Tihomir Pop Asanović – Majko Zemljo (1974)

capa cópia

Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the nature of the ancient world in little more than a decade.

Alexander was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 BC. His parents were Philip II of Macedon and his wife Olympias. Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle until the age of 16.

Philip was assassinated in 336 BC and Alexander inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom. He quickly dealt with his enemies at home and reasserted Macedonian power within Greece. He then set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire.

circa 330 BC
circa 330 BC

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat. His greatest victory was at the Battle of Gaugamela, what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC.

The young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, overlord of Asia Minor and pharaoh of Egypt became ‘great king’ of Persia at the age of 25. (!!)

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents.

The Kingdom
The Kingdom

The entire area was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, while the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects. Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his thousands of soldiers.

The fact that his army only refused to follow him once in 13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired to his men.

He died of typhoid fever in Babylon in June 323 BC.

Diogenes and Alexander
Diogenes and Alexander

Let’s go to our album:

Tihomir Pop Asanović (1948, Skopje, FYROM Macedonia) is one of the best ex-Yugoslavian keyboard players. He started with The Generals (Latin rock) in 1968 and played frequently across East European and German jazz clubs.

He was original line-up member of legendary prog-rock Time taking part in their celebrated eponymous debut album in 1972. During the mid-1970s he either played occasionally with Yu Grupa (classic) and Smak (jazz-prog), while in 1974, founded a supergroup called Jugoslovenska Pop Selekcija (The Yugoslavian Pop Selection), which gathered some of the best rock and jazz players of the era.

Presently
Naši Dani: Priče O Hrvatskom Rocku – Tv Show

Together with a colleague from the Selection, vocalist Janez Bončina, he founded jazz-rock band September in 1975. After they disbanded in the late 70s he also joined in Boomerang (funk) and finally as a prominent session musician to then (phew), finish its career as a musical instruments dealer!

The ‘IM’ highlights are for Majko Zemljo and Ostavi Trag. 

Get ready for some Yugo Funk and имаат убава патување!

Tracks Include:

A1 Majko Zemljo (vocals by Dado Topić and Janez Bončina)

A2 Balada o lišću (vocal by Dado Topić)

A3 Berlin I

A4 Tema za pop LP (vocal by Nada Žgur)

B1 Rokenrol dizajner (vocals by Dado Topić and Janez Bončina)

B2 Ostavi trag (vocal by Josipa Lisac)

B3 Telepatija (vocals by Nada Žgur, Dado Topić, and Doca Marlot)

B4 Berlin II

Credits

  • Bass, Bass [Fender] – Mario Mavrin (tracks: A1, A3 to B3)
  • Conductor – Tihomir Pop Asanović
  • Congas, Percussion – Braco Doblekar (tracks: A1 to B3)
  • Drums, Percussion – Ratko Divjak (tracks: A1 to B3)
  • Producer – Miljenko Prohaska, Vladimir Mihaljek
  • Saxophone [Alto] – Ozren Depolo (tracks: A1 to B1, B3)
  • Saxophone [Tenor] – Dušan Verble (tracks: A1 to B1)
  • Trombone – Boris Šinigoj (tracks: A1, A3 to B1)
  • Trumpet – Pero Ugrin (tracks: A1 to B1), Stanko Arnold (tracks: A1, A3 to B1)

Jugoton / LSY-63003

Ohrid Lake
Ohrid Lake

Orkiestra PR I TV W Lodzi Dyryguje Henryk Debich – String Beat (1975)

cover

Happy 2014 to all our friends, I was away for a few days but we’ll resume gradually the number of posts, January is always a little slower, isn’t it? Today’s artist is a small (late) tribute to our Polish friends, nothing less than one of the biggest visitors of our page!

The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate thousand-year history. With origins in the culture of the Early Slavs, over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity, these factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art. Nowadays, Poland is a highly developed country, however, it retains its tradition.

Traditional Art
Traditional Art

Poland still suffers from a bad image in a way that people who are not from there see the country as the pool where your local painter, farm-help or building constructor comes from (sic). And those people lack the sophistication we, of course, had in our years after WWII, Right? Wrong!! (XO)

Let’s go to our history:

In fact, Poland has a long history of being one of the most cultural evolved countries in Europe. With an empire that once stretched from the East Sea to the Black Sea with an elective monarchy in the 16th century (probably the first of the western world). Thanks to Nicolaus Copernicus we finally found the scientific proof that the world was round! Musically Poland shows influences from composers like Chopin and folk music like the Mazurka, Bohemian Polka and Polonaise.

