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Musical alchemy in Findhorn line-up


By Lorna Thompson


LET yourself be transported by the enigmatic Budapest Cafe Orchestra on a musical trip down the Danube this month at Findhorn's Universal Hall.

Expect pure alchemy at the Findhorn Foundation venue on Friday, June 14, when the infectious four-piece will entertain with their traditional folk and gypsy-flavoured music from the Balkans and Russia.

Led by jazz violin supremo Christian Garrick, the band evoke images of Tzigane fiddle maestros, Budapest cafe life and gypsy campfires. And if that's not heady enough, they promise a few surprises along the way. The Budapest Cafe Orchestra have won legions of fans for their hugely entertaining displays of profound musicianship.

A small but impeccably formed orchestra, the group combines violin, guitar, accordion, double bass, saz and balalaika creating an awesome aural force characteristic of far bigger ensembles.

Two of the country’s most revered international soloists revel at the centre. Accordionist exemplar Eddie Hession is a UK accordion champion. In his time he has accompanied Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and Chris Rea. Meanwhile Christian is one of the world’s most celebrated jazz violinists. He has played with the likes of Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, Wynton Marsalis, Nigel Kennedy, Bireli Lagrene and Caro Emerald.

One of Russia's most enigmatic musical exports is also a member. The Sultan is played expertly by Adrian Zolotuhin, a master of the strummed strings of domra, balalaika, guitar and saz. And veteran bass-man Kelly Cantlon has been laying down the low notes for many moons. Kelly found fame in the late 1960s as a Vagabond with northern soul sensations Jimmy James and the Vagabonds.

The Budapest Cafe Orchestra. Picture: Ross MacKerracher
The Budapest Cafe Orchestra. Picture: Ross MacKerracher

The Budapest Cafe Orchestra will play at the venue on June 14 at 8pm. Tickets cost £14, £12 concessions, £10 under-16s and are available in person at the Phoenix Stores and online at universalhall.co.uk

The pace changes on June 19 when one of Scotland's foremost musicians brings his remarkable new song cycle to Findhorn for the first time.

Mike Vass, previously a nominee in the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) award and winner in the Scots Trad music awards as composer of the year, creates music that draws influence from the neo-classical, indie-folk and electronic worlds.

His songs run from darkly comic to heart-wrenching narrative. Much in demand as a producer and collaborator, Mike has worked with the likes of Kathleen MacInnes, Fiona Hunter, Malinky, Runrig, Battlefield Band, Siobhan Miller and Findlay Napier.

His album "In the wake of Neil Gunn" was released to critical acclaim.

Mike will play at the Universal Hall on June 19 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £14, £12 concession, £10 under-16s.



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