Andrea Gerak Live on Tilos Radio, Part 2

Monday, 10 Aug 2009: Andrea Gerak was guest in the weekly Folk Music Show of Tilos Radio.

You can read Andrea’s personal impressions in her Facebook note

“And what was amazing: the chat room. We had listeners from Canada, Spain, Sweden, 2 or 3 from Slovakia, Denmark, 3 people from Italy…”

This was Part 1

Here in Part 2:
– find out more about Andrea’s acapella solo concert, its concept etc,
– get a sneak peak of this concert, even with one song live at the studio,
– a Hungarian folk singer and a Greek balkanologist talk about folk songs of Eastern Europe and the Balkan,
– Andrea greets her English speaking listeners 🙂



(The second half an hour starts with cimbalom music)

Evantia: After Imre’s flying visit, let’s get quickly back to Andi Gerak – we left off at the international connections.

Andrea: (laughing) Yeah, the international connections… I guess, lastly I started to talk about that one more, besides this very special plan, there is one more producer from yet another country, with whom we started to talk and get each other know, to see if there could be something to work on together. Beyond these, there are plans on other continents as well, about making songs together with one musician or another or, what I would like even more, concerts. So, I am putting out my… my… feelers.

(both laughing)

Evantia: And I was very glad to hear that you are preparing for a pretty big bang!

Andrea: Why… if you think of my solo concert as a big bang…

Evantia: Although I myself am not a singer, but I think that a completely solo concert (=acapella solo concert) is always more difficult by orders of magnitude, than one with accompaniment, because when you mess up something solo, that’s a total mess-up…

Andrea: Absolutely!

Evantia: Right? And also, you don’t have a chance to take a rest. While when you have an accompaniment, at least you can go out to drink some water…

Andrea: Igen. Well, this… I got the idea of this show that I had been singing very, very much with only one voice, without accompaniment, but it has not formed into a round program. Then, a couple of months ago, somehow I put together a show, from my favorite songs…

Evantia: Is this the concept, that these are your favorites?

Andrea: The title is “Little Songs From a Big World”. Our generation probably still remembers that there was a tv program those days…

Evantia: Short Films From the Big World (literally: Little Films)

Andrea: Short Films From the Big World, little, interesting short films, and… well… this is the title I gave to my show, Little Songs From a Big World. Beyond Hungarian folk songs, I am also very excited about what connections exist with other nations songs. It happened very many times that I was singing a Hungarian folk song, and others said to me: Wow, this reminds them of an Irish song. And this, of a Portugal one. And this, – I don’t know – of a a Bulgarian one. Etcetera.

Evantia: So you were trying to find the paralellism?

Andrea: I didn’t even have to search for them much, because it happened, for instance that just for fun, I was humming a Hungarian folk song, a very well known Hungarian folk song, and automatically a Turkish one popped in to my mind. As a continuation. And i started to play around with these two, how would they sound together.

Evantia: I would like to have a listen to this Turkish one, if you feel for it…

Andrea: As a sneak peak? (laughing)

Evantia Ziku balkanologist, hostess of the show

Evantia: I’m sure you know that I am Greek, so my main interest is the Balkan.

Andrea: Yes.

Evantia: Don’t get me wrong, I also like Hungarian folk music, but it’s Balkan that is really mine, right?

Andrea: That’s clear! And when I learned this about you, I immediately thought about another song, which is also part of this show…

Evantia: I will be very happy with that too,(Andrea laughing) I will be very happy with that too! I wanna tell you, before you break into singing, that my first big encounter with Hungarian folk music was at the first Tanchaztalalkozo. You know Nikola Parov?

Andrea: Yes

Evantia: That time, he was with Zsaratnok, and I was teaching at the Zsaratnok tanchaz at the first Tanchaztalalkozo.

Andrea: Yayy!

Evantia: And I was walking around and around with Nikola, and that time they were selling the Barozda LPs from haversacks, half-hidden, half-secretly…

Andrea: Yes, yes.

Evantia: …and suddenly Nikola says to me: “Buy this, because you will like this one a lot.” And I swear to you, that record, that LP, I listened to it till it got holes on it, really.

Andrea: I believe you…

Evantia: For me, this was the big encounter with Hungarian folk music, and… if one thinks it over, this is a beautiful story, because a Greek and a Bulgarian discuss Hungarian folk music…

(both laughing)

Andrea: If the Barozda guys don’t listen to this broadcast, I will them this story and certainly they will be glad about it.

Evantia: Istvan Pavai knows it, because I have told him this story several times, but no problem, if this story travels on. Now, do you feel like singing? Or shall we put on a CD?

Andrea: First, we could put on a CD, and it is… just as my concerts begins. From where else could I start such a trip around the world, as my homeland.

Evantia: Is this your homeland, around Domahaza?

Andrea: Domahaza is close to Ozd, and I was born in Ozd. So this will be two folk songs from Domahaza. This recording was made at the first take, and it’s not a very, very, very, very, sterile studio recording with a lot of cosmetics done on it (Evantia: “Oh, that’s good!”), therefore it sounds about the same when I sing live.

Evantia: Good, okay, then let’s listen to this one!

(Folk songs from Domahaza plays)


Evantia: Well yeah, these tech things always let me down, so please excuse me for that.

(both laughing)

Evantia: Andi Gerak was singing folk songs from Domahaza, from a recording, but sooner or later the moment will come when she will sing here live. Shall we talk a little more about this concert? Because as far as I remember, we haven’t said the date and time.

