Palya Bea in solo – JustOneVoice performance
A concert, with nothing else, but my voice and what’s inside. The biggest challenge, as everything is visible, audible.
The first contact with music of my childhood was a prayer of a moldavian peasant singer, Mrs. Ferenc Józsefné Simon. „Early dawn I woke up” just one voice on the record, a strong voice that filled the air, the ornaments like pearls, sparkled on the melody. Silence was also an important part of the music, it gave a certain rythm to the songs: rythm of the breath, rythm of the soul. The meaning of every word became so clean and sharp, I had immediately the picture of Maria cradling little Jesus, tootling him. And I felt each and every resonance of the lady, I would have slipped under her skin.
For a long time music for me meant theese records. I learned the power of the voice all alone from collections of hungarian and bulgarian, gypsy, sephardic folk music, I learned the secrets of the ornement, the timekeeping, the tone, I learned how to give form to the psychic content of the song. The indian and arabian records brought me further to understand the power of the voice.
The JustOneVoice concerts are always just in time. During the concert the songs that I sing guide me back not only to my musical roots but to my father, to my mother, to all my beloved ones, lovers as well, again and again, in a different way every time. The folkloric songs, ancient favourites, are jewels, secret treasures. My own songs were born on my own way.
Many places I’ve been, many things I’ve seen, many feelings I’ve known…Anger, love, sadness, desire, loneliness, fear…I pack them in songs, I sing them from deep inside that I barely know, me either, I make fun of myself, I’m fooling around, I throw myself up as children throw the spotted ball on the playground. And I enjoy that the audience is resonating, crying, laughing with me.
Bea Palya and András Dés in duo
Bea Palya – Voice
András Dés - Percussions
Voice and percussion, melody and rythm, almost nothing else. Just the two of us.
As a musician and as a dancer I’ve been longing, maybe since in my mother’s womb I was tuned to her heartbeats, for a certain knowledge about the rythms in my body, in my voice, to improve them, to use them in a creative way. Every step a took down the streets, I always clapped the internal rythms, I pronounced „three” to the „two”, or „five”, or I just made up foolish rhymes wheezing when I was running. And I always had this yearning to know better different beats, rytm-compositions, to know better how the time works in folk music and in different, high developped music cultures.
For all that, András Dés is an excellent companion, we play together for years now. His instruments are basically ethnical specialities, like „derbuchas” or „dafs” or jams but he still uses classic percussion items too. He is more than a simple percussionist: he is a universal musician, a brave provocator, a creative, melody-oriented rytm-incarnation. Playing with him is like an instant offer for the most exciting and forever renascent dance that you can’t refuse.
We have songs – sephardic, hungarian, bulgarian, english or self-made songs – and we have free improvisation. We play on instruments, sometimes we drum on our own body. Sometimes I sing – very often, though – but sometimes I just dance. Sometimes we start from a very elemental rythm-game, sometimes we play a song based on a really complex rythm-composition. We play. We play.
We do nothing but playing.RIDER
Bea Palya and Balázs Szokolay Dongó in duo
Bea Palya – Voice
Balázs Szokolay Dongo – wind instruments
For me performing in duo is always a possibility to contact my co-musician in the deepest way. Dongó is with me for more than ten years now. On the stage we play music together and at the same time we paint a picture of the colors of the deep friendship between us, again and again and so the picture is a surprise every time even for ourselves.
Our performances are based on folkloric inspirations but we always let the moment change us and so our music as well. It’s a sort of a personal folk music, without playing the same song twice in the same way, we’re always looking for the possibility to call each-other to play. Voice and winds: I really like this combination, even if it is all about a song from Magyarszováta accompained by flute or about a bagpipe-song or about a pipe sequence thin and tinkling as the wings of a butterfly. Or a cutting bulgarian song from the mountains, splitting the air, answered by a saxophone. Sometimes the voice and the wind instrument are corezonating in harmony, sometimes they counterpoint each-other. We play with the rythm as well, even breathes and claps or very special instruments take their places in the accompaniment.
One little part of the songs are based on folkloric texts. Most of the songs are my own creations, but there are also some songs from the oeuvre of Weöres Sándor called „Psyché” and one poem of the hungarian poet, Kányádi Sándor.
Balázs plays not only on sax but on almost everything which is susceptible to be blown, such as – first of all – pipes, bagpipes, flutes, the transylvanian or moldavian with six holes, or the long flute from Somogy, and so on, the moldavian instrument called „kaval”, soprano saxophone, a special one called „tárogató” (horns), and a serie of all other special instruments (such as „gardon” and „doromb” (jew’s harp) for exemple) and if it is not enough, he sings and plays with sounds (we call it „mouth-bass” or „bassbox” as an analog for „beatbox” inspired by doublebass) too. He knows his instruments inside-out, a lot of them is made by himself, their sounds are his characteristics on his own, so individuals, so easy to recognize.
