Biography of the VKB


Interwiev of Hungarian journalist Egri B. János with the VKB-leader Barta János

If we’re speaking about the biography of Veszprémer Klezmer Band, we have to think about many years. We have very nice and big dreams in „loft of my mother-in-law” on 8 of October in 1995. Our repertoire in this first meeting, when we founded the VKB was only 2 songs, but we hoped it will much biger soon.

First of all we have to decide, what will we play. Fortunatelly it wasn’t a big problem, thanks of the friendly help of the leader of Jewish Community of Veszprém Wollák László, and the leader of Di Naye Kapelye, Bob Cohen. But HOW will we play made us a little bit harder question. After one year there was clear, the two clarinetplayer of the band has about it two different opinions. Robi prefered the virtuose, big orcestal sounding with electric effects, I wanted a rustic, folk feeling. And of course my opinion won, first of all because this band is my. I excellent knew, I didn’t choose the easier way, maybe we willn’t have most popularity, but I was sure, with our style we will almost alone not only in Hungary, but in Europe too. In festivals, where there were competitions too, even the juries finded us a little bit strange. Although we won some prizes but we hadn’t get any profitable advices from the musician-specialists, so we decided no more go to the competitions.

But the band begun to be better known in Hungary. We got a track in the CD of Hungarian Folk Anthology in our „2 songs repertoire time” yet (in 1996, after that in 2000 too), we were guests in concerts of Budapest (that time „Budapester”) Klezmer Band and Vujicsics. Later we played in festivals, („Ost-West”, „Klezmer and Literature”, „Aristic Days of Kapolcs”), where we hadn’t simply invitations, but invitations once and once more. And in 1997 we had our first, introducing own concert in Veszprém, where the members of popular Hungarian band Kaláka were „only” starguests.

In 1998 was the 150 years jubilaeum of Hungarian revolution and war or independence. Writer and journalist Kőbányai János edited a program about the jewish solders of this war, the ditector of show was the bigest Hungarian regisseur Jancsó Miklós. About this program Kőbányai made a film too, what’s music composed the Veszprémer Klezmer Band. From this music we tired to make a CD too, but the production we didn’t like. Because of it we decided, let’s left this in one exemplar only in our safe...

But Kőbányai didn’t stoped. He wrote a book about the jewish life of XVII-XVIII centuries. In the press prewiev of this book the VKB played again. After our concert came to us the director of a Hungarian book edition Mr. Reviczky Béla. He told us, his redaction translated the book of Walther SalmenThe History of klezmer music, and he wants insert a CD for this book. Till that time we prefered first of all Hungarian melodies, but he pleased from us some „international”. Plus we had to work quickly too, so maybe this CD isn’t our best. But the book was popular in Hungary, and first were sold the exemplars with CD inserts. the press-concert of the book we organised in a little willage by Veszprém, in a little church of Litér. Our bigest success, that with this concert even the strict Mr. Reviczky was satisfied...

First our introducing of VKB in outland was in Slowakia. After that we had a tour in Finland, Estonia and Ukrain too. Actual we’re working in „conquest” of Poland. Thanks to our Polish manager, Mr. Krzysztof Kubański we have now 1-2 tours pro year in Poland too.

We played in festivals of Wrocław, Lezajsk and Tarnów, we had an own show in Andrychów, we was successful in the first Festiwal of Jewish Culture in Warsaw too. We like Poland and Polish publicum, and we hope, our next years will begin in this coutry!