WONDERFUL CHAMBER ACOUSTIC PROJECT
KALMAN BALOGH & PETER RALCHEV BALKAN PROJECT (Hungary / Bulgaria)
Kálmán Balogh – cimbalom (Hungary)
Peter Ralchev – accordion (Bulgaria)
Ateshghan Yuseinov – guitar (Bulgaria)
Csaba Novák – double bass (Hungary)
PETER RALCHEV laid the beginning of new style in Bulgarian folklore instrumental music and exerted great influence on its development. With marvelous mastery he performs Bulgarian folklore as well as classic pieces, French musettes, Serbian, Rumanian and other instrumental pieces characteristic of accordion. He is included in the book “History of Accordion” published in France in 1991 by Francois Billard and Didier Roussin.
Since 1986 he has played with “Trakiisti”, a quintet of Bulgarian folk music, playing original and traditional compositions. He received a prize as a soloist at the authoritative folklore festival in Stambolovo.
In 1991 he toured the major U.S. cities with “Bulgari”, a quintet performing traditional Bulgarian folk music. During this tour, they played in the Smithsonian Institute, the library of Congress in Washington and also a 30-minute broadcast on Voice of America, amongst other things Mr. Raichev also held extensive seminars at the Centre for East-European Studies in Eugene, Washington, teaching Bulgarian music. In Canada he performeci in Vancouver and at the International Accordion Festival of Montmagny in Quebec and Montreal, during the summers of 1991-92 which was broadcast live by CBC. He has also played in Germany, Hungary and Russia.
In 1995 he produced the last album, in 1996 he was on a three-month tour in Germany as a conductor of a male choir which performed Orthodox songs. During the period 1996-1998 he realized four tours as a guest soloist of the folk -jazz orchestra of Stiyan Karstensen, who is also an accordionist-jazzman, at the invitation of “Osio Konserthus” in Norway. He participated in concerts, festivals and seminars where he taught Bulgarian folklore music.
KÁLMÁN BALOGH is one of the foremost Hungarian cimbalom players, descending from a famous dynasty of Hungarian Gypsy musicians. His virtuosity is matched only by his understanding and respect of his heritage. A graduate of Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music of Budapest, he has completed many successful tours throughout the world with various ensembles, including five tours in North America. The cimbalom, a sort of oversized hammer dulcimer played with mallets like a vibraphone, possesses piano like percussive abilities to drive a band rhythmically or take the melodic lead. In Kálmán Balogh’s expert hands, the cimbalom can do both simultaneously. His mastery of this unique and rare Hungarian folk instrument has mesmerized audiences. Kálmán Balogh & The Gypsy Cimbalom Band is the dynamic merging of music from the old and new worlds. Balogh continues a fabled European musical tradition harking back to the collaboration of masters like gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, connecting the ancient folk music traditions of Central and Eastern Europe with the chord progressions and swing of jazz. Balogh’s cimbalom becomes a new and compelling voice centering a band which also includes acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet, and violins. Similarities in jazz and traditional folk music, such as improvisation and a kaleidoscope of emotional expressions, are immediately evident.
Melodies, which have been polished in European villages for centuries, are interpreted with great respect and understanding by The Gypsy Cimbalom Band, enabling present day music lovers to experience the emotions and beauty inherent in the music of our ancestors. Kálmán Balogh & The Gypsy Cimbalom Band bring a contemporary and uniquely forward-looking edge to time honored traditions, leaving audiences enthralled and inspired.
ATESHGHAN YUSEINOV is one of the most interesting guitar players, not only on the Balkan. With his unique technique which can be characterized by its fast rhythms and changes of the Balkan music and combined by improvisation in a very open way of playing he has aquired cult status. Apart from the guitar Yuseinov is famous for his multi-instrumental skills. He is equally in command of playing the tambura as well as the saz.
Yuseinov became famous with Elka Atanasova and the record „Winds Of The Rhodopes“ (Earthen sound).
Recordings and concerts with the group „Zone C“ and Okay Temiz followed.
Ateshghan Yuseinov also worked with the Zig Zag Trio / Peter Ralchev and Stoyan Yankoulov for a long time and the recorded the CD „When the bees are gathering honey“ (Kuker Music).
He was also successful with the Zig Zag Trio feat. Ivo Papasov.
