What my father sang to me
In einer einmaligen Kombination aus Jazz, Volksmusik, klassischer Musik und Rock entwickeln Iva Bittová und Anıl Eraslan in „What my father sang to me“ bei der Vertonung alter europäischer Volkslieder ihren ganz eigenen Stil.
Ausgangspunkt sind dabei die Lieder, die Iva Bittová seit ihrer Kindheit aus dem Munde ihres Vaters gelernt hat und ihm nun als Geschenk zurückschickt. In ihre Erinnerungen an die Sommer auf dem Land in der Slowakei an der Grenze zu Ungarn mischen sich musikalische Einflüsse aus Volksliedvertonungen von Leoš Janáček und Béla Bartók. Mit Anıl Eraslan trifft sie auf einen der spannendsten improvisierenden Cellisten der Gegenwart. Gemeinsam werfen sie sich spielerisch Motive aus den alten Melodien zu und improvisieren über Verse aus den zugrunde liegenden Gedichten. So wird „What my father sang to me“ zu einer sehr persönlichen und berührenden Erinnerung an die Kindheit und die Eltern, aber auch Traditionen, Leidenschaften und Emotionen.
Open up the sky
von Iva Bittová
As the daughter of a Moravian mother (a teacher and singer) Lidmila Bittová and Slovakian father (who played various instruments) Koloman Bitto, this choice of songs came naturally: I would use melodies that my parents loved. This selection would offer me a chance to send back a „thankful gift“ to them for giving me such an amazing childhood.
During the totalitarian era in Czechoslovakia the Czech and Slovak languages were used in the media and spoken at home. Some of older people also spoke German. The official foreign language taught in school was Russian. Our relatives were spread out over the entire country and my favorite time was the visits each summer to the family on my father’s side. They lived in small village near the Hungarian border where many people enhanced their lives with playing music. Those summers, especially experiencing traditional
Moravian, Slovak, and Hungarian folk music, are reflected in my piece. After separation between Czech and Slovak Republic in 1993 many culture bonds perished and the younger generations were unable anymore to speak both languages. Every time that I go on tour in Slovakia, I feel as home and the audience gives me welcoming and appreciative response. I have been particularly inspired by the Moravian folk poetry in songs (Leoš Janáček) and Slovak songs (Béla Bartók), musical gems that areon the top of my repertoire.
Being part of a musical culture, not only as a musician but also as a listener, nourished my sense of being in tune with the earth. Every moment is a new vibration, a new resonation, new ideas and new messages to the universe. After all my educational experiences it is live
creative musical process that brings power to the planet.
When I was 20 my father, Koloman Bitto, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He could not exist anymore without music, playing his double-bass, cimbalom, trumpet, and other instruments. He died three years later and decided to follow his musical path. It is the best way for me to express myself, to communicate, to understand myself and others. It is a healing process just to work with the voice and violin and to practice every day. This musical language sometimes means more than our world, it could open “the sky”.
For many years, I have worked in range of musical styles, including jazz, rock, folk, classical and opera. Deciding on a label for my style of music is far from settled. Whatever it is, many listeners consider it original. It has always been everyday life that inspires my music and interpretations. Its inspiration has been total silence and an absolutely positive atmosphere. Those are the most important conditions and surroundings in which my ideas spring to life. I believe they have a significant impact on my music.
Nezabudka, modrý kvietok (Forget me not, skyblue flower) (Záhorie/Slovakia) in which I play with deep sadness: „Today I go, never to come back anymore,…“ is as a farewell, imagining my parents‘ love and father dying. The birds are singing at the end as always sing in our lives and we need to hear them.
Nezabudka, which means Forget me not, relates to this past, to my exhilarating childhood, unforgettable moments when hours of practicing the violin were so difficult and tears appears in my eyes onto my instrument; when growing up was suddenly the awareness
that sadness is not only a sad emotion but also deeply magical and beautiful. This osmosis circle is as a human and artistic wheel, which will never stop.
The melodies reminds us to keep connected with our childhood, parents, traditions, passions, and emotions; to learn how to stimulate and sublimate our dark moments in our lives and transforms every single little shiver of inspirations into art.
Song from Ukraine
uže ne hurkaješ,
no jak ty ot mene
A ja tebi daval,
što jes’ ot mja žadal,
otojty ty ot nas
ješče ne žaloval.
