Last year, Müpa launched a series dedicated to world music, Dupla W, where an international and a local band play together at each concert. The next such event will feature Úzgin Űver, a well-known group in Hungary, and Dirtmusic, the international partner.
Dupla W: Úzgin Űver és Dirtmusic in the Müpa. Get your ticket here.
The Úzgin Űver started its career in the early ’90s in Kecskemét. Their unusual name refers to a place in Mongolia where an ancient graveyard was detected – and they indeed have some Mongolian influence in their music, but also Central European, Balkanian, Turkish, Persian, and Armenian elements are also mixed in their pieces that take all these with them like a flow. In the last decades, they contributed to many theatre and puppet theatre productions and released a collection of such works. They also played in Miklós Jancsó’s film Last Supper at the Arabian Gray Horse.
They seemed to be a bit inactive lately and organized less gigs, but last year they broke the silence with an album of six songs. Patak had a vinyl record and a CD version, latter by German record company Lollipop Shop. The album brought the band to the World Music Chart Europe top list and their new songs were included in radio programmes in the US. You can listen to it in its full length here:
Dirtmusic’s concert already catches your eye if you see who the contributing artists are: the last two founding members of the band are Chris Eckman and Hugo Race. Latter was a member of the first formation of Bad Seeds, Nick Cave’s accompanying band, and played on its first album, From Her To Eternity, in 1984. Afterwards, Hugo Race continued his career on the side of touring guitarist Edward Clayton-Jones; they founded The Wreckery, one of the most originally sounding band of the Australian music scene. The band dissolved in the end of the ‘80s, and Hugo Race lived temporarily in England, Germany, Italy, before returning to Australia some years ago. One thing didn’t change, though: he keeps releasing albums with his different formations (Hugo Race and the True Spirit, Hugo Race & The Fatalists, Dirtmusic, etc.).
The other leading member of Dirtmusic is Chris Eckman, founder of the legendary Walkabouts. This band, founded in 1984, belonged to Sub Pop, an alternative record company, but didn’t really belong to the wretched grunge scene that the label was usually associated with. Chris Eckman brought his post-punk roots back to the band, whereas his then-girlfriend Carla Torgerson, singer and guitarist of the band, brought some folk vibes in, and the band went into the latter direction over time. It might not have been the most rentable band of the company, but it had an inevitable influence on alternative country, a genre establishing in their times. Meanwhile, Chris Eckman moved to Europe and nowadays he is the leader of Glitterbeat Records, formerly known as the reputable Glitterhouse Records.
Dirtmusic released its first album in 2007. It had a third member then, Chris Brokaw, who was also experienced with his bands Codeine and Come. The band, named after Tim Winton’s book, started with American influences, but a journey to Africa and jamming in a tent for several days brought them on new ways. Enchanted by Mali blues, they made a collaborative album with Tamikrest in 2010 – this is where Black Gravity is from, see above.
Their latest album, however, was made in Turkey (Bu Bir Ruya, 2018), where they play with Turkish band Baba Zula. You can ask how so many musicians with different backgrounds and influences sound together, and Dirtmusic’s musical universe is really something special. Sounds like a hypermodern train ride through desolate parts of a post-apocaliptic Africa and the Balkans. The journey starts on the 1st of October in the Müpa.
Article: László Sallai
Translation: Zsófia Hacsek