Monday, February 04, 2008
MIX Magazine Interview
Bird, Flying High - two-page article with Andrea Gerak in the February issue of MIX Magazin.
You can meet Andrea's husband and find out about some of her other favorites as well.
BIRD, FLYING HIGH
She is representing folklore traditions, national values in a world which can be described mainly with disappearing borders. Promoting worldwide the "Hungarian fire", everything that is beautiful and worthy. Andrea Gerak is awaited with love everywhere, from Sweden through Germany still to London. Wherever she appears, the scene is loud from songs of different nations, melodies of one thousand year. Right now here at home, in Hungary.
She arrives hand in hand with her Swedish husband who wouldn't take his eyes off from his wonderful Hungarian wife. Whenever they can, they travel together the world which is more and more open and accepting, but impatient and on the run. Fortunately, Andrea is able to exclude the outside world, enjoying completeness with a book in her hand, in the warmth of home. While other times, in her friends company, she talks effusively, gesturing in a "Hungarian way".
Ózd, Kazincbarcika, Debrecen…
Listening to her Grandma in Debrecen as a small child, she was wishing for singing so beautifully once. For fifteen years, it was folk dance that filled her life: going to dance houses, Transylvanian villages, watching folk performers. However, the time has come when the power of her voice finally demanded its space: at her age of 30, she committed herself to singing. The girl born in Ózd, grew up in Kazincbarcika and Debrecen, and the years spent in Borsod region, its influences determine her character still today. "We would run around in the streets all day long, went to dance rehearsals and our parents didn't need to worry about dangers. Interestingly enough, already that time I was wishing to live in a big city. For a long time, Debrecen meant this for me."
One of the former socialist countries
"Tradition that we are carrying with us since hundreds of years, lives within the people - says Andrea with shiny eyes - It's like as if more and more people understood the importance of preserving national values, cultures, while the boundaries are being washed away and the world is getting more open. By my experience, when the regime changed in Hungary, the foreigners showed an increased interest toward us, but after a while we became just one of the former socialist countries. Nevertheless, they still highly appreciate Hungarian music, Hungarian culture.
Delight, sorrow, life, power
„I feel the fire and vitality in the Hungarians – she continues, sipping her tea. – I have visited many countries but I must say, the Hungarian soul is extremely rich in feelings, both in delight and in sorrow. I was thinking of a final return home, but on the other hand, I am attracted by other countries, lands, and really want to be acquainted with other cultures, with other people. I have seen many great cities, one of them is my current hometown, Stockholm. I am amazed by busy crowds, by the bustle of a metropolis. On the other hand, I dislike that somehow people are limited everywhere. In any country, different way, but the personal freedom is always violated. In some countries it concerns the everyday actions, in some others the spiritual freedom.
"ABBA is still hip"
Andrea sings Irish, Gypsy or Turkish songs, yet Hungarian folk song are closest to her heart. Besides Hungarian and Swedish musicians, she works with Israeli, Spanish, Canadian collegues. She performs at festivals, concert halls, exhibition openings and churches. Not only likes music of different ethnicities, but light music as well: „ABBA is still hip – she says -, but jazz or rock also touches me. Some of my other all-time favorites are Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Presser, or for example Kormorán.
Test of time
"According to the strictly traditional fraction, the folklore tunes can be transmitted exclusively in their original forms - she talks -, but the innovators, like me, can see many opportunities in the new approach. These melodies have already passed the test of centuries, have proved their highest value. I believe, with the necessary respect to traditions, we can take courage from ancestral tunes when interpret them in new forms."
Although Andrea's curiosity led her to new lands in the last 10 years, her desire to be home became stronger since a while. She spends more and more time in Hungary, often accompanied by her Swedish husband who is enthralled forever by Andrea's voice, openness and naturalness.
Photos: Mónika Papp
Favorites of the globetrotter girl from Borsod
Book: my current fave is Harry Potter
Food: mashed chestnut with whipped cream
Drink: green tea
Bedtime story: The Little Prince
Music: still Hungarian folk...
Song: impossible to choose one, I have a lot
Landscape: any high point, such as a lookout tower, mountain top, a tower, etc, where I can look far away
Movie: there are a couple of films I could watch ten times more: like Picasso's Adventures, Forrest Gump, Matrix and such