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Martin Hrbáč and Musica Folklorica

Indies Scope / 2019
Genres: folklor
CD $ 11.36
MP3bitrate 256-320 kbps $ 4.42
FLAClossless format, MP3 version added for free $ 6.66


Martin Hrbáč, still an active singer and prime violinist of the Horňácko region, is an outstanding folk song performer even at the age of eighty. The proof of this is the album Majstr (i.e. Master), which was recorded for the Brno label, Indies Scope, in cooperation with Musica Folklorica.


An hour-long set of recordings brings a diverse view of the song fund in Horňácko and the adjacent Moravian-Slovak border. In addition to the dominant peasant dances, there are older ones called “starosvětská” (i.e. Old World), long balladic ones, and also “verbuňk” (i.e. recruiting dance). One extraordinary achievement is the production of the still unpublished records of Leoš Janáček from his stay at the village called Velká nad Veličkou, as well as the records of the Horňácko music by Martin Zeman. Petr Pavlinec presents a selection of songs: “The basic dramaturgical elements were planned in advance. The most frequent Horňácko dance “sedlácká” (i.e. peasant dance) was produced in several variants - we found, for example, rare texts about beer, there are also popular “ščeglivé” songs (i.e. songs about relationships for adults) and a surprising set of dance songs dealing with death. The hardest work, however, was with the interpretation of the music by the Horňácko musician Pavel Trn. His performance was noted in 1893 by Leoš Janáček during his stay at the village Velká nad Veličkou.”


The songs of the emigrants to America deserve special attention. “As all of us in the band have someone in the family who emigrated to the USA during 19th and 20th century, we couldn’t leave out American songs, which will surprise with a novel vocabulary full of Americanisms. It is interesting that the songs themselves migrate around Central Europe and in addition to the records from Moravia, we can also see them in the collections of Béla Bártók,” Petr Pavlinec comments on the album dramaturgy. The songs were edited in cooperation of Miroslav Kolacia, Petr Pavlinec and of course Martin Hrbáče.


“We started the preparations in November 2018 and took the pictures during the following six months. We used all the recorded material on the album so it’s almost an hour long. Our work is not over yet, we are going to do a music video, for which we are preparing a special bonus recording.” In the almost thirty page booklet, there is a songbook, and an analysis of the lyrics by Jiří Fiala and Marie Sobotková. The fact that Martin Hrbáč is a Majstr (i.e. Master) not only in music can be read in the informal text of the cimbalom player Petr Pavlinec.



Martin Hrbáč learned from the legendary prime violinist and frontman Jožka Kubík, who himself became a legend of the Horňácko region and is currently the symbol of Horňácko folk music. He is a walking songbook of forgotten songs, which, like Jožen Kubík once, "hears but plays in his own way". The self-taught violinist has added a lot of new impulses into the Horňácko music and has moved it into a new era because he has never considered it a sacred relic.



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