Not to mention in its world-famous writers and filmmakers like Adam Mickiewicz and Stanisław Lem; or legendary Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Bohemian Polka
Bohemian Polka

Poland should be famous for its jazz scene during the communist regime and has an interesting pop and rock scene evolving in the 70s and 80s, with artists and acts like: Czesław Niemen, Novi Singers, Niebiesko-Czarni, Halina Frąckowiak, Big Band Katowice, SBB, Breakout, Marek Grechuta, and Stan Borys.

But let us return a little bit, to understand the darkest period of the country.

Started on the night of 1 September 1939, when Wehrmacht wore on their battle lines, Polish forces were the first to face the German war machine, unfortunately, defeated in just over a month. Even with the 4th largest army, without the presence of the allies, any country would ever accomplish the deadly feat. The Soviets advanced on 17 September as agreed in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (split into two zones).

British Propaganda
British Propaganda

The Poles were the people most affected by WWII. There too the war ended in 1945, but the end of the conflict did not mean the liberation of the country. In 1945, Poland was a country dismantled, its western border had been pushed 500 kilometers to the west (!), in accordance with agreements made in November 1943 by Soviet Joseph Stalin with the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Tehran. Millions of Poles living in the east were transferred to territories formerly under German rule. Warsaw was uninhabited and in ruins.

Six million Poles died in the conflict, of which more than 95% were civilians. (!!)

Warsaw, 1945
Warsaw, 1945

Czeslaw Milosz (writer and Nobel laureate) would recall: ‘For six years, Poland seemed a mechanized slaughterhouse, whose treadmill constantly carried the corpses of murdered human beings’ (!)

Intellectual, religious and noble were transported by the thousands to concentration camps or executed immediately. The goal was Germanizing Polish territories and transform the population into slave labor.

The main concentration camps were located in occupied Poland: Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, Chelmno, and Maidanek. Only 10% of the 3.3 million Polish Jews managed to save themselves. The Polish resistance decided on two fronts: against the Germans a military struggle, against the Soviet Union, a policy.

In 1944, when the Red Army began to approach the east of the country, the Poles wanted to present them as masters of their own place. Planned so that, a few hours before the arrival of the Soviets, Warsaw take up arms to expel the Germans. The 1st of August 1944, the Polish resistance began fighting against the Nazis but was left in the hand by the Soviets, because Stalin refused to help. Soviet troops had been halted by Moscow across the banks of the Vistula River – at the gates of Warsaw – and watched 63 days of bitter fighting, with a balance of 200.000 Poles killed. (!)

The Germans dominated the uprising and drove the survivors out of the city that was completely ruined. Hitler even ordered the implosion of what was left standing, consecrating Warsaw as the most destroyed capital in WWII.

Polish Underground State
Polish Underground State

The Resistance was cruelly fought by Nazi occupiers, for each dead German, hundred Polish hostages were executed. Until today, the Warsaw uprising isn’t just a national trauma, but also a double symbol of resistance – against the Nazi terror and against Soviet oppression. Every year, the 1st of August, thousands of residents of the capital gather to pay tribute for the uprising.

1945 was the year of liberation from the German terror. The 60th anniversary of this date is remembered by Poles accordingly. But nobody forgets that Poland wasn’t free after the War. The communist regime installed by Moscow only made ​​the Nazi terror be replaced by the Stalinist (sic).

Warsaw Uprising Monument
Warsaw Uprising Monument

The development of WWII, its battles and countless other situations will be addressed in future posts, this is just a small summary to contextualize, ok?!

Let’s go to our music:

With the coming of the world wars and then the Communist state, folk traditions were oppressed or subsumed into state-approved folk ensembles. The most famous state ensembles were Mazowsze and Śląsk. Though these bands had a regional touch to their output, the overall sound was a homogenized mixture of Polish styles. The whole field seems unhip to young audiences, and many traditions dwindled rapidly.

The entrance of Jazz music, much more appealing to the young audiences, shook up the Soviet structures, in the 50s. Changing once and for all the Polish soundscape.

(Square) Folk Ensemble
(Square) Folk Ensemble

Before WWII, bands playing in restaurants and bars of Warsaw, Krakow or Poznan already had jazz elements in their repertoire. After the war, the initial period of fascination by youngsters with jazz music was quickly suppressed by communist authorities. The Catacomb Period tried to ban the genre, jazz was played unofficially as a piece of underground music, but two events helped to change that.

First, Stalin died in 1953 which brought a political change that brought freedom also in the field of art. Second, jazz pianist Dave Brubeck visited Poland which had an enormous impact, it was the beginning of the development of an authentic jazz movement and the start of Polish pop music.

