Tarkany Muvek
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Tarkany Muvek

Budapest, Budapest, Hungary | INDIE

Budapest, Budapest, Hungary | INDIE
Band World Folk




"Musical portraiture from Hungary’s new wave"

There seems to be a
bit of a boom in the
Hungarian folk scene
right now, with some
inte re s t ing ne w
groups cropping up
– Napra, for instance. The jazz-meets-folk
group Tárkány Muvek formed in 2008. It’s
led by cimbalom player Bálint Tárkány-
Kovács, who studied at the Liszt Academy
with Kálmán Balogh, with three
instrumentalists on sax, viola, and double
bass, fronted by singer Julianna Paár. This
debut CD is a mixture of new
arrangements of traditional Hungarian
tunes – ‘Hess Páva’ (Hush Peacock) is
gorgeous – and new songs by Tárkány-
Kovács, including a rather touching love
song ‘Semmi Sem Hasonlít Hozzád’
(Nothing Compares to You), which has
overtones of The Wizard of Oz. ‘We believe
that traditions are like seeds,’ says
Tárkány-Kovács. ‘If you want to preserve
them, the best way is to seed them into the
soil and they will grow and yield fruit that
you can seed again.’
The band have a fresh approach to the
tradition, the instrumental combination
works well and Paár has a lovely voice.
But she’s left uncomfortably exposed on a
couple of tracks, which might have been
better re-recorded.
Simon Broughton - Songlines magazine

"CD Review: Hungary's Tarkany Muvek"

Tarkany Muvek is a fascinating music group from Hungary. The Gypsy influence is prevalent with the presence of the cymbalom, flute, sax, strings, and vocals. The energetic "Csipd" opens the album with a giddy, Gypsy rhythm with a playful cymbalom. Vocalist Paar Julianna reflects some of the poetic delivery and sound of the numerous contemporary Scandinavian singers today. The jazzy "Semmi Sem Hasanlit Hozzad" permeates the ears with a Gypsy-tinged sax medley with softer cymbalom tones. The piano-like sounds of the cymbalom are characteristic of Eastern Europe, Gypsy culture, and mainstays in traditional orchestras. The pleasant sounds of "Oszi Vazlat," along and Paar's vocals, make the song a perfect introduction into the next song, "Ugy Szeretlek". This song, along with "Csiririp," contains a spritely rhythm indicative of America's Roaring 20's era. Although, both songs are distinctly Hungarian, they still resemble the nostalgic era. Tarkany Muvek are perfect for fans of European/Scandinavian folk, Gypsy, Balkan, and even Klezmer music. ~ Matthew Forss
- Inside World Music


2010 - Arcomba az arcod vésted / You Ethced Your Face in Mine
2010 - Csiririp demo



Tarkany Muvek (Tarkany Works) is a group of young musicians from Budapest, Hungary with the ambitous plan to weld the raw energy of traditional Hungarian folk, the intellectual rigour of classical music, and the spiritual depth of avant garde jazz and poetry.
Whereas this might sound like a laborous task, their music bubbles up naturally like water from the cold springs of the Transylvanian woods. Their amalgam of sound vibrates with creative tensions: it is ancient yet contemporary, thoughtful yet effortless, serious yet playful. Drawing on a diverse range of musical influences – from Bartók and Coltrane to Toni Iordache and Dr.Dre – they follow the musical vision of band leader Bálint Tárkány Kovács:

"What we would like to achieve is to transform contemporary improvisative music – that is often called jazz – in a way that it becomes more Hungarian. We will forge rhythmic arrangements, melodic progression, ornamentation, and lyrics into an organic whole."

Bálint started playing the Cimbalom when he was seven, and – at the age of 30 – he is one of the instrument's most prominent young masters in Hungary today. Having played in countless folk bands in the last two decades, he became a key figure within the current generation of the "táncház" movement – the urban folk music and dance revivalist scene that gained wider international recognition in the 1980s in relation to the success of bands such as Muzsikás and Kolinda. While Bálint still plays in folk bands Tárkány Muvek is his outlet for stylistically more open creative experimentation. Studying with Gipsy Cimbalom luminary Kálmán Balog at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, he invited like-minded students from the jazz and folk faculties in 2008 to join him in a collective exploration of how jazz and Hungarian music could be brought together along improvisative commonalities.

"I also play the cimbalom in the bands Bivaly and Tündök that play authentic folk music. Besides this, however, there is a need to re-create the culture within ourselves, and doing so, shaping it in a way that suits our contemporary way of life."

Not unlike urban pop, a significant proportion of folk songs tell tales of love – in its various stages. Drawing on this wealth of material, love songs stand in the focal point of Tárkány Muvek's music. Folk singer Julianna Paár's unique voice captures the range of emotions that characterise love from attraction through courtship to breakup with remarkable vibrancy. Her dialogues with Gergo Kováts – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, flute – move easily between excitement and intimacy, happiness and hurt. As Gergo is already making waves on the Budapest experimental jazz scene – in bands like koala Fusion and Oláh Dezso Septet – no wonder that his playing adds an avant garde element to the otherwise rather melodic sound of the band. Endre Papp – on both conventional and three stringed Transylvanian folk viola – and András Bognár – double bass and gardon – provide the rhythmic backbone of the band's music. From slow ballads and jazzy chansons to the driving dance music of Hungary and the Balkans they are a rhythm section with an attitude: there is no need for a drummer here. The raw power that can bring the roof down when unleashed lurks even in their quiet parts comes from their extensive experience of playing in folk bands. Endre is a long-standing a member of Fondor and Muhely, while András plays in Honvéd Táncszínház – one of the three professional folk dance groups of Hungary – and in Ágnes Herczku's band.

Tárkány Muvek’s debut album, You Etched Your Face in Mine – released in 2010, a year after their first reherseals – has already earned them critical acclaim among critics and music enthusiasts in Hungary and generated some buzz abroad.