Tamburocket: Hungarian Fireworks: Söndörgő
Söndörgő may be from Hungary, but the lead instrument isn't, at least not originally. The mandolin-like tambura probably came from Turkey, carried into Hungary by Serbians and Croatians who were fleeing from Turks as the Ottoman Empire expanded into their territories in the sixteenth century. Long ago, some of them settled with their tamburas where the three Eredics brothers, a cousin, and a high-school friend who make up the band Söndörgő more recently grew up. But enough history. What does this sound like?
The ringing but precise tones of the tambura strings give the music a sprightly bounce that is quite different from the usual brass bands or fiddle-led ensembles of this region, a bounce that lends a frantic pace to most songs here. The songs tend to especially take flight when the tamburas are joined by the wailing and soaring clarinets, saxophones, and even accordions on this disk (and "Hulusination," a Macedonian dance tune, is played on the hulusi, a sort of Chinese snake-charmer's pipe), But the main voice remains the tambura, or should I say 'tamburas,' since by my count there are seven different versions, including bass, cello and alto; it's a veritable tambura orchestra at times.
This mostly instrumental recording samples a wide range of Hungarian and regionally related music, including three Serbian folk songs collected by Béla Bartók and two South Slav examples collected by Tihamér Vujicsics, plus varied other selections from other nearby environs. While Söndörgő sometimes gets lost in the jam and rambles a bit, for the most part, they are committed to the tradition, in a youthful and exuberant way. - Jeffery R. Lindholm
Find the band online: www.sondorgo.hu
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