Dave Brubeck Quartet
Dave Brubeck Quartet

During the 50s and 60s, Polish musicians reached for records of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, of hard-bop quintets as well as for the records of bands led by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. The main promoters of modern jazz during the 50s were Andrzej Trzaskowski, Jerzy MilianAndrzej Kurylewicz, among others.

Polish popular music in the 60s was relatively tame compared to its Western contemporaries, mostly because the Communist government was rather skeptical about rock’n’roll and tried to limit its cultural influence on the young generation. In fact, to avoid trouble from the association, a new term was coined – big beat and its Polish-language equivalent, Mocne Uderzenie. The big beat performers were mostly imitating British stars of the time, sometimes adding elements of Polish folk music.

Polish Jazz Cover
Polish Jazz Cover

The 60s also brought Poland one of its most original artists, Czesław Niemen. He started out performing Latin and big beat songs, but soon transformed into a superstar when his protest song Dziwny Jest Ten Swiat (Strange Is This World) was applauded to no end at 1967 Opole Festival. The key to his success was not only an extraordinary voice and image but also very expressive, soul repertoire and poetic lyrics.

At the end of the decade, big beat finally gave way to more evolved rock genres, which would dominate the Polish scene in the following years: blues, soul, prog, disco, etc. The complete unfolding of the 70s will be studied at a later time, after this overview (phew!), let us return to today’s artist, shall we?!

Let’s go to our album:

Henryk Debich, Cartoon
Henryk Debich, Cartoon

Henry Debich (18 January 1921 – 4 July 2001) born and buried at Pabianice, was a Polish conductor, composer, arranger, and educator. Born in a family of musicians, his father, Bernard Debich, was a bandmaster from the factory’s orchestra. Before the war, he had private lessons on piano, trumpet, and trombone. He graduated in Theory, Composition and Conducting at Lodz Academy of Music.

During WWII, he was arrested on May 16, 1940, as part of a large share of the Lodz Gestapo, being placed in a camp in Radogoszcz, and then in Dachau. After the war, he took a job teaching in Pabianicka music school and began working with the Polish Radio. At the same time, he continued his studies at the Conservatory H. Kijeńska-Dobkiewiczowej, and studied music theory and conducting.

Henryk's Portrait
Henryk’s Portrait

Debich was co-founder and since 1952 the conductor and artistic director, of The Entertainment Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television in Lodz. Being a multi-annual music director, conductor and juror at festivals in Opole, Sopot, Kolobrzeg and Zielona Gora. He was the second conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra (1956-1958), and together with its ensembles, recorded music for over 20 films and released more than 50 Lp’s throughout its brilliant career!

As a conductor and arranger, the maestro worked with orchestras in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Netherlands, Cuba, East Germany, Portugal, USSR and so on. He also collaborated with opera and Musical Theatre in Lodz.

Live
Live

Finally, some Polish jazz and funk to roll you upside down! It took a while for us to enter in Poland, this String Beat is almost a sum of every genre that was happening in a strong instrumental act: rock, soul, funk, fusion, soundtrack music, with lots of woodwinds and reeds. It is always good to see the intersection between classical and popular music, with some (dope and mellow) Western covers included.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Bez Metalu, straight from some Blaxploitation movie, this insane groove will leave your jaw open with every single aspect, the arrangement here is some real deal, get ready. And Kameleon, Hancock’s famous song, got a classy drapery here, with swinging guitars, flute/sax solos, and light synths. Frightful!

O Dara Irin Ajo!

Tracks Included:

A1 Na Opak (Z. Karwacki, J. Delong)

A2 Bez Metalu (M. Racewicz)

A3 Gry Flute (A. Żylis) – [Solos, J. Delong & Z. Karwacki]

A4 Oscypka (Z. Karwacki) – [Solos, A. Szczepański & K. Osiński]

A5 Standard In B (J. Malinowski) – [Solos, J. Delong & Z. Karwacki]

B1 Melodia Z Filmu “Shaft” (I. Hayes / M. Hoffmann)

B2 Opadający Widnokrąg (A. Żylis)

B3 Kameleon (H. Hancock) – [Solos, J. Malinowski &J. Olejniczak]

B4 Obladi – Oblada (J. Lennon, McCartney / M. Hoffmann)

B5 Bądź Wieczorem W Dyskotece (J. Malinowski)

Credits

  • Conductor – Henryk Debich
  • Design (Artwork) – J. Flisak
  • Engineer (Reżyser) – M. Targowski
  • Liner Notes – Andrzej Jaroszewski
  • Orchestra – Orkiestra PR I TV W Łodzi
  • Photography – K. K. Czapliński

Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1276

Nowoczesny, Warsaw
Nowoczesny, Warsaw

Deuter – Aum (1972)

cover

It was English musician, sound designer, and conceptualist Brian Eno who first officially coined the phrase ambient, in the sleeve notes to his 1978 opus Ambient 1: Music For Airports he defines it as music designed to induce calm and space to think. One of ambient music’s prime sources is the classical avant-garde. Among the pioneers were two late-19th Century composers, Claude Debussy, and Erik Satie.

