Söndörgo: Live Wires
Söndörgő dazzle audiences around the globe with their unstoppable tamburitza music. This rip-roaring travelogue of audio postcards is captured in crystalline clarity; turn up the dial and play it loud!
'Söndörgö really are the “live wires” of the Hungarian folk music scene' Evening Standard
Back in 1995 in the riverside town of Szentendre, Hungary, the Eredics brothers met bass player Attila and together they began to make music. Some twenty-one years later the boys are still filling the world’s eardrums with their unstoppable tamburitza music. This entirely live album is a rip-roaring travelogue of audio postcards from stages across Europe: from Denmark to Paris, Belgium, Germany to Italy and of course from Hungary.
The list of venues which these tracks were recorded at from 2010 to 2015 reads as a roll call of Europe’s finest gigs; Müpa Budapest, Roskilde Festival, Sziget Festival, The Liszt Academy of Music, Festival d’Art de Huy, TFF Rudolstadt, Paris quartier d’été and Ethnos Festival. It’s striking that Söndörgő are able to rock the kazbar no matter what the set-up. At hushed concert hall, church, pub or Sufi festival, Söndörgő get the party vibing.
Talking to the band, they attribute their ability to relate any audience to the ancient sounds bound within their compositions. Their music takes heart from the Eastern European folk canon. Provenance in their original works is heard from Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, Turkish, Jewish and gyspy traditions. The tambura instrument too sits at the centre chakra: a small, agile plucked instrument musicologically aligned with the more commonly known mandolin. The tambura matched with winds and accordion is a perky sound, curious and communicable all at once. Söndörgő’s traditional repertoire pulls from the back catalogue of the old masters, Béla Bartók and Tihamér Vujicsics included therein.
Moments captured on this album include the bands fifteenth birthday celebration with famed saxophonist Ferus Mustafov and the band Vujicsics. The Roskilde Festival was a highlight for the band too with its sprawling crowds of happy campers thirsty for their Söndörgő fix. Vienna’s Wiener Konzerthaus is remembered by the band for its bizarreness, the grand architecture oozing full-tilt pomp and formality, a sense that sits joyfully at odds with Söndörgő’s rootsy, folky hedonism.
The album melts open with ‘Sa’, a low drone and wandering melody call listeners and the band to arms before the drums pound and breakneck speed is taken up. ‘Drago Kolo’ spotlights the tambura here in balletic duo with a frenetic flute, the audience’s distant cheers signal the playful mood. ‘Tonci’ is a summery accelerating jig with gleeful almost demented) melody (Söndörgő’s speciality). With ‘Cele Noči’ we are treated to a study in texture, rippling ever-lasting string trills that summon a slowly-yielding peaceful reverie. The album closes with full-on dance number ‘Jovano’, complete with an end-of-the-night anthem of a sung melody that I challenge you not to sing-a-long to.
Söndörgő hark to tradition whilst flag-bearing at the vanguard of newness. This album is their live testament captured in crystalline clarity; we recommend you turn up the dial and play it loud.
New City Music, Chicago: 'a great showcase of the funky sounds currently made in Crescent City'.
The Guardian, UK, 3*** stars: 'A classy compilation'.
Guardian, UK 4****stars: 'A highly original, compelling set'.
Froots, UK: '... a superb album of an under-represented music ... and comes highly recommended'.