Andrea: With pleasure, and naturally, I take the opportunity. So it will be on the coming Saturday at 8pm, in the Voros Oroszlan Teahaz (=Red Lion Tea House), 12 Villanyi str. This is a 1-minute walk from Moricz Zsigmond korter. And approximately, it will be 1.5-2 hours, (sorry, I did push something with this key?…)

Evantia: No problem

Andrea: Good. So it will be 1.5-2 hours, depending on the audience, will it be only Hungarians or foreigners as well. Because I tell a little bit about the story of each song. Meaning that I present what is it about at all. I have had this concert once, and it went bilingual.

Evantia: Say, this can slow down things…

Andrea: Yes, and the length of the show can depend on it.

Evantia: You have to translate yourself… And this way, your throat can’t have a rest at all, can it? Because you are talking or you are singing.

Andrea: Well, why, it’s harder to talk than to sing, for me.

Evantia: Is it?

Andrea: Yes, yes and it’s interesting. But I did the whole thing to the end, without any problems, so… it won’t be a problem now either. Once again: on Saturday, 8pm at Voros Oroszlan Teahaz.

Evantia: At eight.

At eight, yes. 12 Villanyi street.

Evantia: Is there an entrance fee?

Andrea: 500 Forints.

Evantia: One must not say that!

Andrea: One must not? Oh sorry! I didn’… didn’t… Then I take this back.

Evantia: Right. This was not said. There is an entrance fee.

Andrea: Yes. The tea is very nice, pleasant environment and very good service.

Evantia: The other concert you mentioned, was it also at this place?

Andrea: No, it was not at this place. Why I know this is a good place, because one week ago or when? On the 1st of August, I was there for the launch of a poetry book. There I sang one song and that’s when I got to know this tea house. I had this concert first at the bookstore cafĂ© called Treehugger Dan’s, that is behind the Opera House, a very pleasant little place.

Evantia: And when you sing at a café or tea house, do they do service as usual, while you are singing?

Andrea: Oh no, first they buy the tea, coffee, Bambi (name of an old Hungarian soda), whatever they want, they sit down, and they are sipping their drinks, and then we take a break, so that they can re-order, or go for a cigarette, and so on.

Evantia: This way it sound much more appealing.

Andrea: Sure! Sure.

Evantia: Unlike when one goes to a music-dancing pub, but this is something different.

Andrea: No, this was very nice the other time, it was indeed a good length of show, and they were sitting it through, listened to it with attention, they were singing with me every now and then…

Evantia: That is good!

Andrea: Yes! Now also, I am looking forward to it very much.

Evantia: Saturday 8pm, Voros Oroszlan Teahaz. Will you sing now?

Andrea: Shall I? A while ago, we were talking about the Balkan, and there is a song… – I will sing two Turkish songs at the concert, I can reveal this much, and one more song from the Balkan, I will tell about it, what kind of song is that. And this little song grew to my heart very much, when I found it and listened to it in several versions. I am also singing it in several versions, on several kind of voices, I mean sometimes… – well, when we imagine down at the Balkan, for example the… Bulgarian girl stands there on the mountain, and… lets out…

Evantia: Why, that was the mobile phone. My grandmo… not my grandmother, my grand-grandmother, called my grand-grand father home this way, she stood in front of the house and started singing Jorgos come home, dinner is ready! And that was the mobile phone those days.

Andrea: Yes, yes… Anyway, there is a version when I sing this song this way, but this tiny room… couldn’t really take such a thing.

Evantia: Yes please, don’t destroy the equipment!
(both laughing)

Andrea: And it also happens, when the situation is such or my mood, that it is more quiet, intimate.

Evantia: From the Pirinians, I don’t know, I simply get the chills. When two Bulgarian, Pirinian old women starts to sing together, and they two sing 613 harmonies – that is something really amazing.

Andrea: Yes… Well, I would like to learn that! That is… well…

Evantia: There was here… with the then existing Rila Band, was singing Roza Banceva, if you can get access to her recordings, definitely get them. Unfortunately, she went back, or for her, this is not unfortunate, she went back to Bulgaria, but she performed some incredible things.

Andrea: Yes

Evantia: Nnah!

A Nah, so then I shall sing one. This song is called Zajdi, Zajdi, and it is known at several places on the Balkan. (checking for the right note) At the concert, of course I will also tell what is it about, and some more about it.


Andrea: So this was the song.

Evantia: And the good thing about these songs is that one can sing one’s pain into them.

Andrea: Well yes, this one is a rather dolorous one…

Evantia: In the meantime, I prepared a little surprise for you, a women choir from Zagreb.

Andrea: Wow!


Evantia: Some… something is wrong again… we’ll figure it out. In the meantime, please entertain the listeners.

Andrea: Shall I entertain the audience? What I wanted to say about this song and about this concert is that on Saturday, in this tea house I will let my voice out a little bit more, the sound is very nice there. (Music turning on) And, I want to take the chance to say hello to my friends. I got feedback on Facebook from all corners of the world that people would have a listen to this show, so if you don’t mind, now I would say one or two words to them in English.
Hi everybody who is listening here! Some of my friends said that they would join us, from different parts of the States, and Australia, Italy, Spain, I don’t remember, Belgium, Canada, yeah! So, hello everybody, I love you all and I am looking forward so and I am looking forward to see you so much LIVE, at some point and meet you, because you are fantastic people. So I hope you enjoy this show.

Andrea Gerak chatting with the listeners

(From now on, only music, from Eastern Europe and the Balkan)


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