Satie’s concept of furniture music for solo piano or small ensembles now seems surprisingly congruous with Eno’s concept of ambiance: creating a sound environment that complimented the surrounds rather than intruded upon it. More musically direct but just as subtle and suggestive was the work of Debussy, who’s wandering, impressionistic tone poems like Prelude To The Afternoon of The Fawn heralded an openness in Western music, bursting the rules in structure/linear composition.

Debussy & Satie
Debussy & Satie

By the middle of the 20th Century, the American composer John Cage had blown stuffy notions of proper music right out of the water. He pre-empted world music with pieces that evoked the sounds of Africa, India, and Indonesia; he invented and composed for the prepared piano with objects stuck in piano wires to create Asian-like tones and percussive textures; and he perplexed his audiences with collisions of randomly created noise and, most infamously, his piece 4’33” which challenged listeners to consider silence as a perfect form of musical expression.

After Cage, the 60s saw the rise of a school of American composers with classical backgrounds who became known as minimalists (La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass). They took the idea of repetition and explored it over long distances, whether with orchestras, electric instruments or non-Western instrumental combinations. In turn, minimalism was to inform music as diverse as Krautrock, techno and new age music. German composer Karl Stockhausen further explored Cage’s tape experiments with odd collages, a precursor to modern digital sampling.

John Cage, Variations V
John Cage, Variations V

This was also a time of absorption of avant-garde ideas into rock music. In the late 60s rock was enriched enormously by a combination of electronic music technology, psychedelic drugs, and the innovations of jazzmen like Miles Davis. The classical music of India also made a significant impact on Western musicians, initially championed by minimalists from the classical world such as Terry Riley and La Monte Young and then absorbed by The Beatles and The Incredible String Band.

Krautrock pioneers such as Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, and Ash Ra Tempel took the next step by downplaying or abandoning pop’s emphasis on lyrics and taking audiences into totally new spaces. The tracks were instrumental, improvised, spacey and long. Rock was undergoing its own avant-garde and the open-ended sound of one instrument in particular: the analog synthesizer. Such an important tool of expression that music that’s been released since then simply wouldn’t exist without it!

Tangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream

Let’s go to our history:

Born Georg Deuter in 1945, in post-war Germany’s town of Falkenhagen, he taught himself ‘just about every instrument I could get my hands on’, though it wasn’t until after a near-fatal car crash in his early twenties that he decided to pursue a career in music. His first release in 1971, entitled D, marked the beginning of Deuter’s spiritual and musical journey, ostensibly paving the way for a new genre: New Age (Ambient).

Which combined acoustic and electronic elements with ethnic instrumentation and nature sounds, such as whale/bird song, the open sea, wind in the trees, rain, etc.

Deuter, 70s
Deuter, 70s

During the 70s and 80s, after traveling extensively through Asia in search of spiritual and creative inspiration, Deuter settled for a long time in Pune, India, where under the name Chaitanya Hari he became a neo-sannyasin, a disciple of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho). With the aid of a multitrack tape machine, he produced a series of music tapes to be used in active meditations, consisting of several stages of ten or fifteen minutes each, which range between Indian classical motifs, fiery drums, loops, synthesizers, bells, musique concrète, and pastoral acoustic passages.

In the early 90s, Deuter ended his long-standing relationship with Kuckuck, the small record label that had released nearly 20 original albums, and relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he signed a deal with New Earth Records, an independent label founded by fellow sannyasin Bhikkhu Schober and Waduda Paradiso. This proved to be a lucrative move for all involved, the majority of them intended to accompany various healing/spiritual practices such as Reiki, massage and meditation.

Western + Eastern
Western + Eastern

Deuter continues to learn and master an ever-expanding array of instruments, including the shakuhachi flute, the koto, sitar, Tibetan singing bowls, santoor, bouzouki, piano, and keyboard. He has recorded and released over 60 albums and claims to have sold more than he can count during the course of his career. (!)

