What my father sang to me


For „What my father sang to me“ Iva Bittová and Anıl Eraslan, setting old European folk songs to music, combine jazz, folk music, classical music and rock in a unique manner.

Their starting points are songs that Iva Bittová has learned from her father since childhood; today, she sings them back to him. Her memories of summers in the countryside of Slovakia on the border with Hungary are mixed with musical influences from folk song settings by Leoš Janáček and Béla Bartók. Her companion Anıl Eraslan is one of today’s most exciting improvising cellists. Together, they toss around motifs from the old melodies and improvise over verses from the underlying poems. What my Father sang to me thus becomes a personal and touching memoir of her childhood and parents, as well as of traditions, passions and emotions.

„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.“
Iva Bittová

Open up the sky

by 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 are at 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".

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Song from Ukraine

Holube, holube,
uže ne hurkaješ,
no jak ty ot mene
skoro otlitaješ.
A ja tebi daval,
što jes' ot mja žadal,
otojty ty ot nas
ješče ne žaloval.


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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.



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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

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Modry Kvietok

Song from Slovakia

Nezábudka, modrý kvietok,
Kvitne v lese pri vode.
Bárs som mladá, musím zomriet',
Láska mi je na vine.

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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
ďoučata spievajú

Zvony to nezvoňá
orgóny nehrajú
Ale to ťe lieskovske
ďoučata spievajú


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
Vajčovské dievčata,
jako máje ráné

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Weddding song from Slovakia around Zvolen (town in central Slovakia)

Lietala galala
Biela hus nad vodou
Plače dievča plače
Nad svojou slobodou

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