Lost music of the Balkans

1 CD - World Village 450017
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original title: Söndörgö : Tamburising
collection: WORLD VILLAGE UK

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  • Hard to pronounce, but easy to listen to, SöndörgÅ‘ play nimble, life-affirming party music. Their trademark instrument is the tambura, a small mandolin-like instrument played in the Serbian and Croatian communities in Hungary. It’s something very different from the fiddle-led sounds that dominate the Hungarian tradition. The music SöndörgÅ‘ play is one of the best-kept secrets of the Balkans with nimble, rhythmic dances that set the feet tapping. But now the secret’s getting out and in the hands of SöndörgÅ‘ the tambura’s profile is rising.

    The band is based in Szentendre, a beautiful Serbian town on the Danube just north of Budapest, much frequented by tourists. It’s one of several places along the river settled by Serbs and Croats in the 16th century fleeing the advance of the Ottoman Empire. Led by Áron Eredics, SöndörgÅ‘ is pretty much a family band including four Eredics brothers: Áron, Dávid, Benjamin and Salamon plus Attila Buzás on bass. It’s a family tradition. The Eredics brothers are sons of Kalmán Eredics, the bass player of Vujicsics, the veteran band playing South Slav music in Hungary.

    SöndörgÅ‘ were formed in 1995 and have developed the work Vujicsics started by collaborating with traditional tambura players like József Kovács and collecting music from far-flung regions of former Yugoslavia. Over the border in Croatia and the Vojvodina region of Serbia, there are many tambura bands, although their repertoire is rather different. Under the influence of the Hungarian tancház (dancehouse) movement, the music in Hungary has stayed closer to its traditional roots. “This music is our mother tongue,” say Söndörgö. “The aim is to speak this language so that everybody can understand it nowadays. The result is something old but also new.” This album was recorded in Novi Sad, the capital of Vojvodina, where the engineers are familiar with the intricate and delicate tambura sound. It was there, in 2008, SöndörgÅ‘ won the prize for Tambura Orchestras in Vojvodina, the first Hungarian band to do so.

    József Kovács, a guest artist on this album, is one of the great, Gypsy tambura players from Mohács, another town on the Danube in the south of Hungary where Serbians and Croats settled. It’s now the centre of South Slav music in Hungary and famous for its Busójárás carnival with fearsome wooden masks and woolly costumes. Kovács plays with a special fire and virtuosity that SöndörgÅ‘ particularly love. He leads a tambura band in Mohacs and has dozens of pupils. Having declined in recent years, the tradition now seems back in good health, largely thanks to József Kovács.

    SöndörgÅ‘’s last album, In Concert (2008), was recorded at various live dates with Macedonian clarinet and sax player Ferus Mustafov and put the band on the international radar. The collaboration works brilliantly. On this new album, Tamburising, alongside tambura player József Kovács, there are two guest vocalists: Kátya Tompos, who is also an actress in the National Theatre in Budapest, and Antal Kovács, the fiery Roma vocalist from Romano Drom.

    SöndörgÅ‘ are proving themselves to be one of Europe’s most versatile and exciting bands.

    Simon Broughton
  • SöndörgÅ?

    Attila Buzás Bass tambura, Vocals
    Benjamin Eredics Kontra tambura, Trumpet
    Salamon Eredics Accordion Flute, Alt tambura
    Áron Eredics Tambura, Tenor tambura, Derbuka, Tapan, Vocals
    Dávid Eredics Tambura II, Alt tambura, Kaval, Clarinet, Saxophone, Vocals

    Kátya Tompos Vocals, Tracks 3, 13
    Antal Kovács Vocals, Tracks 6, 9
    József Kovács Tambura, Tracks 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12
  • "There are two almost painfully passionate contributions from Gypsy singer Antal Kovács, and a couple of magnificent and dramatic songs from the Hungarian actor Kátya Tompos, who is joined on the exquisite Zajdi Zajdi by flute and clarinet. When she sings, SöndörgÅ‘ sound like a world-class band"
    The Guardian, Robin Denselow
  • 1 CD - 0h 50mn 32s
    upc/ean. 3149026006324
    ref. 450017
    release date. 2011-06-27