Što mni po majetku?
Ne choču nyč maty,
ked’ ja sja ne mohu
dnes’ ot nas otchodyš
naviky v hrob temnyj.
Otče moj i maty,
ne smutytes’ proto,
što vaš chlopec’ Ivanko
pošel ot vas nahlo.
I was inspired these days by melodies from the song book “ Hlasy predkov” written by Mikuláš Mušinka. There is such a connection from my childhood and also from school during totalism we have “only” opportunity in school to learn Russian language. I was happy to be member of choir and to sing Russian songs. It was for me way how to get closer to this culture. And now, during the war in Ukraine even more is important to understand political situation and help as much as we can to global situation! I am singing with urgent warning and asking people on our planet to be wise enough to live in PEACE!
This song is funeral children song.
Song from the north east of Slovakia
Kohútik jarabý, nechoď do záhrady,
polámeš ľaliu, potom ťa zabijú.
A keď ťa zabijú, tak ťa pochovajú,
do takej záhrady, kde ptáčci spievajú.
Kyjov is a village and municipality in Stará Ľubovňa District in the Prešov Region of northern Slovakia. This song “Kohútik jarabý” comes from this location. When I was a year old baby with my family we moved from North Moravia for few years to Prešov. My father got the contract at Ukrainian orchestra as a trumpet player and I learned this song as a first in my live.
Song from the north of Moravia
Dyž sem byla mamince na klíně
Hej na klíně Hej
Chodívali chlapci za mnú len v zimě
Enem v zimě Hej
A včíl dyž sem trochu větší pannú
Větší pannú Hej
Chodívají chlapci za mnú
Enem za mnú Hej
This folk tune “ Když jsem byla mamince na klíně “ („On my mother’s knee“) comes from Gruň, Beskydy -Moravian-Silesian Beskids. These are a series of mountain ranges in the Carpathians, stretching from the Czech Republic in the west along the border of Poland with Slovakia up to Ukraine in the east. The dialect of traditional song is slezština at location close to Poland. I was born in Bruntal and spent some years in Mnichov ( Einsiede, Mnichów) a small village close to Vrbno pod Pradědem. Later my family moved from Prešov to Opava. One day on my masterclass few years ago I heard that tune from my student for first time and I was immediately falling in love!
Song from Slovakia
Nezábudka, modrý kvietok,
Kvitne v lese pri vode.
Bárs som mladá, musím zomriet‘,
Láska mi je na vine.
A ked‘ umriem, ked odídem,
Čierna zem ma prikryje
Nech mi milý z nezábudiek, veniec na hrob uvije.
Dnes položíš, Ty moj milý,
Z nezábudiek pekný veniec na hrob moj.
Zaspomínaj na mladý čas,
aký krásný pre oboch nás vždy len bol.
Dnes odídem, viac neprídem,
už ma nikdy nečakaj,
Život končí, ale láska neodchádza, pamätaj.
Song from Ukraine
Javor, javor javoryna,
L’udy brešut’, ja ne vina.
Trava zelena, stojit’ nad vodov,
nebolyt’ ňa moje serce za Tobov.
Song from Slovakia
Čí to zvony zvoňá
Či orgóny hrajú
Či to ťe lieskovske
Zvony to nezvoňá
Ale to ťe lieskovske
Song from Slovakia
Omaně, Omaně, zelený Omaně
Nechoď k nám šuhajko
Lebo ma doma ně
Pridi mi šuhajko nemožem sa dočkat’
Zažiadalo sa mi
Tvoje ličko bozkat’
Hej ved’ je ve Vajčove, Omaně
jako máje ráné
This song is from Kysuce, a traditional informal name of a region in north-western Slovakia, situated around the Kysuca river and bordering the Orava region in the east, Poland in the north and the Czech Republic in the west. It consists of two districts: Čadca and
Kysucké Nové Mesto. The northern part is called the Čadecké region and is part of the Goral Lands. The region is surrounded by the numerous mountain ranges, for example Javorníky with the highest hill Veľký Javorník (1071m) in the west, the Moravian-Silesian Beskids.
Weddding song from Slovakia around Zvolen (town in central Slovakia)
Biela hus nad vodou
Plače dievča plače
Nad svojou slobodou