Sebestyén Márta & Szörényi Levente ‎– Szerelmeslemez, 1985

Gorgeous interpretations of traditional Hungarian folk songs, fleshed out in full color with synth and drum machine textures. Effortless vocals predominantly by Sebestyén Márta, a folk singer, composer, and actress who has also worked with Deep Forest (!). There’s something Virginia Astley-esque about the deliberately innocent quality of her voice, though perhaps that’s  a typical affect of traditional Hungarian folk singing–I sadly wouldn’t know. The prolific musician and songwriter Szörényi Levente contributes some vocals as well (presumably in addition to much of this instrumentation, though I can’t find full credits anywhere), and his brother Szörényi Szabolcs produced the record.

I’ve listed the song titles in Hungarian followed by their English translations where applicable. There’s a lot to love here, texturally: rolling, churning synth and drum machine on tracks like “Segélj El Uramisten” and “Szerelem, Szerelem” that reminds me of Sakamoto; more abstract chirping sample play on “Este Lett;” but the centerpiece is the floating, sinewy stunner “András,” previewed below. Impressively, Szerelmeslemez (“Love Record”) only gets increasingly generous with additional eartime. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Sebestyén Márta & Szörényi Levente ‎– Szerelmeslemez, 1985”

  1. Thanks a lot for bringing this one up, Jen! (and to Diego for hinting at another album, which I will listen to immediately). What a lovely surprise – the sonic palette is like a glossier update of Brigitte Fontaine and Areski’s Nous et Vous, the arrangements are always interesting but don’t stand in the way of the melody, the singing has the flourishes you can expect in Middle European folk music and a lovely smooth vibrato…

    … this is the kind of stuff that never gets tiring, no matter how many times in a row you’re listening to it. Thanks again!

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