Chamberfest preview: Violin virtuoso Roby Lakatos brings ‘unorthodox Gypsy fusion music’ to Ottawa

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It’s factor that Roby Lakatos persevered.

Growing up within the late 1960s in Budapest, Lakatos was the newest addition to a musical household thick with Romani violinists. Generations again, one among his ancestors was János Bihari, a composer who influenced Brahms and Liszt. There was no query that younger Roby would decide up a child-sized violin as quickly as he was in a position, imitate the sounds he heard in the home, and ultimately go to music college.

“It was a pain, you know? I decided OK, I would like to play drums, it’s much better,” Lakatos laughs. “But it was not possible, so I continued violin. The first three months were very difficult. After that, it was already better.”

Lakatos, who has been described as a “scorching virtuoso” and the “fastest-fingered fiddler in the world,” has positively come round to the rigours of his instrument.

“I feel for the violin participant, for all musicians, a very powerful interval for studying music is from six and earlier than 15 years previous. It was a very powerful time in my life for studying the violin. Still now, after I play the violin, it’s the identical method … all the pieces I discovered on this time.”

Now in his early 50s, Lakatos has been a violin marvel for nearly 4 many years, wowing such stars of the instrument as classical nice Yehudi Menuhin and jazz icon Stéphane Grappelli. Lakatos brings his Stradivarius violin and band to Ottawa this week to give two live shows at Chamberfest that can reveal his equally fluencies with classical, jazz and Gypsy music.

Before he was an adolescent, Lakatos started taking part in on the luxurious Gundel restaurant in Budapest as had his father, uncles and grandfather earlier than him. “I was playing Gypsy music, learning lots of Gypsy music from my father, at the same time parallel to the classical music,” Lakatos remembers.

When he was 20, after ending his musical research, Lakatos moved to Brussels to pursue music, taking over a three-month contract there that led him to make the Belgian capital his dwelling. Lakatos labored steadily at one other restaurant, the Russian eatery referred to as Les Ateliers de la Grande Île, the place phrase of his skills prompted Menuhin and Grappelli to search him out.

Lakatos calls the late Grappelli, the French jazz violinist who based the Quintette du Hot Club de France with guitarist Django Reinhardt within the mid-1930s, “a god of jazz violin.” Despite an age distinction of virtually six many years, the 2 violinists grew to become “really great friends,” Lakatos says. They even recorded collectively simply earlier than Grappelli died in late 1997, simply shy of his 90th birthday, and their performances appeared on Lakatos’ debut album, which was launched by Deutsche Grammophon.

Lakatos says he had been a jazz fan since he was small, and that it figures into the huge mixture of kinds he performs and calls his personal.

“Already 30 years ago, I made this new style, I was really the first,” he says. “The Gypsy music, mixed with classical and jazz … now it’s something everybody knows, I am very happy for that.” He’s adopted the descriptor “unorthodox Gypsy fusion music” for what he does, though he says he didn’t make it up.

One of the novel features of Lakatos’ music is the instrumentation of his long-standing quintet, which incorporates guitar, acoustic bass, piano and cimbalom, an elaborate Eastern European stringed instrument performed with particular mallets. It’s very simple for piano and cimbalom to conflict. But Lakatos says his band’s particular preparations give every instrument much-needed room.

In Ottawa, Lakatos is to play on Chamberfest’s opening night time at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, giving a live performance with extra classical content material. Perhaps he’ll play “more Brahms, maybe Liszt, more classical Russian, more czardas,” he says. The latter refers to Hungarian people dances, which he anticipates will likely be widespread with Hungarians who attend his live performance.

The following night time, Lakatos is to give a late-night live performance that will likely be jazzier. “It’s music with a lot of colour,” he says, performed by “really great musicians” who carry a variety of vitality to their efforts.

Lakatos laughs that his music, transported from the realm of eating places to live performance levels, has even prompted upbeat listeners to dance.

“I like it very much,” Lakatos says of the response his music generates. “When people are happy, I am very happy.”

Roby Lakatos
When and the place: Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m. at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Friday, July 27 at 10:30 p.m. at De La Salle Public High School
Tickets and information: chamberfest.com

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