A Trans-European, multi-genre bunch of raw Gypsy musicians – Harmonia shares their musical influences and experiences with Sahil Sharma.
The name evolved from the primary notion of being called the ‘Somebodies- who connect to everyone, irrespective of taste, language’. They came together, for they wanted to appeal to a wider yet varied audience.
They together make a sound that offers a fine and rural blend of Slovakian, Romanian, Moldovian, Croatian and Serbian rhythms with the ‘extraordinary imbibing’ elements of the music of Hungary and Ukraine.
“Though we come from distinctly different cultures, we saw what we had in common. Just as India has many different and distinct cultures, yet has an overlying ‘Indian-ness’, the peoples and cultures of Eastern Europe also have a great deal in common with each other that is distinct from other regions of Europe and the world.
As immigrants and the grandchildren of immigrants, these similarities have become more apparent when silhouetted against the background of American culture,” said the Harmonia members.
If you get a chance to see them perform live, the gypsy vibes come out in full flair. Gypsies, (or ‘Roma)’ thrived in the eastern parts of Europe and the pieces “Romanian Ritual Dances”, “Hungarian Suite in Gypsy Style” and “Songs from Vojvodina” clearly show this influence.
Shedding more light on the energetic yet soothing Gypsy touch in their music, Harmonia members shared, “Interestingly, the Gypsies came to Eastern Europe from Rajasthan in the Middle Ages. Their language, Romani, is derived from one of the Prakrits. You can hear this in the song “Roads of the Roma/ Djelem, Djelem”.
Researching more on their music and backgrounds, while keeping an eye on their compositional style, we cannot just say that their music seems to revolve only around the old immigrants and their folk tales. Their shows have always been flooded with young audience and this is a validation of the fact that this culture is actually thriving in the US, though not as part of the mainstream. They feel exhilarated to perform for general audiences that are not part of their communities, yet are thrilled with the music.
Beata Begeniova, the vocalist of the band marks her magnetic presence and this is something that adds to their lively performance onstage.
Harmonia is soon to release a CD, which is in the studios as of now. It’s already recorded and is being polished to focus on the Hungarian music that they play for that community. It is expected to hit stores later in 2012.
However, they will keep enthralling audiences worldwide with their latest music album ‘Hidden Legacy’, as they will be returning to Mountain West in July with performances at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte, Montana, USA.
Written by: Sahil Sharma
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