This kind of performance is always a challenge for me, the resonance of the excitement is always different, every time, let’s see, what tones will I find in my throat today, which maches the flute, what will the middle improvisation part of the song called „Rózsa” (’Rose’) be like, with the voice and the saxophone, what am I going to be like, what is Dongo going to be like, how will we call to life our pointilist picture today?
Bea Palya - Sephardic trio
Bea – Voice
Bolya Mátyás – lute, zither
András Dés - percussions
Once, in a store, I picked one of the thousand and thousand records off the shelf. One record of a kind. It was a sephardic folkloric collection, ladies sang on the disc, just one voice, it was simply wonderful. Then the sephardic albums of Ruth Yaakov arrived into my life.
I always thought that the little-asian region is one of the richest from a folkloric point of vue, where turkish and greek and bulgarian folk music lives. Different sort of people are melting there, all of them with their own very special and marvelous sounding, instruments, singing manner, melodies rich in ornement, unique rythms. Jewish people exiled from Spain brought us the music of a very exciting place: the Iberian Peninsula.
I’m fascinated by this world of music, it’s like walking by marvelous ancient treasures, or like suddenly slipping into the lustful tales of One Thousand and One Nights.
I sing one part of the songs in their original language called ’ladino’. For the biggest part I wrote hungarian lyrics to let the hungarian audience admire the songs that they don’t really know even more. In this world, in wedding songs the bride walks on the sea shore, drinks orange flavoured coffee, walks on ivory stairs, her skin is like nacre. Sad mothers of ballads survey the sea waiting for their sons to return disguised as captains.
I invited two companions to this performance, I play for years with them now. We know each-other very well, a lot of songs and concert experiences ally us, it’s a pleasure playing with them. In addition to sephardic, greek, bulgarian, hungarian songs we also play own compositions and lyrics during the concert, even the folk music is formed with our own, personal musicality, we let the moment, the audience, the place influence us. The instruments like lute and zither, the original etnic percussions and the voice are in a perfect fusion, melting in a beatiful sonority, Matyi, András and I dip into one thousand and one sephardic night’s mystery.RIDER
Bea Palya - Voice
András Dés - Percussions
Dávid Lamm - Guitar
József Barcza Horváth – Doublebass
„I cannot stay, I have no home, I have no armchair” – I wrote in 2006, in the song called Sofia Express. A lot of things changed since 2006.
The armchair for a long time remained the symbol of staying for me, but in a forced, constraint way. Symbol of a fixed bourgeois life, of the ossificated frames of music. Now it gains a new signification: I find myself in an armchair, it’s soft, it’s comfortable, it is embracing me. I take a rest in it for a while – to prepare myself to fly farther. Calm and movement are not contradictory anymore, they only exist together. Everything is moving but still in calm…
I want to slow down, I want to play, to lie back, to relax, put the biggest part of my charge, with what I loaded myself, down. I’ve walked so much (and I will), I’ve resonated so much out (and I will) but there is something now that pulls me inside. To live intimacy even on a concert. The first time of this kind of performance I turned the stage into a huge livingroom, people were all around us, for a few centimeters, enjoying being close, enjoying the music.
During the performance all the old songs gained a new character and new songs were born in an organic way. I sing in hungarian, in spanish, in french and in english this time, I’ve already started to croon theese songs now as I’m writing, the mexican song called Llorona, the Bambina, the Nagy Utazás (’Long Journey’), I see before me Dávid and Józsi, answering each-other in the guitar-doublebass version of the song Stop. I roll myself in the atmosphere of the song Ribizliálom (’Dream in the arms of a red currant’) , what is going to be a hit…
Do you still want to hear the tales as long time ago
String of words fading away
Caress of eyes, ears
Gently craddling arms
Roll the apple on your body
Ennui of dusty Sundays
In the grounds dreams attain you
Running with you on a red currant branch
- I’m used to this, and my audience is used to this as well, as this is the only thing that I can offer: the constant change of myself, the constant change of the music that I play.
But what’s inside of me now, deep inside, where music surges, suprises me as well. Really.
The world that I’m living in, that I’m creating around myself is about to dilate, to open up. I travel, I write, I sing on the rocks of the sea shore, and, of course, in concert halls, for my audience. I tell a tale, I sing about the past and about what is going to happen in the future. I don’t care about the ’was’ and the ’will’ anyways: I believe that the essence of life is timeless and spaceless. Here and now I show you what kind of music surges from me.