Let’s go to our album:

This album sounds like when you keep waking up from dreaming and you can’t quite tell what’s the reality and what’s part of your dreams. That alternate dimension between the real world and the dream world, where nothing is in focus and you merely catch fleeting glimpses of images as they roll past your mind’s eye. Each song on Aum fades into silence before continuing into the following track, creating the feeling that they are all separate entities, unrelated to each other.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Drums, flute, guitar, and sitar, combined with the sounds of the ocean, create a variety of different moods and feelings. Some of the pieces are more meditative and reflective, while others are more rhythmic. Deuter is a highly skilled musician who joins his musical talent with spiritual insight and sensitivity.

Welcome to another example of transcendental music, such as Alice Coltrane’s previous post, today’s album has also a distinct imprint, leaving the controversial Guru aside, let’s just stick to Deuter’s heavenly music, ok?

Deuter, Lately
Deuter, Lately

Even though not being a diehard fan of New Age music, this Lp takes us to an atemporal world of discovery, freedom, and breaking of paradigms. Only a political and social landscape as Germany, would have so many strands and styles within a musical scene such as Krautrock, light an incense and put your headphones.

Enjoy the album as a whole and Udhëtimi I Mirë!

Tracks Include:

A1 Phoenix / Aum / Soham

A2 Offener Himmel 1 / Gleichzeitig / Offener Himmel 2 / Sattwa / Morning Glory

B Soma / Sunrat Shabda / Abraxas / Susani / The Key

Credits

  • Artwork (Cover) – Manfred Manke
  • Composed By, Performer, Producer – Georg Deuter
  • Music by, Arranged by – Deuter

 Kuckuck ‎– 2375 017

Darß (Darss), Coastline
Darß (Darss), Coastline

Sarolta Zalatnay – Tükörkép (1980)

cover

Hungary. Following periods of successive habitation by Celts, Romans, Huns, Slavs, Gepids, and Avars, the foundation of Magyarország was laid in the late 9th century by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád. His great-grandson Stephen I ascended to the throne in 1000 AD, converting the country to a Christian kingdom. Hungary became a middle power and part of the Western world by the 12th century. After the Battle of Mohács and about 150 years of partial Ottoman occupation, Hungary became part of the Habsburg, and later formed part of the Austro–Hungarian Empire.

Hungary’s current borders were first established by the Treaty of Trianon (1920) after WWI. The country lost 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, and 32% of ethnic Hungarians. (!) On the side of the Axis Powers, Hungary also suffered great damages in WWII, during its four decades-long communist dictatorships (1947–1989), the country gained widespread international attention regarding the Revolution of 1956 and the seminal opening of its border with Austria in 1989, previously restricted by the Iron Curtain, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.

Traditional Dance and Costumes
Traditional Dance and Costumes

On 23 October 1989, Hungary again became a democratic parliamentary republic, and now it is a developed country, only standing behind Austria and Slovenia (its bordered countries) in HDI indices. Nowadays, Hungary is a very popular tourist destination attracting 10.2 million tourists a year!

Let’s go to our history:

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People’s Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. It was the first major threat to Soviet control since the USSR’s forces drove out the Nazis at the end of WWII and occupied Eastern Europe. Despite the failure of the uprising, it was highly influential and came to play a role in the downfall of the Soviet Union decades later.

Public Demonstrations
Public Demonstrations

The revolt began as a student demonstration, which attracted thousands as they marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building, calling out on the streets using a van with loudspeakers via Radio Free Europe. A student delegation entering the radio building to try to broadcast the students’ demands was detained. When the delegation’s release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. As the news spread, disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

The revolt spread quickly across Hungary and the government collapsed. Thousands organized into militias, battling the ÁVH and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned and former prisoners were released and armed. Radical impromptu workers’ councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People’s Party and demanded political changes. A new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.

Women's Militia
Women’s Militia

After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo (Central Committee of the Communist Party) changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. The Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. (!) Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter, by January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions, while strengthening control over Eastern Europe, alienated many Western Marxists.

Stalin's Head
Stalin’s Head

But how music has been influenced over the years that followed? Let us understand a little that other context.

Hungarian popular music in the early 20th century consisted of light operettas and the Roma music of various styles. Nagymező Utca, the Broadway of Budapest, was a major center for popular music and boasted enough nightclubs and theaters. In 1945, however, this era abruptly ended and popular music was mostly synonymous with the patriotic songs imposed by the Russian Communists.

In 1956, however, liberalization began with the three Ts (tűrés, tiltás, támogatás, meaning toleration, prohibition, support), and a long period of cultural struggle began, starting with a battle over African-American jazz. Jazz became a part of Hungarian music in the early 20th century but did not achieve widespread renown until the 1970s, when Hungary began producing internationally known performers like the Benko Dixieland Band (below) and Bela Szakcsi Lakatos.

