March 22, 2011

Roby Lakatos: In Istanbul to enliven stage with mixture of cultures

Roby Lakatos, dubbed the “devil’s fiddler,” is taking to the stage tonight at the Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Concert Hall in İstanbul to present his native Hungarian folk tunes with a twist of jazz.


Born in 1965 into a family of Roma violinists descending from Janos Bihari -- referred to as the “King of Gypsy Violinists” -- Lakatos appears on the stage as a classical virtuoso, a jazz improviser, a composer and an arranger.

“Violin is my life,” says Lakatos, in an interview with Today’s Zaman. “I have been playing the violin since I was 3. My father used to play as well. I am the seventh generation in this sense, so I think it is in my genes. The violin chose me before I chose it. While the children around me were playing with toys, my toy was the violin. Yes, it was my toy until I started school. I started school at the age of 6, and everything became harder for me. The violin playing techniques were very hard for me, and then I understood that it was not actually a toy.”

Lakatos assures us that the audience will enjoy tonight’s CRR concert. “We will play everything as we always do,” he says, “anything that has good rhythm: Balkan music, Roma music, classical music, jazz, Latin, tango and bolero.”

On the other hand, it is not only the music that is good, but also the audience for Lakatos. “The Turkish audience is amazing. The people are so easy, they love the music, their ambiance is great, they are filled with energy and they can convey this energy to me as well. This is naturally reflected in the music, and everything becomes more joyous.”

Read more on Today's Zaman: Roby Lakatos: In İstanbul to enliven stage with mixture of cultures

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