Hip-hop is universal.
Don’t believe me?
Did you know that Hungary has a well-established hip-hop culture? The country’s first hip-hop album emerged in the mid-1980s.
That’s a testament to the kids who created rap music in the streets of U.S. urban centers and to the people of Hungary. Until relatively recently, Hungarians were under a creative lock-down (although less harsh than some other communist countries). Formally, communism ended in Hungary in 1989.
(Read more about the history of hip-hop in Hungary – http://tiny.cc/q5vss )
One of Hungary’s Brightest
Based in Budapest, DJ Bootsie, one of Hungary’s emerging hip-hop leaders, has been in the game for over 15 years and is known for his cinematic, improvisational approach.
(DJ Bootsie plays live with a band, a video screen and only one turntable to provide melody and scratch solos.)
DJ Bootsie started his first hip-hop group, Az Arral Szemben (Against the Current), in 1995 and won a national DJ competition the next year. Since then, he has performed and recorded with Hungarian groups Yonderboi and Zagar and has released two solo albums: “The Silent Partner,” in 2004 (Ugar Records) and “Holidays in the Shade,” released Dec. 15, 2009, on BBE.
Hungarian Blues with Bass
Listen to “Holidays in the Shade,” and you’ll hear “epic instrumentals, basically on hip-hop foundations,” DJ Bootsie says in a video promoting the album (see link at the end of this article). “[The songs] carry strong cinematic influences as well as folk, jazz, electronic sounds and scratches here and there,” he says.
Also in the video, DJ Bootsie talks about his interest in musical structures and taking his listeners on a journey toward something inspirational, yet sad.
“Often, gloomy, not entirely positive music can also be uplifting, which actually reflects the mentality of the Hungarian people,” he says.
American musicians might say that DJ Bootsie is talking about the blues.
Kite Over Faurndau
DJ Bootsie has a gift for using dynamics to evoke emotions, similar to the dramatic music we hear so often in movie soundtracks.
Take, for example, the song, “Kite Over Faurndau.” A light acoustic guitar carries the music along with a playful snippet of female vocals. Interwoven are musical events that bring piano, accordion, string hits, rhythmic handclaps, rock guitar and distant sirens into the musical picture – all telling a story with a beginning, middle and end.
Perhaps that’s why DJ Bootsie’s music has translated so well into TV. The CSI franchise used his songs “Horseriders to the Abyss,” and “Ballad of the Spaceship Rigger (Pt. 1)” in its episodes. His work has also appeared in Hungarian TV and film.
Through an e-mail interview, DJ Bootsie shared with Eleven’s Song Reviews that his inspiration for “Kite Over Faurndau” was a personal one.
“Faurndau is a tiny, remote Swabian village in southern Germany where my grandmother lives,” he says. “During the initial work…of the song, I often recalled childhood memories of flying kites close to her place…The most careless time of my life these days were.”
He also shares, “The nature of the song, the airiness, the acoustic guitar, the zip and snap of it, made me start to clap my hands, like when one starts to dance involuntarily.”
So when you’re feeling introspective and need a good musical rush, check out DJ Bootsie. He’ll play a musical movie for your ears…you supply the script in your imagination. If you want to hear more music from Hungarian hip-hop artists, DJ Bootsie recommends listening to DJ Cadik and DJ Mango.
By the way, if you want to see some great panoramic views of Budapest, Hungary, check out the following Web site: http://tiny.cc/VuKAU .
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