BDB
BDB

In the early 60s, Hungarian youths began listening to rock in droves, in spite of condemnation from the authorities. Three bands dominated the scene by the beginning of the 70s, Illés, Metró, and Omega, all three of which had released at least one Lp. A few other bands recorded singles, but the Record-Producing Company, a state-run record label, did not promote these bands, which quickly disappeared.

In 1968, the New Economic Mechanism was introduced, intending on revitalizing the Hungarian economy; in the 70s, however, the Russians cracked down on subversives in Hungary, and rock was a major target. (!) Illés was banned from performing and recording, while Metró and Omega left for exile. Some of the members of these bands formed a supergroup, Locomotiv GT, that quickly became very famous. Bands like Piramis and Skorpio kept the underground prog-rock scene alive. These bands also succeeded to get more in the mainstream by supporting female singers like Kati KovácsZsuzsa Koncz and Sarolta Zalatnay on their albums.

Locomotiv GT, 74
Locomotiv GT, 74′

But further, rock bands in the late 70s mostly had to conform to the Record Company’s demands and ensure that all songs passed the inspection of the Song Committee, who scoured looking for ideological disobedience (sic). Locomotiv GT was the most prominent band of a classic rock style, along with Bergendy. Meanwhile, the disco style of electronic music produced such performers as the officially-sanctioned and praised Neoton Familia and Judith Szűcs.

The following decades saw the entrance and growth of punk, new wave, clubbing, electronic dance, as well as the end of the (infamous) Record Production Company and with the fall of the wall greater freedom of expression and paths.

Let’s go to our album:

Sarolta Zalatnay born on December 14, 1947, as Charlotte Sacher, grew up in Budapest. At the age of 16 she auditions as a singer with the folk/jazz band Bergendy. They started recording old fashioned melodies but soon changed into more modern material. With the band she appeared in the Hungarian Television’s song contest named Táncdalfesztivál in 1963 with the song Hol Jár Az Eszem?

Mid 60s
Mid 60s

The band developed a style that would be known as Beat Ablak and Zalatnay was pushed forward as lead singer. In 1967 under her nickname Cini she won the contest with the song Nem Várok Holnapig, which was accompanied by the Hungarian rock group Omega. It gave her a chance for a study/trip to Paris and London in 1968-69 during which she got acquainted with the members of the Bee Gees group.

Back in Hungary in 1969 the musical climate already changed and with Metro, she records some singles before state label Qualitation releases her debut album Ha Fiú Lehetnék in 1970. Her breakthrough came when she performed in the alternative musical movie Szép Lányock, Ne Sírjatok. In 1971 she wins first prize in the Dance Song Contest with Fák, Virágok, Fény. With Locomotiv GT she started recording two follow up albums. Hitherto, her albums sold over 400.000 copies. (!)

70s Look
The 70s Look

In 1973 she broke with the LGT team to switch to Skorpio with whom she recorded the album Hadd Mondjam El including elements of funk, beat and synthesizer experiments. Responsible for this was pianist Gyula Papp. LGT meanwhile started to record with singer Kati Kovacs which turned competitive with Zalatnay. In 1974 she got married to Sándor Révész (singer of Piramis), but they divorced later on.

At the start of the eighties Zalatnay’s star started to fade next to a whole new musical scene, she turned to write an autobiography called New Vagyok En Apaca. In 1987 she married László Benedek and got a daughter in 1989. Since 1995 she also became active as chairman of the Hungarian Animal Protection and Nature Federation.

In 1995 she married her third husband Márton Csaba, a porn director. Although not a very faithful husband he swept Sarolta into a TV-production venture called CiNN TV, he also persuaded her to pose for Playboy! In 2004 she appeared in the Hungarian Big Brother days before she had to sit out a three-year prison sentence for tax fraud. This also was the end of her marriage. In prison she worked in a new book and in 2009 she performed again for a documentary about her life. In February 2009 she released a second biography with a new album Magadat Vállalni Kell.

After this little lesson, we will stick to the album, perhaps her last great commercial success from the 70s, again she is accompanied by a great band: Karthago. Headlong into the Disco wave his romantic side also emerges in certain moments, in whole this is a bit different from Hadd Mondjam El but still deserves your care.

Lately
Lately Portrait

Sarolta has the voice of Janis Joplin with a Hungarian temper, a nose for good bands and a lascivious body. She was there at the forefront in the sixties and seventies with bands like Omega, Locomotiv GT and Skorpio. A phenomenon in Hungary and hardly known outside. Her career after 1990 has been laced with dodgy marriages, uncontrolled TV appearances and being prey for the paparazzi. Lately, she gets some recognition abroad due to a finders-keepers re-press released in 2009.

