Kálmán Balogh

Kálmán Balogh is one of the foremost Hungarian cimbalom players, descending from a famous dynasty of Hungarian Gypsy musicians. His virtuosity is matched only by his understanding and respect of his heritage. A graduate of Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music of Budapest, he has completed many successful tours throughout the world with various ensembles, including five tours in North America. In 1985 he was awarded the Hungarian distinction of "Young Master of Folk Arts", and two years later he won second prize in the Aladár Rácz cimbalom-competition. He plays mostly authentic folk music from Hungary and from the Balkans, though during the last years he has played with jazz groups, rock bands and a symphony orchestra, too. As an artist he has performed with such Hungarian bands as Jánosi, Ökrös, Téka, Méta, Muzsikás, Zsarátnok, Vízöntő, Vasmalom, the Swedish Orient-Express, the Dutch Sultan and Ot Azoj, the English Transglobal Underground, the American Peter Ogi and the Joel Rubin Jewish Ensemble. He was musical director of the "Magneten Gypsy Show" of Andre Heller and also performed on a CD with the Budapest Festival Orchestra playing Brahms' Hungarian Dances. In 1997, he performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and also with the Miami Philharmonic Orchestra. The cimbalom, a sort of oversized hammer dulcimer played with mallets like a vibraphone, possesses piano like percussive abilities to drive a band rhythmically or take the melodic lead. In Kálmán Balogh's expert hands, the cimbalom can do both simultaneously. His mastery of this unique and rare Hungarian folk instrument has mesmerized audiences.


Kálmán Balogh and the Gipsy Cimbalom Band

"With one centre stage played by the young and talented Kálmán Balogh himself, Gipsy Cimbalom Band offers the earthy, fresh sounds of Hungarian gypsy music. With Sándor Budai and László Major, two fine mature gypsy violinist, playing rhapsodic, melancholic and merry Balkan, Moldavian and Macedonian melodies, a wonderful rich bass, guitar and trumpet, this six-man group plays its distinctive music with great brio. The rhythms wrap you up inside them, the music impressing itself upon you from the beginning of each phrase, probably because the Hungarian language itself grabs you in the same way, invariably stressing the first syllable. It is gypsies like the members of this group who have proudly kept their captivating tunes safe, handing them on from generation to generation. Just as bagpipes mean Scotland, so gypsy bands mean Hungary. For their sheer musicianship and their unfussy but undoubted virtuosity, Kálmán Balogh are a real find." Jan Fairley, Scotsman, 24th August 1999.



The Matocsáv formation was founded by the 3 wind instrument players to play hungarian and romanian folk music played originally on violins, in new orchestration based on saxophone and Tárogató. The band tends to play authentic music in different way without turning it into "modern noise".The group members are professional hungarian folk musicians, thus the program contains mostly hungarian village music from Transylvania.

Makó Péter - wind instruments (tárogató, saxophone etc)
Tóth József - wind instruments

 Kálmán Balogh-Ralchev Quartett Balkan Project


Kálmán Balogh - cimbalom (Hungary)
Peter Ralchev - accordion (Bulgaria)
Ateshghan Yuseinov - guitar (Bulgaria)
Csaba Novák - double bass (Hungary)

Peter Ralchev laid the beginning of new stile in Bulgarian folklore instrumental music and exerted great influence on its development. With marvelous mastery he performs Bulgarian folklore as weil as classic pieces, French musettes, Serbian, Rumenian and other instrumental pieces characteristic of accordion. He is included in the book "History of Accordion" published in France in 1991 by Francois Billard and Didier Roussin.

Since 1986 he plays wth "Trakiisti", a quintet of Bulgarian folk music, playing original and traditional compositions. He received a prize as a soloist at the authoritative folklore festival in Stambolovo.

In 1991 he toured the major U.S. cities with "Bulgari",a quintet performing traditional Bulgarian folk music. During this tour, they played in the Smithsonian Institute, the library of Congress in Washington and also a 30 minutes broadcast on the Voice of America, amongst other things Mr. Raichev also held extensive seminars at the Centre for East-European Studies in Eugene, Washington, teaching Bulgarian music. In Canada he has performeci in Vancouver and in the International Accordion Festival of Montmagny in Quebec and Montreal, during the summers of 1991-92 which was broadcasted live by CBC. He has also played in Germany, Hungary and Russia.

In 1995 he produced the last album in, 1996 he was on a three-month in Germany as a conductor of a male choir which performed Orthodox songs. During the period 1996-1998 he realized four tours as a guest soloist of the folk -jazz orchestra of Stiyan Karstensen who is also an accordionist-jazzmen at the invitation of "Osio Konserthus" in Norwey. He participated in concerts,seminars where he taught Bulgarian folklore and festivals.

ATESHGHAN YUSEINOV is one of the most interesting guitar players, not only on the Balkan. With his unique technique which can be characterized by its fast rhythms and changes of the Balkan music and combined by improvisation in a very open way of playing he has aquired cult status. Apart from the guitar Yuseinov is famous for his multi-instrumental skills. He is equally in command of playing the tambura as well as the saz.

