The WOMEX Opening event sets the pace and standard for the days to come. Each year we seek a special programme that best launches five days of music, networking, conferences, films and business, that proclaims another round of encounters in world music.
WOMEX 11 Opening Concert: Hungarian Heartbeats
Wednesday, 26 October 2011, 20:00 Koncerthuset / Studio 1
All delegates are cordially invited.
Hungarian Heartbeats is an exciting, wide-ranging concert programme created especially for the WOMEX 11 Opening. As well as featuring three Hungarian bands exploring varied traditions, the show highlights a number of versatile soloists brought together for this special performance.
Hungarian folk music is a fine example of how complex cross-cultural currents have evolved historically to produce many distinctive yet related forms within a relatively small area. Bridging East and West, the most ancient elements are rooted in Asia, while some features of Western European music and dance have spread steadily since the Middle Ages – the Renaissance left its mark and 19th century Romantic influences from Viennese parlours were felt in even the smallest village.
Folk music is an applied art in the narrowest sense as demonstrated by the fact that its exponents have always adapted it to their own needs and integrated their new musical experiences into the old patterns. Since Bartók and Kodály there has been a persistent urge to canonise folklore, but it constantly manages to avoid such attempts. Peasant musicians played a variety of tunes to serve local requirements, thus establishing connections between those of different nationality, religion and social status. Not only are some melodies shared by different communities, albeit with clear variations, in places such as the melting pot of Transylvania certain borrowings have survived solely among those who adopted them while falling into disuse elsewhere.
In a wider context, Hungary has always been at the crossroads and migrating peoples have brought their own traditions to enrich the cultural fabric of the land. The multiplicity of musics, many of which have had a long journey through both space and time, is a direct result of Hungary’s position at the heart of Europe. More recently, although location has become less relevant as influences from even further afield have arrived with the global spread of popular culture, a strong sense of place persists, even for forward-looking artists formulating new statements.
The first popular folk revival in Hungary was associated with the Táncház (Dance House) Movement that began in the 1970s, the success of which brought the realisation that village music and dance culture could provide a relevant cultural experience for younger generations. The enduring success of Dance Houses throughout the country ensures a ‘living tradition’ that fosters links to a variety of different cultures.
Hungarian Heartbeats celebrates the musical and cultural diversity that continues to flourish in Budapest and other cities, towns and villages. Taking centre stage will be the cimbalom, two in fact, in the case of the Balogh-Lukács Cimbalom Duo, who will introduce some Roma melodies from their repertoire as well as their own contemporary compositions. The cimbalom also plays its characteristic role supporting the twin fiddles of Hungarian folk band Tükrös. As a contrast to the hypnotic bowed dance rhythms, Söndörgő play the tambura band music of the Southern Slavs and, in company with the powerful vocals of Kátya Tompos, demonstrate their proficiency with brass as they delve deeper into the Balkans. The cimbaloms underline their versatility as they collaborate with the innovative electric guitar/flute duo of Both-Dongó and the peerless saxophone of Mihály Dresch. On top of all this Ági Szalóki confirms her status as one of the new stars in the firmament of great female vocalists with glimpses of just some of the styles at her command. Here are songs of love and loss, aching melodies and rhythms to raise the pulse and set the feet tapping. Even a dance or two…
There is undoubtedly a current renaissance of folk and roots music throughout Europe and beyond. As part of our contribution to this trend, we would like to introduce some of the most original, bold and inspired innovators branching off of the traditional forms of Hungarian folk. This evocative music carries great emotional depth and proves that old roots will always put forth new shoots.
Are you ready to let your heart beat in tune with the beauty of Hungarian music?
Cimbalom Duo: Kálmán Balogh and Miklós Lukács with András Dés and Csaba Novák, featuring Mihály Dresch,
Meet Eastern Europe: WOMEX will also be offering a Speed-Dating session where delegates looking for new business partners from Eastern Europe can meet professionals from this region for a quick talk and exchange of contact details. Plus a special Opening Presentation and a new Eastern European Networking Meeting for all Eastern European professionals who'd like to get in touch with their neighbours.