Thursday, October 29, 2009

HUNGARIAN MEMORIES :: with a pure heart

Syrius, Hungarian progressive rock band from the 70s performing an English version of "Tiszta Szivvel" or "With a Pure Heart", a poem by one of my favorite Hungarian poets, Attila József. The poet, who was born into a poor working-class family and spent most of his childhood in foster families and orphanages, is a shining but melancholy star of the post-WWI generation of artists. This poem earned him his expulsion from Szeged University. Struggling with a life-long depression, war trauma and spiritual isolation, he committed suicide at a young age 0f 32. [A sad fact about my old country is that suicide rate has been among the highest in the world...partly, because many of our cultural heroes, like Attila, have committed suicide.] You can find out more about Attila József and read some of his poems in translation here.

†Miklós Orszáczky - Bass, Vocals * * †Zsolt Baronits - Winds * * László Pataki - Organ * Mihály Ráduly - Winds * * †András Veszelinov - Percussion *
The band's lead singer & bass guitarist Miklos Orszaczky immigrated to Australia and became a famous musician known under the name of Jackie Orszacky. You can get an idea about how the American/Western music of the 60s and 70s -mostly illegally transmitted via a few pirate radio stations such as Radio Luxembourg (a pirate station run and broadcast from a boat somewhere in the channel),Radio Free Europe and Voice of America shaped the music and the youth of Communist Hungary, by reading an interview with Orszacky from 1996 about the music scene he grew up immersed in Budapest, Hungary. Despite the fact that Hungary's communist government-a self-declared dictatorship- tried to maintain isolation from the "decadent culture of the West", there was no way to stop the music secretly infiltrating and transforming the youth culture of the 70s. Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and many UK and US rock and funk bands were the inspirations and catalysts for the exploding underground culture that no Iron Curtain could stop from getting their sense of liberation through music.

1 comment:

Phillip said...

absolutely intriguing. Another example of the borderless, boundless impact of poetry and culture. Timeless and relevant in new once hopeful times. --p