On the first morning I spent in Warsaw, I set out with Doppler to go and explore the city. We had a nice ride through the old town, down to the Vistula river then back up and through the capital. After lunch, whilst cycling through a little road close to the central station we heard some music. As we progressed down the road we came across what looked like a nice little parc from where the music seemed to be coming from. We approached and found the parc to be fenced off but from there we could see two musicians and children dancing and playing around them.
So I stayed by the fence listening to the music. Turned out that what looked like a parc was actually part of a kindergarden which explained why the women looking after the children kept looking at me in a strange way… Anyways, the musicians finished playing, packed their stuff up and as they were walking out I went up to talk to them. The teachers, relieved to see I was after the musicians, finally smiled at me as I asked the duo if they wanted to record something for the project. They did.
They are from Hungary and were on their way to a small province in Russia to perform at a folk festival. They play traditional Hungarian dance music and had come into Warsaw for a few hours in between two flight just to visit. They’d been looking for a parc to sit down and play and, just like me, had thought the kindergarden was one. Luckily they were spontaneously invited to play for the children. The kids loved it and were jumping up and down fascinated by what they were hearing!
They were playing a large variety of tunes issued from the peasant folk tradition which in the 1970s resurfaced in popular culture. This revival is know as the Hungarian Dance House Mouvement. During the same period, many other cultures were exploring their folk cultural background but the Hungarian revival had a particularity as it also revived many traditional dances. (If you are interested in the movement I found this great article which is an cool read)
They performed their pieces on a Cobza (Koboz in Hungarian) and several different forms of Kavals and overtone flutes. Several centuries ago the Cobza was the poor mans luth and had spread from the Turkish empire across to central Europe. By the 20th century it had almost entirely disappeared and was only surviving in poor countries like Romania. With the folk revival of the 70s, it resurfaced through dance house music.
Anyways, this what I understood from our conversation and being frightened of talking nonsense I’ll let the music speak: