:

Pustvopol (Slnko , 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Trombitáši Štefánikovci

Trombitáši Štefánikovci

The Trombitáši Štefánikovci (Stefaniks Trombita Players) ensemble was founded in 2008 by brothers Ján and Pavol Štefanik, Pavol Novosád, Ivan Bobot, Peter Peťovský, Daniel Káčer and the youngest from the Štefánik family, Juraj. The group performs the shepherds’ folk traditions of the Moravian-Slovak border, primarily from the Puchov region on Slovakia.

The ensemble uses various Slovak wind instruments such as shepherds’ horns, trombitas, fujaras and various whistles. Many of these instruments are made by the Trombitáši Štefánikovci musicians. Some of the musical instruments manufactured by the ensemble’s members are housed in many museums and used by musicians throughout the world.

Ján Štefánik, Pavol Novosád and Ivan Bobot are the winners of prestigious awards, including Instrumentum Excellence and Zlatá Fujara (Golden fujara), received for the folk musical instruments they manufactured.

Pavol Štefánik is a laureate and award winner as performer of trombitas and shepherds’ horns. The musicians performed on many occassions in Slovakia and beyond.

The album Gruňom hore – Up the Hillside (2017) was the debut of this Trombita ensemble.

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Artist Profiles: Preßburger Klezmer Band

Preßburger Klezmer Band

Bratislava-based Preßburger Klezmer Band was formed in 1995. Founding members included saxophonist Daniel Sloboda; viola player Tomáš Kaiser; clarinetist and saxophonist Erik Rothenstein; and violinist Daniel Alexander. The lineup has changed throughout the years.

Although the group is inspired by klezmer music, Preßburger Klezmer Band also incorporates Slovak, Gypsy, jazz, rock, reggae and Latin music.

The Baladen (Ballads) album contains nearly forgotten songs about love, life and God from the Slovak Jewish Heritage. Vocals are in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino & Bosnian.

Discography:

Lajv ‎(Akcent, 2002)
Mit Libe… / S Laskow ‎(Hev-Het, 2006)
Ot Azoy! ‎(Millenium Records, 2009)
Preßburger Special ( Slovak Klezmer Association, 2010)
Tants mit mir ( Slovak Klezmer Association, 2012)
Tsvantsik Yorn (Slovak Klezmer Association, 2015)
Baladen (Real Music House & Slovak Klezmer Association, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Banda

Banda

Banda was founded in 2003 in Bratislava, Slovakia. The ensemble includes musicians with extensive experience in folk music performance as well as other genres. Banda is predominantly inspired by Slovak traditional music, incorporating innovative arrangements.

In addition to Slovak roots music, Banda incorporates blues, jazz, pop, earky music and the traditional music of other cultures as well, such as Moravian, Ruthenian, Polish, Romanian, Balkan, Celtic, and Spanish musical influences.

Banda showcased at the World Music Expo WOMEX in 2017.

The ensemble contributed music for the film Tanec medzi črepinami (Glass Splinters Dance) directed by Marek Ťapák (2012) and also a title song of the TV series called 1890 (2017).

Band members include Samo Smetana on lead vocals, violin, mandolin, bouzouki; Ivan Hanula on vocals, viol, mandolin, bouzouki; Alžbeta Lukáčová on cimbalom, vocals, accordion, percussion; Peter Obuch on double bass, vocals; Ajdži Szabo on percussion; and Eva Brunovská on vocals, keyboards.

Discography:

Jedna (2010)

HraBanda (Pavian Records, 2014)

Ľudová hudba Banda: Na Mijave na rínečku (2015)

Telegrafy (Pavian Records, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Hrdza

Hrdza

Slovak band Hrdza have been making world fusion since the late 1990s. The ensemble is known for its original material rooted in Slovak traditional music, combining east European folk elements with modern musical influences.

Hrdza is a vibrant live act, featuring robust vocals and catchy melodies that engage the audience.

The 2018 album Neskrotený includes 11 original musical pieces predominantly written by the band’s frontman Slavomír Gibarti and 3 adapted very little-known traditional songs with vocals in Slovak, Rusyn and Ukrainian.

Band members in 2018 incldued Slavomír Gibarti on lead vocals, guitar; Susanna Jara on vocals, violin; Dominik Maniak on violin, vocals; Marak Szarvaš on percussion; Pavol Boleš on bass, vocals; and Matej Palidrab on accordion.

Discography:

Muzička (Hrdza, 2002)
Pod božími oknami (Universal Music, 2006)
Hajnajnanyja (Universal Music, 2009)
Hrdzavá osemnástka (Hrdza, 2016)
Neskrotený (Hrdza, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Miriam Kaiser

Miriam Kaiser

Miriam Kaiser is a Slovak violinist, composer, and vocalist. Her musical pieces are rooted in folk traditions and poetry.

Music had a fundamental role in Miriam’s life from her early childhood. Her parents sent their children to learn music and urged them to perform in front of audiences.

Miriam studied at the Bratislava Conservatory. She presented her first musical piece, Prvá (First), when opened for famed Slovak musician Marián Varga.

Miriam’s first EP Isté veci (Certain things), reached number one in Radio 7 and Radio Lumen music charts, and was aired on the Slovak national radio and Radio Regina.

Her first album Deň dňu, was made in cooperation with Milan Adamec, Andrej Hruška, members of the Slovak National Theater Orchestra and the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra and other guests. It had a more modern sound and reached a wider audience.

