Makám with Szilvia Bognar
The Hungarian ensemble Makám performs newly-composed, traditionally-inspired music strongly tied to "Oriental" music cultures, based on the scales of Eastern (ragas), Bulgarian-Turkish scale variations (makams) and even the half-tone scales frequently used Bartók, songs sounding like Hungarian folk ballads and arrangements by musicians with contemporary and jazz skills. The voice of Szilvia Bognar brings life and tenderness to the very precise compositions of Zoltan Krulik on this 2005 release. Highly Recommended
Zoltán Krulik - Spanish guitar, 12-stringed guitar, voice
Eszter Krulik - violin, voice
Balázs Thurnay - kaval, flute, clarinet, derbouka, voice
Szilvia Bognár - voice, flute
Bálint Pödör - udu, derbouka, marimba, percussion
Zoltán Kovács - double bass, voice
Guest: Sándor Zsemlye - saxophone, clarinet Tracks:
Makám ensemble was founded in 1984 with the purpose of establishing a particular form of 'community music' – to show the common characteristics that exist within the musical cultures of different peoples and between contrasting musical forms. Their music is a sort of improvised chamber music with elements of classical music, contemporary jazz and rock. The melodies and rhythms are influenced by Irish and Balkan music and all points East –Turkish, Arab, Persian, Indian and South-East Asian. Following the belief that ancient Hungarian folk music is deeply related to Eastern traditions the group arrived at cultures geographically far removed from Hungary. The name Makám itself is a reference to maqam, the Persian-Arabic term that refers to the various modes that determine the structure of classical improvisational music from the Near East. The band employs rarely heard rhythms and melodies together with an original and innovative combination of divers instruments.
Besides more familiar classical instruments such as guitar, violin, double-bass, clarinet, oboe and saxophone, the ancient Balkan kaval, the Indian ghatam and the tuneable tabla play important roles in the group's music. Furthermore, more exotic stringed instruments and percussion such as marimba, kalimba, bamboo sansas, ektar, talking drum and bells are employed to add embellishments and colour. New possibilities in playing techniques and tonality are explored and despite the diverse nature of the instruments the unity and harmony of the warm acoustic sounds are always uniquely and distinctively Makám. The group was founded by songwriter and guitarist Zoltán Krulik who emerged as a Central European follower of the ethnoavantgarde trend in the 1980's. Into the 90's the sound was nuanced with Balkan elements, Near and Far Eastern roots music and African effects or repetitive elements of contemporary music.
The more recent period from 2000 is characterised by a greater use of archaic Hungarian folk music and a more primary role for the song form. A succession of fine voiced female vocalists has ornamented the Makám sound over the years, and the recent contributions of Szilvia Bognár are outstanding. Original exponents of 'world music' before the term was coined, Makám has continued to incorporate musical ideas and elements from all corners of the globe. While their strong Hungarian roots make them undoubtedly a European band, the way they continue to defy easy classification and the sheer eclecticism of their musical vision claim them a place as true boundary crossers.
The legacy of Bartók and Kodály, the synthesis of archaic cultures and the contemporary age is the unchanging musical credo of Makám
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