Some Hungarian new-folk bands try to make the music harder and faster. The Tarkany-Muvek musicians soothe it with swing jazz and saxophone, they go in a cafe direction, small space, intimacy, easy flow, but they keep the tang that makes the music distinct—the vibrating resistance to musical marshmallow that makes Julianna Paár sound so dynamic when her voice dips down in “A Punkosdi Roza”, a lowness that could be sadness, but the style pulls her back tautly, she resists the drag of that magnet and she kicks down misery. Bálint Tárány Kovács on his cimbalom underscores her with a drumroll shudder: the circus is not totally far away—we’re listening to a spectacle. But not a very showy one, and the comparison of Kovács to Toni Iordache in the band biography doesn’t say much except that both men know, or knew, their way around the strings. Iordache’s hyperquick music-hall grandstanding is not Kovács’ style. He’s an urbane soul, and likes to let his jazz saxophonist loose once in a while for clean-minded solo adventures.
// Notes from the Road
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