The Budapest Cafe Orchestra
The Budapest Cafe Orchestra

With a stage set that looked more like a front room than a concert stage, the four piece Budapest Cafe Orchestra played for a full and attentive house when they appeared at the Hub at St Mary’s.

With leader Christian Garrick on violin and percussion instrument the darabuka, button accordionist Eddie Hession, double bass player Kelvin Cantlon and Adrain Zolotuhin on saz, guitar, balalaika and domra, the quartet had a sound and a sonic personality that was truly unique.

This may have been to do with the instrumental line-up, but it had as much to do with their music tastes and magpie ears for what would work.

They played snippets of classical music as well as radically reworked pop songs – and blended in elements of klezmer and gypsy jazz which showed their abilities as musicians, but also as entertainers.

They opened with some Brahms, before the saz-powered Miserlou gave a slower, broodier reading than the faster paced, surf-style guitar instrumental that Dick Dale recorded.

I Want Goulash – with its Appalachian violin and guitar sound – was a playful rearrangement of I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow. Bang Bang, a minor hit for Nancy Sinatra, was given an interesting make-over by the four musicians.

The two highlights of the whole concert though was their readings of the slow Celtic air The Maid on the Shore, with the delicate violin part and some sterling accompaniment from the rest of the ensemble, and Faure’s Pavane, played on the saz with some filigree pizzicato violin and an interesting arrangement.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments