Popular music festival of Müpa moves online

As we could read in the news, the Hey, June! concert series of the Müpa had to be cancelled due to the current situation. However, there will still be two very exciting weeks with a collection of some great popular music concerts from last years, broadcasted online as part of Müpa Home. They will be available of the Facebook site, the YouTube channel, and the website of Müpa. In this article, we recommend some of them and also asked some musicians: how have they coped up with the quarantine and what memories do they have of the concerts.

3rd June 2020, 8 pm – Tátrai Band

Facebook event

On the first day of the virtual festival, a 2018 concert by the Tátrai Band can be seen again. Guitarist Tibor Tátrai started his career in famous Hungarian bands such as Tűzkerék, Syrius, Generál, Hobo Blues Band, Új Skorpió, and many more. The band that bears his name was launched in the late 1980s and gained success in the 1990s with their hit New York, New York.

Tibor Tátrai managed to find great musicians to work with, and Hungarian singer Charlie Horváth also had notable success with the band. At their 2018 concert, they evoked their classic albums like Utazás az ismeretlenbe (Journey to the Unknown) I-II., Hajnali szél (Morning Wind) or A hold szerelme (Lover of the Moon). Here is a playlist to get in the right mood for the concert!

5th June 2020, 8 pm – The Life Of Mörk

Facebook event

Last year, before giving their concert at the Müpa, bass guitarist Bálint Szeifert revealed in an interview on Hungarian online journal Librarius that this show was important for the band for many reasons. It was not only their biggest event up to that point, but they played some of their songs there for the last time.

They said goodbye to their first era which was marked by ‘room concerts’ or inviting guest contributors such as János Ávéd or Pisti Tóth Jr. We asked Bálint how he spends time now during the covid-19 pandemic:

“For me it’s a relatively active time. I spent the first two months in Zirc (town in Hungary – ed.) at my parents’ place. I was happy to spend more time with my family and be able to spend time in nature in the countryside without violating any lockdown rules. I have been listening to a lot of music, I can practice a lot, and give some online lessons. Now, with the lockdown rules getting getting eased in Budapest as well, I came back, and I even played music at a live broadcast on TV. I’m looking forward to giving concerts again.”

6th June 2020, 8 pm – Benedek Szabó and the Galaxisok

Facebook event

This band was also quite active during the lockdown. First, they changed their name to the more simple Galaxisok (Galaxies). Second, although their fifth album (Cím nélkül – No Title) has just come out recently, they used the quarantine days to start to record their sixth one and plan to release it before the end of summer. In the very beginning of the pandemic, a music video to their song M6 was also ready, showing the band members roaming around in the city at a Saturday night (of course, the shooting happened before the lockdown).

However, by the time of their Müpa concert, they only had two albums out (Kapuzárási piknik – Curfew Picnic, and A legszebb éveink – The Times of our Life), and the concert was enough for them to play their whole repertoire. This was also the debut of an early, smoother version of their song Olasz film (töredék) (Italian Song – fragment). Benedek Szabó also recalls the concert for a different, albeit not that nice, reason:

“I had my first panic attack just a few days before at a festival, and I had the second right in the Müpa. I hope it is not visible on the recording, but I felt I was going to die all the time. But the concert went well.”

10th June 2020, 8 pm – Margaret Island

Facebook event

Margaret Island launched as the trio of Viki Lábas, Bálint Füstös and Kristóf Törőcsik Kristóf in 2014. Their first songs were in English, but after a songtext written for them by János Bródy, they switched to Hungarian completely. The band gained more members then, and they released their first LP in 2015, which was followed by two more and countless music videos.

They are one of the most popular bands in Hungary. They played in Müpa in February 2019 where their play their reorchestrated songs with Heureka Pop Orchestra. Their other guests were folk singer Katalin Szvorák and Márk Saiid Süveg, a member of the recently dissolved Akkezdet Phiai band.
The three founding members of A Margaret Island decided to have a creative camp during the lockdown in Fonyód (town in Hungary – ed.). That’s what they did indeed. They did some gardening and cooking together, Viki Lábas learned to play the guitar from her fellow band members, and they even sent a song for the healthcare workers. Meanwhile, a concert album was released, then a music video that they shooted in January in Brighton. To the acoustic version of their song Valahol (Somewhere), they created this quarantine video:

12th June 2020, 8 pm – Elefánt

Facebook event

At the Hey, June!-concerts, some bands reorchestrate their songs completely, but Elefánt decided to leave the orchestration as it is and rather change the setlist and the visual elements. Their launch was a song Magányos (Lonely) featuring in the film Kodály Method, followed by the first LP Vérkeringő (Blood Waltz). By the time they played in the Müpa, they already had three albums out, and they have grown to be one of the most popular alternative bands.

The frontman Csaba Szendrői encouraged Elefánt fans to pose in front of the camera in cosy home attire during the quarantine. He emphasized that lockdown days should not always be busy; on his first day at home, for instance, he played video games all day long. He also worked on his first novel alongside playing FIFA, and the band has recently launched a text video of their song Sokáig vártalak (Long I Have Waited For You).

13th June 2020, 8 pm – Szeder

Facebook event

“That was the biggest, most complex concert experience of my life. The modern puppet master, the movement parts, the galanty show in the beginning, the smoke that hid us while we disappeared under the stage and appeared in a different attire, the stringers, the accordion, and the guest appearance of Róbert Hrutka made it an unforgettable evening”

– remembers Krisztina Szeder-Szabó of the 2017 concert at the Müpa. Her band Szeder exists since 2013, and their first album Hab a tetején (Cream on the Top) made them famous with the songs Reggeli dal (Morning Song) and Lazsa dal (ca. Sleazzy Song). Their second LP, Táncolj velem élet! (Dance with Me, Life!) has the sound of a much harder time with less acoustic-chansonistic vibes, and this is what they played in the Müpa. Szeder came out with a third album with a straightforward title (Bátran lépek – My steps are Bold), and the title song already has its music video online.
Krisztina Szeder-Szabó aspired to see the positive side of the lockdown:

“I feel very fine, it was actually great to step back from the constant performance pressure and simply baking, cooking, walking, meditating. Meanwhile I also wrote songs, and I renovated my home studio which was a long-awaited project.”

17th June 2020, 8 pm – Magashegyi Underground

Facebook event

Magashegyi Underground, led by Bíborka Bocskor, finishes the virtual festival. The concert gained its title from a song called Holdfényváros (Moonlight City) which is from their 2016 album Talált Tenger (Found Sea). The band chose such songs from their repertoire that have some connection to literature. Texts were written for this special evening to link songs to each other.

Nowadays, Bíborka Bocskor is expecting a child, and the band as just finished working on their new album featuring Krisztina Tóth’s poems. Two songs have already been released, just like a text video to the song Beszélek (I Speak) featuring Zoli Beck and the same Heureka Pop Orchestra that also appears on the stage at Margaret Island’s concert.

(The author is member of the Galaxisok.)

Article: László Sallai

Translation: Zsófia Hacsek