The Month Of Love is Hungarian, too, and full of the shapes and sounds of traditioanl music, but it’s a very different sound and aproach from the Lakatos album. It’s the third of a trilogy of albums by Ferenc Kiss, ex-Vízöntő and –Kolinda singer-songwriter and player of koboz, tambura, zither, violin, hit gardon, jew’s-harp and more. In all of them – 1999’s Outlaws Of The City, 2001’s Sounds Of The Seven Towers and now The Month Of Love – the songs are his own, but he constructs them from tradition or poems, and they’re played on perdominantly traditional instruments.
His albums are complete works, each with a theme. This one sees him reflecting, at the end of his forties, on love and his sequence of relationships. ’On no, the fare of maudlin singer-songwriters!’ I hear you mutter as you turn away. No, it doesen’t sound like that at all. Partly of course, becausi it’s in Hungarian, but also because it’s not a narrow-imagination, built on a guitar chords thing; it’s musically bold and grainy-textured, and constructed from traditioanl musical and lyrical building-blocks. Traditional sounds, but not the village band of fiddles an bowed bass, though they’re there to, nor the café orchestra, but a varied, innovative traditional-revival-expansion mix more in the territory of Kiss’s previous bands, or Ghymes or Vasmalom. As well as Kiss’s own instrumental armoury there are bagpipes and other reeds and wind, and a touch of throatsinging from Balázs Szokolay and Béla Ágoston, plus from others, accordeon, synths, guitar, cimbalom, bass and more.
His own singing is gruffly narrative, almost spoken, contrasting with the strong female tradition-shaped vocals, mainly sung but including speech, rap-like arguing and some orgasmic lnuit-style breath-rhythms, by Bea Palya and a female quartet known as Vándor Vokál. It’s a quirky, interesing, inventive, angular mix; he’s a Hungarian original who deserves to be much better known abroad.
Written by: Andrew Cronshaw