Afterwards he took part in the special project „Fairground“ (Kuker Music) of Ivo Papasov with whom he has played in the „Ivo Papasov & His Wedding Band“ for some time.
For the festival „Strings On Fire“ a special string project with Zoltan Lantos, Vladimir Volkov and Stoyan Yankoulov was realised.
The new project Kalman Balogh, Peter Ralchev and Csaba Novak was created for the jazz festival in Graz in 2005.
Yuseinov also staged at Rudolstadt Tanz & Folk Festival, Strasbourg Bienalle, Elmau Jazztival, New York BoC Marathon, Salzburg Balkan Fest, Graz European Culture Capital, Wien Accordion Festival, Bruxelles Europalia, Dresden Festival, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Gypsy Festival Tilburg, Moskow World Music Festival, Fächerwelt Karlsruhe, Umea Folk Festival, Balkanfeever Vienna, Sziget Festival Budapest, Time in Jazz Sardinia, Cormons Jazz & Wine, Budapest World Festival, Graz Jazz Festival, Auerbach Festspiele etc. etc. etc.
Ateshghan Yuseinov’s guitar work techniques are mind blowing, yet he is not all technique. On faster numbers, he has a seventies-era jazz-fusion buzz, while on “The fog is lifting” his tenderness is evident.
PEGGY LATKOVICH / Rootsworld
Graz. Playing an old Thrakian piece of music accelerated the perception. The Bulgarian accordeon player Peter Ralchev and the Hungarian cymbalon player Kalman Bálogh are perfoming a neck-breaking seven metrum on stage. Both these unique virtuosi inspired great fascination at the opening of the festival Balkan Jazz in Orpheum with their profound quartet. Here there is a melismatic czárdás, there you can listen to some artistic orient texture, sometimes jazzlike, sometimes soaked in gypsy blood.
A balance of stupend technique and musical charisma …
The beginning of the GrazzJazz Festival in the Orpheum was a meeting of the accordeon player Peter Ralchev and the guitar player Ateshgan Yuseinov of the Bulgarian Zig Zag Trio with two Hungarian musicians. The cymbalon player Kálmán Baloghs is more than just some colour in the varied South-East European music landscape. Far away from Puszta clichees Balogh creates refined sounds with the Hungarian cymbalon but always acted in a varied way.
Already the first piece is turning common things upside down. Hungarian folklore combines with French musette, cosmopolitan gypsy swing with peasant dances from Bulgaria. Balogh calls this virtuous Balkan mix ‘gypsy colours’, which the fast Yuseinov accompanies with pearl-like sounds of India on the tambura. The versatile cimbalon can vibrate subtly like a glass harp, it dances the czardas elegantly, can sound quiet and melancholical but also harsh. With ‘Black Sea’ Ralchev contributes the maybe most exciting composition to the repertoire of the group which the cymbalon player attaches to the strings in a tornado.
A Hungarian-Bulgarian quartet invited to a real music treat.
In an extraordinary mixture of instruments and sounds the quartet combined the different folklore influences of the Balkan and also integrated some modern accents. A pleasure of a fascinating quality. The musicians pay a visit to the different music cultures. Pieces of Macedonean, Bulgarian, Hungarian or Romanian areas could be heard. The folklore influence is evident everywhere, however, it is always enriched with many facettes. Perfect ensemble playing, shining soli which possess a virtuous easiness as well as fascinating arrangments with surprising jazz quotations.
That Bálogh is an amazing musician can be seen from his playing and his movements. Sometimes he hammers on his instrument in a rapid speed, sometimes he gently plucks at the strings and actually strokes them. But then the sounds can be metallically strong and harsh, just to drift back into a meditative timbre at the next moment.
Similarly, the Bulgarian instrumentalist Ralchev is speeding over the keys of his accordeon. Virtuosity, rich harmonies and improvisation characterize his playing. He is not limited to the traditional songs but also contributes his own and wonderfully melodious compositions which witness an overbordering but also disciplined sound variety.
Especially in the playing together with Ateshan Yuseinov on the glass e-guitar a subtle and precisely tuned dialogue developed which could be full of temparament and impulsive but also poetic and plain.
The Balkan project combines musicians of world class level. It is genial how the four individualists form a team, build bridges between the cultures and remove borders between the different styles.