Kosmos, Paprika, and She’Koyokh in Purcell Room
Published 10 May 2011
Before moving to London I rarely went to listen to traditional Eastern European or classical music concerts, these were all around me, I didn’t really need to go anywhere for it. But in London, if I miss Eastern European folk music, it is not always easy to find a good gig.
During the years I even developed a very bad habit. Sometimes I give in to myself by going for concerts that promise authentic Eastern European or specifically gypsy music, although the musicians are obviously from different backgrounds. Some of them might have been perfect in technique, but most of them don’t manage to catch the soul of this part of Europe that is quite theatrical I have to say. It is either heartbreakingly painful or utterly joyful. I am not sure if there is anything in between.
When I heard about the Breaking Boundaries concert to be held at Queen Elizabeth Hall on the 8th of May promising to focus on Eastern Europe, I knew that this time I would not be disappointed. I have heard some of the musicians who were going to play in other venues and in slightly different collaborations. Therefore I knew that they lacked neither the professional knowledge nor the soul, without which no audience could enjoy the performance. One of the groups who performed was the Serbian-Romanian-English group called Paprika, so I had no doubt they would bring what I expect. However, it is still beyond my understanding how an all British trio is able to play as if I was at home or anywhere in Eastern Europe. The Kosmos Ensemble, a classical string trio, has proved its skill in world music and beyond. They interweave music from all around the world, mixing jazz or tango with Arabic, Jewish or Argentinean melodies just to mention a few.
The third group to play that night was She’Koyokh, founded in 2001 with the support of the Jewish Music Institute, performing an exciting mix of Klezmer, Shepardic, Russian, Kurdish, Turkish, Hungarian and Bulgarian music. Listening to these concerts, one becomes reassured again and again how intertwined the culture of the regions mentioned are. They played pieces I believed to be Hungarian, but the Serbian couple sitting next to me also claimed it as their own too. Well, we don’t need to fight over it, we are all happy to share it with whoever is interested in Eastern European and Balkan culture. As one of the performers jokingly said “you will see, one day Eastern European music will be streamline music”.
I wish, it deserves it for sure!