The ‘IM’ highlights are: Add Vissza a Babaruhát, a heavy clavinet funky-disco with Sarolta’s harsh voice, boogie chorus, synth-strings, light percussion and an invitation to not leave the dance floor, get down! And Karnevál a Hungarian attempt to portray the carnival, this stimulant song brings us a little of folklore guitars, woodwinds and a great performance from the diva by the end. Jó Utat!

Tracks Include:

A1 Széttört Tükörkép

A2 Mondd Nekem

A3 Életképek

A4 Add Vissza A Babaruhát

A5 Mindig Kell Egy Barát

B1 R’ And R’

B2 Százszor Visszaadok Mindent

B3 Karnevál

B4 Hozzám Tartozol (feat. Máté Péter)

B5 Tükörkép

Credits

  • Backing Band – Karthago
  • Conductor (Orchestra) – Bolba Lajos
  • Directed by (Musical Director) – Kószás László
  • Engineer – Szita István
  • Written by – S. Nagy István, Máté Péter (A1 to A3, B1, B2, B5)
  • A4, A5, B3 and B4 by – Zalatnay Sarolta

Pepita ‎– SLPX 17612

Released in December, 1979

Budapest, Look On
Budapest, Look On

Turkish Female Mixtape ~ 2013

kamuran akkor cópia

Turkey. A country that divides two continents, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is localized at the Bosphorus Strait, the legendary bridge that divides the European continent of Asia. This geographical division ended up influencing the Turkish customs and its diverse and rich ancient culture. By owning the shortest route in intercontinental passages, historically the only way between the civilizations of East and West, the country became an important center of trade and constant migration transit. With several occupations throughout his history, such as Hittites, Assyrians, Hellenization, and Byzantine Empire, Mongols, and lastly, the Ottoman Empire, Turkey mainly thanks to its rebirth to one single individual: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Atatürk
Atatürk

Credited with being the founder of the Republic of Turkey, after defeating the Ottoman Empire in WWI, Atatürk embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the underdeveloped country into a modern, secular and democratic nation-state. Under his leadership, thousands of new schools were built, primary education was made free and compulsory, while the taxation on peasants was reduced. The constant economic growth continued until WWII, based upon a blend between liberalism and state interventions.

He died in 1938, and the so-called single-party period ended with the war, then, a multiparty democracy emerged and so the development from the post-war period began to fade. The usual tensions from the period strengthened in 1960 with the first of four military coup d’états, that lasted more than 35 years. (!)

Adnan Menderes, 1960 Coup
Adnan Menderes, 1960 Coup

Let’s go to our history:

Anatolian Rock (Anadolu Rock) arises on the mid-’60s, as in many other countries, with the definitive entrance of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and many other bands. That western invasion would influence the basis of the movement along with Turkish folk traditions, instruments, and tunes.

From 1968 to 1975 multiple artists/bands popped through the radio airwaves and television to became nationally acclaimed, during this time Turkey saw the golden age of psychedelic, prog, folk and pop acts (sung in Turkish) such as Cem Karaca, Edip Akbayram, Baris Manço, Erkin Koray, Mogollar, Apaslar, and Kardaslar.

Mustache Rock
Mustache Rock

With dozens of records and singles, this movement had some tolerance with the military governments, though, after 1975, the situation changed and repression tightened. Not that this period did not leave death and repression in their wake, quite the contrary, as seen in the invasion of Cyprus and the strifes between ultra-nationalists and communists. A lot of artists were arrested, banned or boycotted, until the ’80s more than 5000 Turkish were killed in many different conflicts!

But none of these artists had women on the front, that’s why we’ll have a dedicated post to some of these bands later (including the legendary Selda Bagcan), with deeper biography and info; today we focus on an unusual side of Anatolian Rock, with some other influences, like disco, synth-pop, jazz and sugar ballads.

Cyprus Invasion
Cyprus Invasion

Let’s go to our mixtape:

The Turkish pop scene always has kept its exotic character mixing influences from the Ottoman, Anatolian, and Arabesque culture. Combined with western pop it makes music that, for western ears, is build on the atonal orchestral melodies and western sounding blues and pop. On the other hand, you had the Turkish folk music (Türk Halk Müziği) has combined the distinct cultural values of all those civilizations which have lived in Anatolia and the Ottoman territories in Europe and Asia.

