05.02.2010 – A hajnali csillag ragyog
Gypsy violinist who’s learned from the best
‘Violinist Tcha Limberger was born in Belgium to a Romani Gypsy father. His last disc, reviewed in Songlines #60, was a very fine one of Magyar Nota, the popular songs played by many Gypsy musicians in Hungarian restaurants – a style that’s rather waned in popularity in recent years. Limberger’s love of Magyar Nota took him to Budapest where he was introduced to a more vibrant tradition of village music in Transylvania. So he left Budapest with his Hungarian wife and settled in a small village in Romania, where he learnt from some of the masters of the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania, an area much loved by Hungarian ethnographers – for it’s music, costume, wood carving and folk art. It lies between either side of the main road from Hungary towards Cluj, the capital of Transylvania. Limberger was fortunate enough to meet Sàndor ‘Neti’ Fodor, the best of the Kalotaszeg fiddlers (who sadly died in 2006), and the young Kis Csipas, one of the rising stars. On the evidence of this disc and his fantastic London concert in December he has absorbed the style fantastically.
In the Kalotaszeg Trio, Limberger is joined by Rudi Tóni on kontra (accompanying violin) and Viktor Berki on double bass – musicians who played with Neti in the last decade of his life. Kalotaszeg music is amongst the most beautiful folk music in Europe – with gorgeous, slow melodies (hajnali) sung at the end of wedding parties before sunrise, and springy, rhythmic dances such as the Szapora and Legenyes. This is powerful music full of energy and pathos.’