"Listening to “Gipsy Love” (i.e., “Cigányszerelem”) by Kalyi Jag ... one begins to understand how the Roma managed to survive for centuries without a country of their own: through passionate expression of their music. Transcending time and politics, music expressed the Roma way of life like nothing else could, since they traveled from place to place. Kalyi Jag brings to life the full Gipsy spirit: they sing of cruel fate, lost love, poverty, infidelity and jealousy. They sing about a simple way of life: selling horses at the fair and the thoughts and feelings of being a knife-grinder, who wanders from village to village plying his trade. They sing about a son who abandons the straight and narrow life, breaking his mother’s heart, and about the son who brings pleasure to his young wife by playing music on his guitar. The rhythms are universally Gipsy and Balkan-like, they do not resemble any of the Hungarian popular music know as “nota” which is often played by Gipsy bands in restaurants in Hungary. Although Kalyi Jag uses a few modern instruments, like the guitar, they provide traditional percussion using hollow milk cans and other common utensils, such as spoons or vocalization. The harmonies are typical Roma .. they are hauntingly familiar to anyone who enjoys Balkan music, because so many ”traditional” Balkan sounds incorporate them into their village music. This is understandable as the Gypsies have wandered into and out of all the countries in Eastern Europe ... some settled down into ghettos in the cities or segregated sections of villages, maintaining their unique identity and way of life for centuries.

Most gypsies today, can be categorized by where they live: either city-dwellers (urban gypsies) or rural dwellers (village gypsies). The time of wandering in caravans, over mountains and settling in the valley for an overnight stay, has for the most part been abandoned. For the past 100 years or so, the better known Gipsy bands have originated in the cities where their talents were utilized in restaurants and hotels, playing music for the clientele. The music which they played was usually the popular music of the day or national music of the country, with violin as the primary instrument In Hungary, the cimbalom (a type of hammered dulcimer, played with a mallet) has been almost universally identified with Gipsy music. Although segregation has occurred, most often due to discrimination and often has a
negative connotation, it helped foster and maintain the Gipsy way of life. On many levels, the gypsies were viewed as ‘outsiders’ yet this fostered their identify, cohesion, and community spirit in a way nothing else could. In the past, music was the only way to maintain the freedom of the Gipsy spirit and express universal sorrow and melancholy in the midst of harsh circumstances. Today, the younger Gipsy musicians, although remaining true to their roots, are often college-educated. Kalman Balogh, the world-renown young Gipsy cimbalom player and some members of Kalyi Jag, Jozsef Balogh and his wife, Agnes Balogh-Kunstler, have
studied music formally. They remain true to the rural Gipsy music. The rural gypsies were known for creating primarily sorrowful and melancholic songs. They also used vocalization, such as, repetitive made-up sounds or created rhythms, by slapping ones hand on the thighs, or stomping on the floor. Emotional extremes are the core basis of the origin of these sounds and the music itself. Gypsies can express, like nobody else on earth (except perhaps for African-Americans, i.e., Blacks, who sing the blues) the pure love of life despite pain and sorrow. Kalyi Jag expresses the eternal yin and yang cycles of life, love and hate, happiness and sadness, hope and frustration as no other Gipsy group has done before. In addition, they compose and create songs and music reflective of their roots. The compositions are original and new ... but the traditional sound they create is as old as the Gipsy culture itself. “Gipsy Szerelem“ will live up to your highest expectations of what good music should sound like. It is a treasure-chest of music whose roots go very deep ... the expression of the eternal opposites of life provides a universal appeal for people who have eclectic tastes in music."

Erika Borsos

01 - Black Lover
02 - Bring Me My God
03 - My Guitar
04 - My Little Girl
05 - This Boy Is Cunning
06 - The Knife Grinder
07 - The Mother Is Cry
08 - Let's Go Dancing
09 - My Little Worn Wagon
10 - The Girl Whit Golden Teeth
11 - Up Mother
12 - With My Wife
13 - I Am Not Happy
14 - Wake Up Girl
15 - I Remember Bulgaria
16 - You Are My Lover
17 - Good World
18 - In The Fair

Gusztáv Varga - voice, guitar
Ágnes Künstler - voice
József Balogh - voice, tambura, guitar, spoon
József Nagy - water can, oral bass


pass: bluesmen-worldmusic.blogspot.com

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