On October 12th, 2001 I attended a performance in Amsterdam
at the occasion of the release of Csókolom's new CD entitled
"Ludo Luda ~ Fools Fancy".
Like the previous one, this CD was released by
The gig took place at the Pleintheater, Sajetplein 29, Amsterdam. A small theatre with a pleasant atmosphere. It seats some 80 spectators, there is no elevated stage, but the audience's seats directly border the floor where the players perform. I was lucky enough to sit in the front row, hardly three yards away from the musicians. This Pleintheater ("Square Theatre") somewhat resembles Rasa in Utrecht. It certainly is a suitable location for this type of intimate, emotional, yet at times also exuberant, comical, festive music.
The performance was very refreshing: before the break there
were all new pieces, after the break we heard some
familiar older ones, but also more new songs.
Again the well-known virtuosity in all four group members,
the same music styles rooting in south-eastern Europe,
but in various pieces also some more less traditional,
A somewhat new development for Csókolom, although most
members were already involved in jazz several times
in their musical careers.
Examples of such unexpected sounds: the end of "Jove malaj mome" (track 11 of the CD), the end of "Csillagok" (13), and parts of "Megragjak a Tüzet" (17).
The name of the second CD "Ludo Luda", which they translate
as "Fools fancy", is probably Croatian. Croatian is
Anti's mother tongue (or one of her mother tongues?)
because she lived in Zagreb when she was a child.
The exact grammatical structure of the title I cannot
reconstruct, for lack of insight in this language.
It is funny that "Ludo luda", if it were Esperanto, could also have meant "playful play" or "jocular game" etc. But that's probably not what they had in mind when deciding on this title. Many languages are used on Csókolom's CDs, Hungarian, Romanian, Romany (Gipsy's language) and Croat, but not Esperanto. And rightly so, because it wouldn't fit in the tradition of this style of music.
To my mind some tracks deserve special mention, though all tracks are equally worth one's while:
"A csitári hegyek alatt", track 5. The Hungarian lyrics seemed vaguely familiar to me. But because this is a completely different arrangement, it took a while before I could remember where I had heard it before: a CD called Balogh Kálmán & the Gipsy Cimbalom Band, track 8 (I also heard it played live one time).
"Jove malaj mome", track 11. This piece, in which Gregor Schaefer's bass plays a prominent role, has a very peculiar rhythm, which at first hearing is difficult to catch. If I hear it correctly, it is a five-four time, divided into 3 and 2. The first part consists of two times long, three times short (it is not Morse code!), where long means one and a half times longer than short. The second part of a measure is two times long and one time short. So the complete schedule is: 3-3-2-2-2 - 3-3-2. The first note of the two that have length one and a half has a strong dynamical accent, which first made me wonder if it could be 3-2-2-2-2 - 3-2-2 (that'd make it a nine-eight time), but it isn't that.
"Csillagok, csillagok", track 13, with that lovely, slowly
and asymmetrically rocking rhythm that is peculiar to music
from this part of the world. I think it's simply a three-four
beat, divided into 1+2, but it sounds much more unusual.
Perhaps it is
much more complicated after all. I would like to know
But feeling the music and going along with it is always less
difficult than capturing it into demonstrably accurate figures.
And that's how it should be.
Confer the song "Anii Mei" (track 11 on the first CD, 9 on the next), which has a common time, even though it gives a strange impression, perhaps caused by the strong accent on the second of the four beats. Both CDs' versions are different, I personally prefer the older one in this case.
Khelimasko Shavo (18). A delightful piece of music. So lively, jumpy, excited and exciting. Nervous in a pleasant manner. Hard to explain, a must-hear. Guest performances by Reinier Voet (guitar) and Robin Draganić (double bass).
Hajnali, track 10. Quite appropriately, during the concert
this was played last, as an encore. Wonderful music, very emotional,
almost sentimental, with those well-known yet always again
unexpected harmonies, which are so characteristic of this type
is another example of a hajnali, arranged
by Hein Krammer.)
This piece has a particular moment that is even more beautiful than the rest: it is where the melody goes up, from d, to e and a (I simplify things tremendously now, the many grace notes are at least are important as the melody proper), and just when you think we reached the highest point, it goes higher still, a whole fourth higher, reaching d. Of such extreme beauty that it almost hurts.
Technically it's piling fourths on top of each other, I think, e-a-d, although I'm not even sure if that e is really there. The strange thing is this last high d is the most thrilling and tensioned moment in the whole piece, even though d is its tonic (keynote), and normally, you'd expect the return to the tonic to constitute the resolution, the relaxation. Not so in this music.
This single second alone, which occurs three times (0:29, 1:07, 1:30, the first is my favourite), to me would be reason enough to buy this CD. But then of course I already have it, lucky me.