Now, this is an umbrella genre since there are many forms of folk like Türkü (folksongs), Destan (epic) or instrumental dance music like Halay, Bengi, Karşılama or Zeybek. And lastly was the traditional music of the Middle East and the Raqs Sharqi (belly dance) influence to the forming of Turkish pop music!

Arabesque Music
Arabesque Music

Here is our Kadin!

Asu Maralman

asu maralman cópia

Bal Gibi Olur (1977 single) /// Yollar (homonym 1980 Lp)

With Armenian blood in the lineage, Silva Bursalıoğlu, began his musical studies on piano and chant at the age of 5. The youngest daughter of three, his mother was an opera singer and helped her to debut on musical stages alongside with his sister on the early ’60s. Performing, in the beginning, on weddings, university festivals and later as the main singer in a professional orchestra. After his first marriage, in 1968, she changed her name to Asu Maralman. Its first single came out in 1971 and her career was characterized by the release of several singles throughout the ’70s.

Toured across Germany, USA, and Canada on the ’80s, after this period the pace of its career slowly wane. Recently the Eski 45’likler (Best of) re-release and some blogs revival made it known again. With a synth-pop and disco tinges!

Kâmuran Akkor

kamuran akkor single cópia

Ikimiz Bir Fidaniz (1974 single) /// Dogrumu Dogrumu (1977 Lp)

This beautiful blonde may be considered one of the first foxy-romantic singers, in Turkey. With incandescent as a surname, alongside with his sister Gonul Akkor, the two were in the minds of many, thanks to their bodies and latent sexuality. With few Lp’s released domestically, once again, the 45′ singles are the majority of its career.

Debuting in 1969, these AMAZING electric grooves, unfortunately, can only be seen here, his romantic shift taken from the ’80s made her a very popular corny diva. But here, she flirts with some soul, fuzzy guitars and heavy synths. Currently, she still performs live shows and TV appearances, her last album was released in 2010.

Neşe Karaböcek

nese karabocek cópia

Asik Olamiyorum (1972 single) /// Bahcenizde Gul Var Mi (1979 Lp)

From a very early age, she displayed his vocal and theatrical qualities, debuting on live stages and theaters with only three years old. (!) With scholar music formation, the brilliant soprano sang opera until their teens, to finally start on vinyl in 1965. Probably the most famous of all, Neşe is internationally known and has an extensive career with more than 8 Lp’s and numerous singles. Starring as an actress too, she takes part (leading or not) on more than 10 films throughout a noted biography!

She’s the best selling female artist in Turkey, with more than 6 million records and multiples prizes! Leaning on a folk romantic source, some Latin colors and synths are heard from our selections, the sound quality may vary, but his vocal techniques and instrument tones worth the trip. She continues to record and recently released a book and an exhibition of his personal paintings and thoughts.

Nilüfer Yumlu

nilufer capa

Kim Arar Seni (1978 Lp) /// Ayrilik Hasreti (1974 Lp)

A consolidated career, this phrase defines well this singer. With more than 20 albums and a myriad of singles, Nilüfer is one of the few to achieve success in all decades, changing its sound and aesthetics once in a while. Singer, the songwriter, and producer, discovered in the late ’60s after winning a Golden Voice student contest, in Istanbul, she debuted at musical charts on 1972 and participated in 1978 at the Eurovision Song Contest. The mid 90’s (pinnacle of its career) saw his nomination as a Turkish ambassador of UNICEF and also honored with the State Artist title.

Recently she adopted a rock posture, releasing its last album in 2013. Deeps synths, nice percussion and a disco-pop overall. The other one it’s a mellow cover from the world hit ‘Killing Me Softly with His Song’, check it!

Tülay German

tulay german cópia

Mecnunum Leylami Gordum (1964 single) ///  Kizilciklar Oldu Mu (1965 single)

The oldest and experienced all, the founder of Turkish pop music, Tülay studied music and graduated in 1956 at the Uskudar American Academy. Even forbidden by his father to sing at night, her stage debut in 1960 starts a new role in Turkish pop music, singing at many radio programs, she was awarded best singer prize in 1964 at Balkan Music Festival, held in Yugoslavia.

From then on, she went to France in 1966 and played along with names like Charles Aznavour and The Moody Blues, releasing successful singles by Phillips. She also made many TV shows and toured around the World in late ’60s, early ’70s!

Her folk ballads overstepped the boundaries of any Turkish singer, turning it into a legend in his country. Retired since the mid-’80s, living in France, Tülay’s music has a distinguishing mark, passing through jazz and deep folklore traditions.

Iyi Yolculuklar!

Van Kahvaltı Evi
Van Kahvaltı Evi