Video: Expats Sing Local Tune To Salute Hungary As Their Home During Lockdown

  • 19 May 2020 10:57 AM
Video: Expats Sing Local Tune To Salute Hungary As Their Home During Lockdown
The expat team from KaraokePlus Budapest recently made a video-mosaic cover of Gábor Presser's famous tune "Neked irom a dalt" (I write a song for you) to salute Hungary as home away from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

What was the motivation for the initiative?

As a group of foreigners living in Hungary we aimed to express our solidarity with our Hungarian friends, colleagues, neighbours, and hosts, with whom we are going through difficult times together.

This crisis is a struggle for many, and we hope that such a gesture can lift some spirits, and show our gratitude.

We also want to show that Hungary is colourful and diverse place, which draws from the skills and personalities of many – and that it is important, particularly in difficult times, for us to stick together.

How was the idea born?

Edit had the initial idea. As a Hungarian teacher she is convinced that learning a language can be well supported by singing, in that new language. When her German student Julia wanted to learn this particular song, the idea developed that maybe other foreigners could sing it as well.

Where are the expats from in the 'choir'?

The singers are all non-Hungarians who work and live in Hungary, or for other reasons were in Hungary during the lock-down. We have participants from Turkey, Pakistan, India, USA, Germany, France, Italy, Slovakia, Serbia and Poland. In addition, a young Hungarian born son of one of the participants got to sing a couple of lines.

All age groups and people from many backgrounds are represented – while some are professional singers, vocal coach or artists, others work in business and service sectors.

How did they all get involved with the project?

When the idea was born, Edit and Julia reached out to their friends Clive and Alexandra, who conduct regular Karaoke events in Budapest, with Alexandra being a professional opera singer and vocal coach.

Soon, they gathered more people through their network of international friends in Hungary and also by posting in relevant social media groups.

It turned out that Erdinç, who frequently works on his own guitar and singing projects, would be responsible for the audio mixing, and one of Clive’s friends in the US who is a keen travellerto Hungary, Jeremy, volunteered to do the video cutting. Everything was arranged remotely, by use of social media.

Which challenges did you have to overcome?

Probably all of us realised that singing in a foreign language can be quite a challenge!

Learning the words, and getting the pronunciation right with the correct syllables in the right timing... At times, some technical challenges came up, transferring large files without compromising quality, getting all formats in sync etc.

For sure our sound and video editors had some sleepless nights. And another thing: as motivated as we were to deliver a beautiful message publicly, there were of course doubts about how our audience would perceive the project.

We understood the possibility of negative responses –but we took the risk to expose ourselves regardless. It is a great feeling to now experience the first reactions: they are mostly happy, thankful, and heart-warmingly positive!

It may interest readers to know that Gábor Presser shared the video on his Facebook page.

Ed: Readers may also be interest in this video featuring the British Ambassador leading an 'expat choir' at the most recent Xpat Charity Gala - an annual event organised by which raises funds for Hungarian charities.  

Where do you plan to go from here? - Is the next project already in the pipeline?

We can definitely say that we enjoyed working as a team, and the project got some of us closer together and maybe established some new friendships. And we cannot wait to actually meet in person once the contact restrictions are eased.

Future musical collaborations could evolve from this. Be sure we will let you know once the next project comes up!

Voice of Participants:

“Personally, I am all the time chasing music projects and I am happy to collaborate on great ideas and to take on such opportunities. I have a very diverse network of people with different nationalities in my surroundings. This project reflects my point of view on the world – which is: we are all one, no matter where we are from.

I wanted to contribute to this message with this project. Even though separated in reality, we were collaborating by our best knowledge and possibilities. I loved seeing the different accents, colours of the voices, and people, and this s exactly one of the first positive responses that I got on the video after the release as well.”
Gabriella Karvák

“Personally I was very happy to accept the challenge. I speak 5 languages and a little bit of Hungarian. I learned all of them also thanks to the help of songs. It is beautiful when I listen to a song and I can hear where a word finishes and another one starts.

This means to me I am getting into the rhythm of the language, even if I rationally might sometimes not understand the words yet. Automatically. So I was very happy to challenge myself, and I got more and more near the heart of the place where I live.”
Vic Robinson

Participants include:

1 Clive Wilton
2 Dorota Kurzelewska
3 Anna Berzsenyi
4 Vic Bargero Robinson – Visual artist, artist
5 Erdinç Çakır
6 Denae Rae
7 Zuzana Kaprinay – AP
8 Ahmed Khan
9 Alexandra Ivanoff –Voice coach
10 Gabriella Karvák – Singer
11 Léo Pád –Motivator
12 Jesse Smith
13 Şeref Konba

Video credits:

Music Engineer: Erdinç Cakir (Turkey)
Video Engineer: Jeremy Hanberry (USA)

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