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Eastern Bloc Disco at Centrala (Playlist for August 4, 2017)

8 Aug

Sarolta Zalatnay: Hadd Mondjam El (Pepita)

The latest version of Eastern Bloc Disco took place on August 4 at Centrala, Birmingham, as part of the regular Digbeth First Friday, a mix of soul, rock, psychedelia, disco, pop, folk and more, all released on the official state record labels of Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, East Germany and other Eastern Bloc states between the early 1960s and late 1980s. For this latest session – commissioned to accompany the launch of Terra Firma, an exhibition of work produced during a month on Birmingham’s canals by Italian resident Hungarian artist Barbara Mihályi – there was a particular (but by no means exclusive) emphasis on music from Hungary. An archival Eastern Bloc Songs exhibition is in development with Centrala for the summer of 2018.

Eastern Bloc Disco Playlist (August 4, 2017)

Raimonds Pauls & Margarita Vilcāne: Līgotāji (Latvia, 1974)
Karel Cernoch & Juventus: Procitnuti (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Zsusza Koncz & Liversing Egyuttes: Jaj, Mi Lesz Velem Ezutan (Hungary, 1971)
Alibabki: Slonce w Chmurach Lazi (Poland, 1969)
Illés: Nehéz az Út (Hungary, 1968)
The Rebels: Definitivní Konec (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Hungaria: Koncert a Marson (Hungary, 1969)
Sarolta Zalatnay: Betonfej (Hungary, 1968)
Hana Zagorová: Svatej Kluk (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
George & Beatovens: Dívky Z Perel (Czechoslovakia, 1969)
Sarolta Zalatnay: Fekete Beat (Hungary, 1971)
Halina Frąckowiak: Wodo Zimna Wodo (Poland, 1974)
Corvina: A Tüz (Hungary, 1974)
Kati Kovacs: Add Már Uram Az Esöt (Hungary, 1972)
Illes: Nekem Oly Mindegy (Hungary, 1972)
Czeslaw Niemen & Akwarele: Baw Się W Ciuciubabkę (Poland, 1969)
Sarolta Zalatnay: Hadd Mondjam El (Hungary, 1973)
NOVI Singers: Torpedo (Poland, 1969)
Vaclav Neckar/Golden Kids: Goo Goo Barabajagal (Czechoslovakia, 1970)
Petr Spaleny & Apollobeat: Kdybych Ja Byl Kovarem (Czechoslovakia, 1969)
Karel Cernoch: Zlej Sen (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Vera Spinarova: Den a Noc (Czechoslovakia, 1972)
Sarolta Zalatnay & Metro: Mostanában bármit teszünk (Hungary, 1967)
Yvonne Prenosilova: Zimní Království (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Marcela Laiferova: Mlc (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Filipinki: Nie Ma Go (Poland, 1968)
Hana Ulrychova & Bluesmen: Zpívej Mi Dál (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Atlantis: Don’t You Break It Again (Czechoslovakia, 1968)
Koncz Szusza: Visz a Vonat (Hungary, 1970)
Chris Doerk: Glaub Nicht (DDR, 1974)
Angelika Mann: Wenn Ich Mal (DDR, 1974)
Valérie Čižmárová: Čekám (Czechoslovakia, 1969)
Kyri Ambrus: Ez a Szerelem (Hungary, 1970)
Mária Hoffmann: Mini Tini Panaszai (Hungary, 1974)
Metro: Ha Júliát Kérdeznék Meg (Hungary, 1970)
Stan Borys: Wyplakalem Oczy Niebieskie (Poland, 1969)
Bergendy: Tramp – Részlet (Hungary, 1971)
Bonka Najdenova: Proletni Stypki (Bulgaria, 1975)
Beatrice: Gyere Kislány Gyere (Hungary 1977)
Die Caufner Schwestern: Komm Doch (DDR, 1978)
Judit Szucs: Urdiszkó (Hungary, 1979)
Koukeri: Брой До Сто (Bulgaria 1984)
Plexi & Frutti: A Vásár (Hungary, 1989)
Gigi: Divat a Fontos (Hungary, 1985)
Jana Kratochvílová & Discobolos: Kyvadlo (Czechoslovakia, 1978)
Grupa ABC: Za Duzo Chcesz (Poland, 1970)
Grupul Stereo: Coloana Infinită (Romania, 1984)
Bemibem: Podaruj Mi Trochę Słońca (Poland, 1973)
Marika Késmárki: Törött Szék (Hungary, 1971)
Bezinky: Polnočný Vlak (Czechoslovakia, 1975)
Emil Dimitrov: Scherazhade (Bulgaria, 1972)
Olympic: Tobogan (Czechoslovakia, 1971)
Drugi Nacin: Zuti List (Yugoslavia, 1975)
Corvina: A Mosolyomon Ordög Ul (Hungary, 1977)
Sarolta Zalatnay: Már Nem Tudom (Hungary, 1976)
Izabela Trojanowska: Jestem Twoim Grzechem (Poland, 1981)
Syrius: Hol Az Az Ember (Hungary, 1976)

Illes: Illesek Es Pofonok... (Qualiton)

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Omega: Gyöngyhajú lány (Qualiton, 1969)

10 Nov

A track taken from the leading Hungarian band Omega’s oblique concept LP 10,000 Lepes (Ten Thousand Steps), first released in 1969. 10,000 Lepes was the band’s second Hungarian release (and third full-length recording: the first, Omega Red Star: From Hungary (1968) was recorded under the auspices of the Rolling Stones for Decca in London). Gyöngyhajú lány was written by Anna Adamis and Gábor Presser, best known as members of Locomotiv GT, perhaps the key songwriters (certainly the most successful in commercial terms) writing material for rock artists on the Hungarian scene from the later 1960s and through most of the 1970s. Gyöngyhajú lány was a hugely popular recording, with Omega themselves issuing alternate versions in German and as an instrumental for the international market: it has also been widely covered in the years since its first release, notably by Western rock band The Scorpions in 1995, albeit with rather ham-fisted English lyrics and a far more anodyne nineties studio production, making its general feel very different to the spellbound quality to be found in the Hungarian version of 1969. The original version of the song can be heard here, and a transcript of the Hungarian lyric can be read here:

Gyöngyhajú lány (A Girl with Pearls in her Hair)

(after Gábor Presser/Anna Adamis, 1969)

One day the sun was tired, fell asleep
on the green breast of the lake.
I tell you: people hurt in the dark.
She had pity, once, stayed among us.
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

The sun’s hair is bright as pearls
strung between blue earth and sky.
The lake’s green was touched by light
and the sun stayed, once, long ago.
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

At dawn, she was finished, went home,
saw the blue mountains shrink,
blue elephants then small blue flowers.
This was the story, a girl at dawn.
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

I lived where the departing sun
dipped her long hair in a green lake,
lowered it, strand by strand, till
it touched sand, snared deep pearl.
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

When alone, that girl might sleep,
a reflection between pearl-white
stars of ice, adrift in the water
among green currents, clear stones.
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

I tried to wake her. She was long gone,
waits for us, somewhere, out there
between the heavens and earth,
behind mountains, or in the water’s sky.
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

Did I dream? Perhaps it’s always true.
She is waiting for me somewhere
between heaven and earth,
hidden deep in mountains, water, sky…
I had this dream. Perhaps it’s true.

UPDATE: Since this was posted, Omega’s own English-language version has surfaced on YouTube. Thanks to Radoslav Košvanec for linking to this in the comments below.