Hungarian folk and world music singer Iren Lovasz discovers churches as favourite concert venues

Iren Lovasz

The Hungarian Folk singer Iren Lovasz has been giving a series of concerts in Saint Stephen's Basilica in Budapest and in several ancient churches around Hungary. A folk singer at the very beginning of her career, Iren then made her name as a performer of world music. She's a mother of 3 and has a world music group, but sacred music is now her main focus. Gyorgyi Jakobi asked Iren Lovasz - why sacred music:

Iren Lovasz
"It has a wonderful and special atmosphere. The entire architecture gives a special energy and surrounding for the voice that inspires singers. So, it was really a special occasion. It was totally different than singing in an artificial studio."

What made you start singing in churches?

"I try to find the most original sound and the most original way of performing the songs with reverb. I want it to be the real basilica or cathedral type of sound."

What sort of songs do you sing now?

"The songs are mostly ancient Hungarian sacred songs that were preserved in the vernacular for centuries and mostly in the most archaic parts of the Hungarian population - Hungarian communities in Transylvania or Moldavia. But we have also gathered some very nice parallels from the medieval European tradition, like Catalonian or Italian lauders. So this is the main topic - sacred tradition, sacred voice."

And the accompaniment?

"The accompaniment is also very pure. Purity is the key word. Three male singers are accompanying me and one flutist, who plays on traditional and so-called primitive peasant flutes. We also use some medieval harp."

In an earlier chapter of your career, you enjoyed popularity with your world music songs. What happened to them?

"I also sing different world music settings and accompaniments. My previous CD, which is called Closed Doors, was also performed by my world music orchestra with the synthesiser, base guitar, saxophone, bag pipe and percussion, so it's also part of my repertoire. But this new CD of mine, I had a dream one year ago that I would gather all my songs that are somehow typical of my previous singing career under the umbrella of Healing Voice, which is the main topic of my new four CD project. Sacred Voice is the first, the second is called Female Voice, third is Inner Voice, and the last is Healing Voice. It's a long-term project of at least five years but that would depend on many things like energy, creativity, my colleagues, and money."