The word Dutar means simply two strings, and is used to describe those two-stringed instruments which, when touched by a gifted hand, can play rich and beautiful melodies. The name also suits our group quite well, symbolising as it does the harmonious convergence of two committed musicians; the joining of two separate pasts on a shared musical path. The idea first came in 2004. It is the first time Renáta has been involved in a musical project since a recording in 1996 (Új élő népzene 1.), but music has been an ever-present part of her daily life since childhood. She has worked as a textile artist and as a teacher of art and history of art. Péter also works as a teacher, and music is an integral part of his life, just as it is for Reni. Forming Dutar has brought new opportunities to both musicians.
The songs had been there for years, waiting for a voice to breathe life into them. Renáta’s voice does that, and yet so much more: the special qualities of her voice and delivery have played a central role in shaping the group’s evolving repertoire. One of the main strengths of the group is Renáta’s own dual-identity. She brings authenticity not only to each Hungarian folk song and verse the group performs, but also to each of the gems of Lovári musical folklore and literature that she sings. It is also worth playing even the best-known songs, just for the pleasure of hearing her voice sing them. The same is true of the Lovári songs, which elsewhere are usually sung by a gruff male voice.
Reni’s sensitivity and style lend these songs grandeur and elegance. The other main strength of the group is Péter’s songwriting, which complements both the group’s musical heritage and the strengths of its vocalist. His devotion to putting poetry to music is as important a feature of his craft as his performance of existing folk songs and folk music. The final versions of the songs are a result of the free collaboration of the two musicians, as well as the important contribution of guest musicians.
The group’s repertoire can be divided into two main groups: firstly renditions of folk songs and further interpretations of folk music (mainly Moldvai and Lovári), and then musical interpretation of verse for vocal performance. At the Kaleidoszkóp Festival of Verse in 2005 the group won the Kaleidoszkóp Prize in the category of musical interpretation of verse. In 2006 they were included in the Jury’s Choice of the Budapest Fringe Festival. The following year at the same festival they were awarded the Profession’s Prize.
The group performs its constantly-growing repertoire in the following ways:
As a duo or trio
This line-up plays mainly folk music and verse put to music. In addition to the vocals, traditional folk instruments (string and wind) are put to prominent use. Hungarian and Lovári folk songs, ballads, and verse put to music are all performed, with the instrumental accompaniment deferring to Reni’s exciting delivery in some places, in others playing a more equal role. In either case, it is an unforgettable experience for the audience.
As a quartet or quintet
Here Reni’s vocals can benefit from colourful orchestral accompaniment. The folk wind-solos really ring out when played by several instruments, while the variety of the performance is compounded in the form of solos played by different instruments. The instrumental numbers feature traditional dance melodies. The elements of free improvisation associated with the group’s duets are also included.
Web Resource: DUTAR Ensemble