The Tzigani Gipsy Band has two frontmen. Violin player Pal Szomora is one of the great Hungarian “primas” lead violinists that treat their musical heritage with a lot of respect, and the same goes for accordionist Iulian Jantea, who does the same for the Romanian traditional music.
Respect, for them, means also enrichening the tradition, by means of an original composition, as well as by choosing some pieces that haven’t been recorded previously.
Bulgarian guest singer Emilia Kirova has a fantastic voice and she uses it just the way you will like it. You can hear her sing on 4 cd-tracks in 4 different languages.
The basic setting of Tzigani is completed by cimbalom player István Szomora (Pal’s nephew) and double-bass player Herman De Rycke, both excellent musicians in their own right.
This cd was recorded in Budapest, a great opportunity to invite some local gypsy musicians. These guest musicians are, all of them, also great soloists, and their contribution has a great impact on the musical colours on this recording.
Energipsy (Pal Szomora)
An original composition by lead violinist Pal Szomora. Lots of energy needed to play this.
Mesecina (Goran Bregovic)
A great song from Emir Kusturica’s unequalled movie “Underground”.
Two parts, “Hora Lentă” and “Hora Lăutărească”. Romanian gypsy music. For the accordion.
This music not often played by gypsy bands. Very nice melodic turns.
Traditional song about a spring festival celebrated by Roma people in the Balkans. Quite popular thanks to the film “Time of the gypsies”. Bulgarian lyrics and an impressive Emilia Kirova.
More film music, from Kusturica’s unforgettable “Black cat white cat”, sung in Romani language.
“Pacsirta” in Hungarian, “the Lark” in English. A very nice version of this gypsy evergreen, wherein the violinist imitates birds.
Russian gypsy standard. One time, one more time, many more times, Emilia sings.
Hullámzó Balaton (Jenö Hubay)
Classical adaption for violin and orchestra of an old Hungarian song. Pablo de Sarasate used to play it too.
Sîrba de concert
Probably the best track on this cd. The first part “Şchioapa” smiles at you, then the enigmatic second part “Foaie Verde Măr Domnesc” leaves you in doubt (major or minor key ?). The final “Sîrba de concert” leaves no doubts about the quality of these musicians.
You might think it’s a cello playing the solo part, but actually it’s the double bass. The well known “Gloomy sunday/Sombre dimanche” followed by a slow csardas.
Magyar nóta (= Hungarian songs). Hungarian gypsy music. The real thing.
Pal Szomora: violin
°1975 Budapest (Hungary). Pal Szomora was born into a family of gipsy musicians that has been passing on the violin tradition from father to son for many generations. As a six year old, he started touring the world with a gipsy orchestra of thirty members, as a soloist, he kept on touring until the age of seventeen. In Budapest he studied at the Rajkó Orchestra, a school orchestra which specialized in keeping the culture of the Hungarian gypsy music alive, and at the Ferenc Liszt Conservatory. In 1996 he moved to Belgium, where he continued his violin study with Rudolf Werthen at the Royal Music Conservatory of Ghent.
Iulian Jantea: accordion
°1950 Giurgiu (Romania). Iulian Jantea first took private lessons with his townsman Victor Karpis. Later on he studied the piano and the accordion at the Ciprian Porumbescu Conservatory in Bucharest. In 1973, the time when he obtained his musical diploma, the profession of music teacher in Ceausescu's Romania was not a very attractive future. For that reason he made the risky choice to become an independent performing musician, which turned luckily in a succesful international career as a soloist. He performed all over the world with several bands including Damian Luca's and Gheorghe Zamfir's. He lives in Belgium since 1981 and continues performing as a soloist. He also teaches Romanian music at different masterclasses.
István Szomora: cimbalom
°1978 Budapest (Hungary). István Szomora grew up in a musical family where the cimbalom playing is passed on from father to son. At the age of 4 he got his first lessons from his grandfather Kálmán Szomora. His exceptional talent didn't stay unnoticed, as he won the talent contest “Ki mit tud” in 1992. He studied classical music at the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest with Gelencsér Ferencné. Later he studied gypsy music with Malácsik Gusztáv. He has been working with several symphonic orchestras, interpreting the cimbalom part of classical works like e.g. the Háry János-suite by Zoltán Kodály. During several years he has also been the regular accomponyist of the violin player Sándor Járóka jr. and the clarinet player Ernő Kállai Kiss.
Herman De Rycke: double bass and backing vocals
°1960 Oudenaarde (Belgium). Herman De Rycke started playing music as a bass guitarist in different rock bands. Later he studied the double-bass with Frank Coppieters and took jazz lessons with Marc Matthys at the Royal Music Conservatory of Ghent. In that period he played the double-bass in several jazz ensembles. Gypsy music became his specialty after accidentally being exposed to it. His training in this style focused entirely on practicing, accompanying many different Hungarian and Russian gipsy musicians. He is the founder of the Tzigani Gipsy Band. He also used to be the double-bass player of "Mich en Scène", the band around Frederik Caelen and Micheline Van Hautem, with whom he went on several tours in Australia.
Emilia Kirova: vocals
°1965 Burgas (Bulgaria). Emilia Kirova studied music at the Pantcho Vladigerov State Conservatory in Sofia, where she specialised in classical violin and singing. As a composer, as a violinist and as a vocalist she won several prizes including the "Golden Orpheus" International Competition for pop songs and vocalists. She performed on festivals in Norwich (UK), Paris (FR), Pyongyang (Korea), Nicosia (Cyprus) and Sofia (Bulgaria). Since 1997 she lives in Belgium where she performs with many different bands. When invited by Gipsy Band Tzigani as a guest singer/violinist, she sings and plays traditional gypsy music from Russia and the Balkans, as well as music composed by Goran Bregovic for several well known "gypsy movies" by Emir Kusturica.
Ernest Bangó plays the guitar on all tracks except 9, 12 and 13
László Bódi plays the clarinet on track 13
Lajos Sárközi jr. plays the 2nd violon on track 13
László Molnár plays the viola on tracks 12 and 13 and also added the accompanying double bass on track 12
Károly Szegfű plays the cello on tracks 12 and 13