The cultural programmes organised in Vienna to salute Hungary’s acting EU-presidency will be concluded by a series of nightclub appearances called Hungary Beach and a reading in the Museumsquartier.
At a special geographic place in Vienna, at the mouth of the river Wien (Vienna) into the Danube channel, just by the North-Eastern corner of the inner city, stands the building Urania, erected in the 19th century to popularise the sciences. The front of the building, facing the mouth of the river, is shaped like the nose of a ship. At the foot of the Urania, on the sand of the lower embankment of the Danube channel, the Strandbar Herrmann has been open. It served drinks first, but became a centre of youth and alternative culture, living in harmony with all those Viennese people, who have made the beach feeling their own very quick, biking or sunbathing along the banks of the channel.
Concluding the cultural programmes of the acting EU presidency of Hungary in the first half of 2011, the Hungarian Cultural Institute Collegium Hungaricum is trying to reach out to the young generations. For ten days, starting from June 17th, the open air stage of Herrmann’s presents Hungarian live acts and DJs for clubbing. Diplomatic circles have taken a positive attitude towards the series of informal events, judging by the list of speakers at the opening ceremony (besides the director of the Collegium Hungaricum Márton Méhes, Hungarian AmbassadorVince Szalay-Bobrovniczky, chairman of the cultural committee of the Vienna municipality Ernst Woller, and state secretary of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior).
The musical acts chosen to represent the country at this festival, called Hungary Beach, display a great stylistic variety. The opening party belonged to the Anima Sound System, pioneers of the electronic music in Hungary, and who have from day one been open to world music. They had their first success abroad nowhere else, but at the Soundsfair Festival in Vienna, and have become a regular to London and other clubbing capitols in Europe.
The acts of the Erik Sumo Band are noted for their intellectual irony and strong stage presence, witness their newest outing that goes by the title Twilight at the Zoo. The Band was founded by Ambrus Tövisházi six years ago, and he is known to be able to supply more than one band simultaneously with original ideas. Their featured singer is Erzsi Kiss, and was for a long time Veronika Harcsa, one of the most talented young Hungarian singers, but she left last year to be able to concentrate on a new band of hers.
Bin Jip, that very band she launched with a guitar player, a keyboardist and a DJ will also get a chance to present themselves to the Vienna audience and play their absolutely up-to-date electronic and ambient mix of sounds, with lots of improvisation. The quartet, which chose the title of a prize-winning South-Korean movie as their name, quickly rose to fame in their native country.
Brains, however, has been a mainstay on the scene since 1994, but have changed a lot in the meantime. From setting out as a hardcore unit they have now stabilised a quintet line up, standing on the foundations of drum&bass and dancehall, but have not completely turned their back to their roots in rock music.
Another pretty, young and very talented singer, Juli Fábián will also sing at the Herrmann’s. Juli has been able to leave her mark on both the pop and the jazz scene in Hungary in recent years. At the Hungary Beach fest every night first rate Hungarian DJs will be playing music, while weekend programmes offer a lot for families with children.
Saxophone and Word will be the title of a reading at the Arena21 hall of the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, where the Hungarian cultural input, under the motto River of Culture, will mouth into the O-TÖNE literary festival on June 20. One of the most popular, for some the most popular Hungarian writer, Péter Esterházy will be reading, interspersed by the saxophone soli of László Dés, an old friend of his. Esterházy is a highly decorated writer, also in the German speaking countries (e.g. the Austrian State Award for European Literature and the Peace prize of the German Booksellers). Dés is a jazz sax player, but his scores to films and musicals have been huge box office hits. What Esterházy will be reading is not made public until the actual reading starts, as he has decided to improvise, just as his friend would be improvising on the saxophone.
Hungary Beachevery night 17–26 June, Strandbar Herrmann, Vienna
Word and Saxophone - Péter Esterházy and László Dés at the O-TÖNE festival, 20 June, MuseumsQuartier Wien, Arena21