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Niskende Tewtär

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Niskende Tewtär concert in Margaret Island, in Budapest, 1988

Niskende Tewtär were an Hungarian band active from 1987 to 1990 in Budapest. It was established by Attila Kalóczkai and Sándor Vály, who were later joined by other members for varying amounts of time.

Initially, their experimental music was based on whistles, samplers, string bass guitar and singing, with the later addition of drums. The name means ’Virgin Mary’ in the Mordovian mythology. The band's members learned about Asian mythology and shamanism, reading many books about them, which informed their songs and lyrics. The worlds which opened to them in these texts closely connected to the expressive power of their personal life. This was a sort of poetry and rhythm that they wanted to adapt to their everyday life, and which they saw as necessary for their mental health.

The band never made a demo album and rarely held concerts, but they appeared in the legendary scenes of alternative music - the Közgáz Klub (a club at the Karl Marx University) and the Fekete Lyuk.

Their most interesting concert was held in a chapel of a psychiatric hospital where one of the members worked. This event was connected to Sándor Vály’s art exhibition. Their audience was mainly university students but punks, intellectuals, artists, and some satanists appeared, too.

Sándor Vály recalls that the rock and pop music of the 1970/80s did not attract him and his group. He saw that a new generation gained awareness and new thoughts, feelings, and life desires were born that could not be expressed by the contemporary mainstream music nor in its form or its content. This was frightening for these teenagers. He was not spiritually or emotionally impressed until when one of his friends brought him to a Vágtázó Halottkémek (VHK) concert. Then he felt he found the language in which he could express everything that was inside him. This "found language" became part of his identity and strengthened his responsiveness to music and the desire for playing music.

Punk opened the door for him and his fellows who did not study professional music. Plenty of bands were established: the majority of them were short-lived, others created enduring values. Playing music formed communities and music was the tool of expression and representation for them. This frustrated generation was encouraged by punk music as the abstract channel of creativity. This was what they listened to but also what they created.

Niskende Tewtär concert in Margaret Island, in Budapest, 1988

Niskende Tewärt were interested in the combination between Hungarian and Eastern folk music motifs with punk and hardcore. They did not deal deeply with politics - yet, they had some problems with the system just like almost every young person at that time. They felt that such music directions as VHK's or Niskende's were able to motivate a generation that sought their identity in a different way than society offered or forced. In this way, they wanted to give creative direction and energy to their wildness and instincts.

Numerous reasons stood behind the disbanding of the Niskende Tewtär: compulsory military service, marriages, and members moving abroad.

Niskende Tewtär concert in Margaret Island, in Budapest, 1988

The internal demand for self-documentation or archiving did not feature these kinds of music bands. In general, the press did not deal with alternative groups if they did not go into scandals.

They were mentioned only in one interview with one of the members of VHK, Attila Grandpierre in 1988. He said that there was plenty of genuine, moreover in some cases world-class production in the Hungarian punk and hard-core scene which did not simply copy Western music but created some new and unique. In his opinion, Niskend Tewärt was one of these creative communities.

Niskende Tewtär concert in Margaret Island, in Budapest, 1988

Members

  • Attila Zsámán – song
  • Attila Kalóczkai – song, whistles
  • Sándor Vály – bass guitar, song
  • Viktor Csányi – drums
  • Imre Zoltán Apró – solo guitar
  • Károly Ludvigh – whistled
  • Zoltán Márkus – kettledrum
  • György Horváth – solo guitar
  • Vali Fekete – song, dance

This profile is based on an interview with Sándor Vály via e-mail. Photos were taken on a concert in Margaret Island, in Budapest, in 1988. (in Sándor Vály’s property).