Amsterdam Klezmer Band & Söndörgő - Szikra

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Pinnacles of klezmer and balkan scenes merge to form single superband
Szikra, a magical collaboration between the Amsterdam Klezmer Band and the Hungarian band
Söndörgő, is set to sweep the European festival stages this summer. When playing live the bands merge
into a grooving, uplifting supergroup with a totally unique sound. The first concerts were electrifying.
Klezmer and Balkan fans are already looking forward to the upcoming tour.A blend of two exceptional
The Amsterdam Klezmer Band has created international furore over the last 20 years with an irresistible
mix of traditional klezmer, balkan, gypsy and modern dance music. No wonder they make a perfect
match with Söndörgő, the Hungarian band that has regenerated traditional Balkan music. Söndörgő has
conquered many a European festival with spectacular interplay on acoustic string instruments.
“Both bands create and play music with an open mind,” says AKB bassist Jasper de Beer. “We’re
inspired by everything that has common ground with klezmer, balkan and gypsy music. Söndörgő has
a similar approach, and neither band is limited by tradition. So we have a unique sound.”
Discovery of the year
The acquaintance with the Hungarian band was purely a coincidence, Jasper says. “On a summer’s day
in 2015 I stumbled upon a performance in the Haarlemmerhout. I had never heard of Söndörgő. I had
no idea what to expect.”
It soon dawned on him that he was witnessing something special. “The musicians play on tamburas,
Serbian string instruments. They mix tambura with clarinet, kaval, sax, trumpet, accordion, davul,
darbuka and occasional singing together. Unbelievable. The band is super tight and they are
consummate instrumentalists. You can see and hear that they’ve been playing together for a long time.
They’ve developed their own style, just like the AKB. And just like our performances, you gradually see
the audience getting more and more ecstatic.”
Magical moment
The Amsterdam Klezmer Band, which has always been in for new musical adventures, had the idea to
work together with Söndörgő. In early 2017 they contacted the Hungarian band, who responded
enthusiastically. Last April they met in the Netherlands, and got on very well, both musically and
personally. Their first musical explorations burst with energy, and had an intriguing new sound. Szikra
(Hungarian for ‘spark’) was born!
Studio and concerts
Five months later Söndörgő returned to the Netherlands, both bands having prepared new pieces of
music. After intensive rehearsals they recorded the studio CD Szikra, which will be released in early
“It sounds like these two bands have played together for years,” says Benjamin of Söndörgő. “When
we’re together the bands integrate effortlessly, with a unique style and sound,” adds Jasper. “The
musical chemistry is driving everyone in the band to new creative heights.”
Concerts in Grounds in Rotterdam and the Bimhuis in Amsterdam were followed by a performance
during the Hungarian Ritmo festival in Budapest. The roof came off, the audience couldn’t get enough
– and neither could the band. We want more! Next summer, watch this double superband set the
European festival stages ablaze!