In 2016, Miriam attracted the attention of Slovak music fans with her audiovisual project Colour Sounds in which she mixed rich orchestral arrangements, folk melodies and female vocals with an easygoing electronic sound. These elements have continued as essential elements of her compositions.

Tanec strún was released in 2018. It is dedicated to string instruments and is inspired by Slovak folk music, classical music and the poems of Naďa Mitanová.

Miriam Kaiser

Miriam’s band includes arranger Milan Adamec on violin and Júlia Veselá on cello.

Discography:

Isté Veci, EP (2010)

Deň Dňu ( Miriam Kaiser, 2014)

Color Sounds ( Miriam Kaiser, 2016)

Tanec strún ( Miriam Kaiser, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Čendeš

Čendeš

Čendeš ensemble (formerly known as Rusín Čendeš Orchestra) has gathered an enthusiastic audience during its years of their existence with its modern arrangements of folk songs from Eastern Slovakia.

The debut album titled “Best of” was released in 2015. The second album, titled Cossack Attack, combines Ruthenian, Balkan and Gypsy music with jazz and other musical genres.

The ensemble’s sound is characterized by robust male and female vocals, twin fiddles, guitar, bouncing cimbalom and double bass.

Band members include Zuzana Stračinová on vocals, cimbalom; René Bošeľa on vocals, viola, guitar; Andrej Turčin on vocals and violin; Peter Šipula on vocals and violin; Jakub Stračina con bass; and Robo Bošeľa on drums and percussion.

Discography:

Best of ( Môlča Records, 2015)
Cossack Atack (Môlča Records, 2019)

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Artist Profiles: Zuzana Homolova

Zuzana Homolova

According to Encyclopedia of Jazz, Contemporary and Popular Music (Publ. Supraphon Prague 1990): “Zuzana Homova belongs to foremost Slovak songwriters. Her music is characteristic for lyricism, poetics and strong ties to the folk tradition.”

In the late 1960s Zuzana experienced a very formative study stay in Tours (France). The atmosphere of student unrest, barricades, the poetics of chansons and traditional French ballads, and the strong wave of folk movement worldwide; all of this inspired Zuzana Homolova to research and sing old Slovak folk ballads accompanying herself with an acoustic guitar. Ballads have remained her strongest focus ever since, apart from writing music based on contemporary and older poetry.

In the 1980s Zuzana Homolova became member of association of Slovak songsters Slnovrat, an informal group of creative songwriters, uncomfortable for the official regime of the time. The foreign experience and the dark stories of the ballads predestined Zuzana to become part of the cultural underground that was the sane alternative for the official communist culture, waiting for her time to come.

Working full time as art teacher, her considerably late debut LP Cas odchádza z domu [Time is leaving home], appeared in 1989 on the Opus label, the very year of the famous Velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia. The album presented both original songs and folk ballads brought to life in arrangements of finest musicians of Czechoslovakia (Vladimir Merta, Jan Hrub?). Her second album, released by Opus in 1991, brought more silence, featuring only one sideman; eccentric jazz improviser Jiri Stivin.

The third album of Zuzana Homolova titled Slovak Ballads (Pavian Records 1995, licensed to BMG Ariola 1999) was result of 20 years of research in archives and singing of ballads in a very original, non-pathetic manner. The album was produced by Vlastimil Redl, foremost songwriter from Morava (Czech Republic) whose musical collages emphasize dark, hundreds of years old stories of love and death.

For the past years Zuzana Homolova could be seen and heard most often with violinist Samo Smetana, brilliant musician and expert in authentic folk music of Slovakia. The duo performed at Tanz & Folkfest ’99 in Rudolstadt and Bardentreffen in Norimberg.

In 1999-2000 Zuzana Homolova had her own TV show Let’s make silence, introducing live appearances of best folk singers from Slovakia and Czech Republic.

In 2003 Z. Homolova represented Slovak culture in a series of concerts in Norway. In recent three years Zuzana and Samuel collaborated with the group Banda (viola, percussions, bass, cimbalom).

The album Tvojej duši zahynút nedám [I Won’t Let Your Soul Pass Away] (Slnko records, December 2005) quickly reached the status of jewel of Slovak World Music among music journalists and radio presenters in Slovakia and Czech Republic. The album brought Zuzana Homolova back to the spotlight as a legend, reflecting 30 years of her research and singing of old Slovak ballads.

The material for the album was selected from distant regions and most often from isolated communities of Slovaks living in Hungary, where the ancient language and also the storyline remained preserved in purest form. The ballads are hundreds of years old and their stories are full of sorrow, unhappy love and blood, with almost mantric melodies.

However dark the stories get, Zuzana sings them with wisdom, charm, grace and reconciliation as only a woman of her experience and strength of enthusiastic mountaineer can do. While keeping the melody and language closest to the archive records, the arrangements range from intimate voice-and-guitar creations through hypnotic minimalism to wild polyrhythmic structures.

Besides her sideman Samo Smetana, Tvojej duši zahynút nedám was co-produced by alternative guitarist and producer Daniel Salontay, and features some of the finest folk, jazz and contemporary instrumentalists of the country.

Discography:

Cas odchádza z domu (Opus, 1989)
Homolová & Stivín (Opus, 1991)
Slovenské balady (Avian Records, (1995)
Tvojej duši zahynút nedám (Slnko Records, 2005)
Net vekšeho rozkošu (Slnko Records, 2013)
Medzi dvomi prázdnotami (Slnko Records, 2014)
Ked vojacik narukoval (Slnko Records, 2018)

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