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Documentary Features 55 Years of Popular Folk Music Band Kaláka

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.05.30.

A full-length documentary has been made about the band Kaláka, which was founded 55 years ago. Kaláka: From the Carpathians to the Caribbean  (Kaláka: A Kárpátoktól a Karib-tengerig) will premiere on June 14 at the Hungarian Motion Picture Festival in Veszprém (western Hungary).

The premiere of the film, directed by Réka Pigniczky, produced by 56films and supported by the National Film Office, will be followed by an open-air Kaláka concert on June 14.

The work is a music documentary, and road movie about the former and current members of Kaláka.

In addition to Gábor Becze, Dániel Gryllus, Vilmos Gryllus, and Balázs Radványi, who have been in the band since 1996, the film also features Péter Huzella, Gábor Major, and István Mikó, who have also played a significant role in the history of Kaláka.

Director-producer Pigniczky was born and raised in the United States as the child of refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and it was in the Hungarian community in California that she first heard the music of Kaláka. This gives the film a unique perspective:

the theme of being Hungarian as a whole permeates Pigniczky’s work.

The director is a member of the Friends of Hungary Foundation, publisher of our newsportal, and sister site Ungarn Heute.

Director Réka Pigniczky in the center. Photo via Facebook/Kaláka: a Kárpátoktól a Karib-tengerig

The members of the band set out on a journey to a city they have been singing about for decades but have never been to. In Cartagena, Colombia, they will perform for the first time Sándor Kányádi’s love poem “Románc” (“Romance”), set to music for the city. The film also shows that Kaláka means the same thing to Hungarians everywhere in the world: linguistic and cultural community, togetherness through poems and songs. The documentary is an emotional, uplifting musical experience.

“It was not our idea that Réka should make a film about us and we did not want to influence it. After four years of work, she sat us down in front of the screen and we were surprised, we laughed, we were touched, we were happy. No one had ever made a film like this about us before,” Dániel Gryllus, founder and director of Kaláka, stressed.

Photo via Facebook/Kaláka: a Kárpátoktól a Karib-tengerig

The film will be screened at the Kaláka Festival in Eger (northern Hungary) on June 28 and will be shown in garden cinemas around Lake Balaton, including Fövenyes, Balatonakali (both on the northern shore) and Zamárdi (southern shore). In autumn, the film will be screened in art cinemas.

Since its foundation in 1969, Kaláka has been the same for more than fifty years, setting to music the outstanding works of Hungarian and universal poetry. They have written music to poems by Attila József, Endre Ady, and Dezső Kosztolányi, among others.

The two-time Kossuth Prize-winning ensemble, which has made more than 30 recordings, includes Dániel Gryllus (wind instruments, zither, vocals), Vilmos Gryllus (cello, guitar, vocals), Balázs Radványi (mandolin, guitar, ukulele, viola, vocals), and Gábor Becze (bass, vocals).

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Via MTI; Featured image via Facebook/Kaláka

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