Mónika Lakatos, the singer from ‘Romengo,’ a Gypsy band from Hungary, and ‘Gypsy Voices,’ will receive this year’s Womex Lifetime Achievement Award. In the history of the world music expo, held this year in Budapest, Lakatos is the first recipient of gypsy origin and the second Hungarian prize winner after the band ‘Muzsikás.’
Hangvető, the association in charge of organizing the expo, wrote on Facebook that “Mónika is also distinguished from the representatives of the Oláh Gypsy musical tradition by her magical singing voice, impressive presence, and her endless humility towards music.” The singer will receive the award before her gala concert at the Palace of Arts on October 24th at the Budapest Ritmo feat. Womex festival.
Lakatos was the winner of the Hungarian TV talent show ‘Ki Mit Tud?’ in 1996, where she sang the traditional music of her own community, the Olah Romani people, a minority in Hungary with only around 30,000 people who still practice their language and way of life. According to the Womex award’s website, the “strength and passion of her voice made her a standout performer, and the win provided her first big break. Thus began an impressive professional career, championing the people and culture of the Olah every step of the way (…) With music and songs all around her, she has been singing for as long as she can remember, allowing her to imbue her own work with heartfelt emotion.”
Lakatos is now the leader of prominent ensembles, including ‘The Gipsy Voices’ and ‘Romengo,’ and she keeps her family’s traditions with her music, adding a “vast repertoire of lyrical ‘hallgató’ (listening) and danceable ‘pergető’ (whirling) songs to the fore. Within a very traditional setting, she pushes boundaries, celebrating the voices and experiences of women in a society often focused on the masculine, and providing space for Romani youths to make themselves heard, too.”
According to the website, the singer received the Womex 20 Artist Award, a lifetime achievement award for her “commitment to the Olah people and their music, for her mission to ensure that female Romani voices can be heard on the world stage and for her highest personal artistry as a performer.”
Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Womex will take place virtually on October 22-24 this year, but within the Budapest Ritmo feat. Womex festival, four Hungarian bands selected by the international jury, Dalinda, Magos, Babra, and the Ötödik Évszak (Fifth Season), will give a live concert at the Müpa (Palace of Arts).
A világzene legnagyobb kitüntetése!
Lakatos Mónika kapja idén a Womex Életműdíjat!Az egész világon…
Posted by Romengo on Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Before the Womex festival, on October 9 and 10, at three main markets of the capital (Millenáris Park, Hunyadi Square, and Rákóczi Square), a ‘Budapest Ritmo Picnic’ will be held, where representatives of the Hungarian world music scene will give a free concert. Mónika Lakatos will also perform at the Millenáris, said Balázs Weyer, program director of the organizer Hangvető.
Since the introduction of the WOMEX Award in 1999, the list of extraordinary artists and professionals from the world music scene community “deserving of this special praise has continued to grow. The award honors exceptional achievements in global music on the international level; musical excellence, social importance, commercial success, political impact, lifetime achievement – any or all of these might make one a worthy recipient.”
featured photo: Romango facebook