Hungary was the first of the Central European nations to undergo a popular revival of folk music and dance, which took the form of recovering the endangered, the moribund, the local and the distant, preserved in the memories of the older generation, or in the day-to-day life of Hungarian communities outside the borders of the country. The result, nurtured in the dance houses of Budapest, was a kind of benign nationalism, and a growing interest in the music of the surrounding countries, sometimes wildly different, sometimes revealing unexpected links.
Building on this foundation, and adding even more flavours to the mix are Bognar, Herczku and Szaloki, three experienced female singers. They have joined up with a quintet of equally experienced musicians to produce a wonderful CD that ties together the hardcore unaccompanied singing (complete with bagpipe imitation) of 'Lidlidli', a Christmas lullaby with plangent harmonies released by a bouncy rhythmic song of celebration on 'Bethlehem' and the delicate and rhapsodic melody of 'Elmegyek', winging its way above the scrubbing rhythms of a Bulgarian dance. All are combined with a pure acoustic pop sensibility; all the musicians, including veteran multi-instrumentalist Ivan Parov, are outstanding. And the all-acoustic instrumental backing, with plucked and bowed strings, and a quiverful of pipes and whistles, beautifully complements the finely judged and sensitive vocal arrangements. This is a fine and thoughtfully made CD, immediately attractive but with emotional depths which reveal themselves over time.
Wrote: Kim Burton
Perhaps the greatest musical surprises of recent years have been those musical experiments which approach the most beautiful songs of the treasure of Hungarian folk music in an unexpected way, that is, not with the accompaniments of authentic folk music, but rather within quite different musical environment. As a result, many musical phenomena have been accepted which might earlier have seemed inconceivable. Now we know that folk songs can be accompanied just as wonderfully by a stylishly composed jazz arrangement, in a similar way to world music, which gains inspiration from the instrumental traditions of other peoples and places emphasis on their spiritual affinity. The album 'From Mouth to Mouth' is sure to attract attention both in Hungary and further afield and bring yet more success to all those involved in the project.