Yuseinov became famous with Elka Atanasova and the record "Winds Of The Rhodopes" (Earthen sound). Recordings and concerts with the group "Zone C" and Okay Temiz followed. Ateshghan Yuseinov also worked with the Zig Zag Trio / Peter Ralchev and Stoyan Yankoulov for a long time and the recorded the CD "When the bees are gathering honey" (Kuker Music).

He was also successful with the Zig Zag Trio feat. Ivo Papasov. Afterwards he took part in the special project "Fairground" (Kuker Music) of Ivo Papasov with whom he has played in the "Ivo Papasov & His Wedding Band" for some time.

For the festival "Strings On Fire" a special string project with Zoltan Lantos, Vladimir Volkov and Stoyan Yankoulov was realised. The new project Kalman Balogh, Peter Ralchev and Csaba Novak was created for the jazz festival in Graz in 2005.

Yuseinov also staged at Rudolstadt Tanz & Folk Festival, Strasbourg Bienalle, Elmau Jazztival, New York BoC Marathon, Salzburg Balkan Fest, Graz European Culture Capital, Wien Accordion Festival, Bruxelles Europalia, Dresden Festival, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Gypsy Festival Tilburg, Moskow World Music Festival, Fächerwelt Karlsruhe, Umea Folk Festival, Balkanfeever Vienna, Sziget Festival Budapest, Time in Jazz Sardinia, Cormons Jazz & Wine, Budapest World Festival, Graz Jazz Festival, Auerbach Festspiele etc. etc. etc.

Ateshghan Yuseinov's guitar work techniques are mind blowing, yet he is not all technique. On faster numbers, he has a seventies-era jazz-fusion buzz, while on "The fog is lifting" his tenderness is evident. PEGGY LATKOVICH / Rootsworld


Charming easiness

Graz. Playing an old Thrakian piece of music accelerated the perception. The Bulgarian accordeon player Peter Ralchev and the Hungarian cymbalon player Kalman Bálogh are perfoming a neck-breaking seven metrum on stage. Both these unique virtuosi inspired great fascination at the opening of the festival Balkan Jazz in Orpheum with their profound quartet. Here there is a melismatic czárdás, there you can listen to some artistic orient texture, sometimes jazzlike, sometimes soaked in gypsy blood. A balance of stupend technique and musical charisma ... Kleine Zeitung

The beginning of the GrazzJazz Festival in the Orpheum was a meeting of the accordeon player Peter Ralchev and the guitar player Ateshgan Yuseinov of the Bulgarian Zig Zag Trio with two Hungarian musicians. The cymbalon player Kálmán Baloghs is more than just some colour in the varied South-East European music landscape. Far away from Puszta clichees Balogh creates refined sounds with the Hungarian cymbalon but always acted in a varied way.

Already the first piece is turning common things upside down. Hungarian folklore combines with French musette, cosmopolitan gypsy swing with peasant dances from Bulgaria. Balogh calls this virtuous Balkan mix 'gypsy colours', which the fast Yuseinov accompanies with pearl-like sounds of India on the tambura. The versatile cimbalon can vibrate subtly like a glass harp, it dances the czardas elegantly, can sound quiet and melancholical but also harsh. With 'Black Sea' Ralchev contributes the maybe most exciting composition to the repertoire of the group which the cymbalon player attaches to the strings in a tornado. Darmstädter Echo

A Hungarian-Bulgarian quartet invited to a real music treat. In an extraordinary mixture of instruments and sounds the quartet combined the different folklore influences of the Balkan and also integrated some modern accents. A pleasure of a fascinating quality. The musicians pay a visit to the different music cultures. Pieces of Macedonean, Bulgarian, Hungarian or Romanian areas could be heard. The folklore influence is evident everywhere, however, it is always enriched with many facettes. Perfect ensemble playing, shining soli which possess a virtuous easiness as well as fascinating arrangments with surprising jazz quotations.

That Bálogh is an amazing musician can be seen from his playing and his movements. Sometimes he hammers on his instrument in a rapid speed, sometimes he gently plucks at the strings and actually strokes them. But then the sounds can be metallically strong and harsh, just to drift back into a meditative timbre at the next moment.

Similarly, the Bulgarian instrumentalist Ralchev is speeding over the keys of his accordeon. Virtuosity, rich harmonies and improvisation characterize his playing. He is not limited to the traditional songs but also contributes his own and wonderfully melodious compositions which witness an overbordering but also disciplined sound variety.

Especially in the playing together with Ateshan Yuseinov on the glass e-guitar a subtle and precisely tuned dialogue developed which could be full of temparament and impulsive but also poetic and plain. The Balkan project combines musicians of world class level. It is genial how the four individualists form a team, build bridges between the cultures and remove borders between the different styles.