As a member of Vízöntő, Kolinda and other projects, Ferenc Kiss has been involved for years with Hungarian traditional music and the movements to keep it a continuing force in the present day. In 1994 he set up the Etnofon Music Company, not just a record label issuing traditional and archive recordings and new evolutions but also the core of a performing and theatre music unit.


There’s no point in cherishing and preserving the traditional musical language if all one does is display it as A Good Thing; you have to use it as a means of contemporary expression, and in Nagyvárosi Bujdosók - Outlaws Of The City that’s what Kiss does. It’s a personal snapshot album of the things that have shaped his life as a modern Hungarian, the CD long-form packaged with a substantial booklet of lyrics, prose pieces and photos.

The language of that life, of course, is Hungarian, so for non-speakers the message is slimmed down to the sound of the music, its strong textures of bold voices and the exquisitely edgy tension of finely-played traditional instruments and well-integrated electronica from Kiss and twenty-two other musicians and singers. The lyrics do contain the occasional recognisable cross-linguistic reference, though: “Hé Joe, hé Jude, hé you”...


Written by: Andrew Crownshaw


Source: fROOTS