The only Australian Gypsy band to perform in the traditional Romanes language Lolo Lovina are celebrating their tenth anniversary with a slew of international performances, including Sydney's world-famous The Basement on 26 August.
Fronted by Australian born Hungarian Romani-Gypsy singer Sarah Bedak, Lolo Lovina (-Red Beer') is an intoxicating brew of Swing, Heavy Metal and Balkan Gypsy beats. With traditional Romanian tunes and covers with a quirky bent, the band have sold-out houses at the Sydney Opera House, Brisbane Festival's Spiegeltent, VIVID Sydney, Guca Festival Serbia, in New Caledonia, Macau, and across Eastern and Western Europe.
Featuring Sarah Bedak on vocals, Nenad Radic on drums, David Carr on guitar, Nathan Gatt on double bass and Stefan Nocevski on trumpet, Lolo Lovina are the voice of gypsy music in Australia with their unique musical fusion and infectious theatrical performance style.
Lolo Lovina`s music reflects the cosmopolitan identity of Sarah Bedak, who grew up with three native tongues and cultures, and inherited her Hungarian Gypsy father's passion for music. After an Australian Council funded trip to Budapest and Serbian Gypsy villages, Sarah found her authentic voice for one of the most margenalised, oppressed and poor people in the world. With no political voice, no homeland and no army, her artistry is inspired by a totally different way of living rooted in spontaneity and spirituality.
Celebrate Lolo Lovina in their tenth year at The Basement 26 August in Sydney and Django Bar on 1 October before they dazzle New Zealand at the Nelson Arts Festival and New Zealand's own Speigeltent.
Saturday 26 August 2017, 7:30pm
The Basement, Sydney - 29 Reiby Pl, Sydney NSW 2000
Question: How would you describe Lolo Lovina's music?
Sarah Bedak: Infectious, intoxicating, fun, exciting, exotic and passionate! Glenn A Baker describes us like this: "To say the sound is infectious doesn't quite express it. They have people of all ages (and believe me, I saw it) hurling themselves through the air, across the dance floor, inventing moves on the spot, hugging each other with a passion - all with a look of goofy abandon plastered across their faces. I've seen bands of all shade play… but I can't recall seeing anything quite like this".
Question: Where do you find your influences when creating music?
Sarah Bedak: My husband and I are both proudly Romani (ethnic Gypsy) We are mainly influenced by music of our culture so all our tunes have roots here. We are fans of all good music, so you'll hear influences from heavy metal, swing jazz, 60s British pop, Tango and more.
Question: How did your family and childhood influence this genre?
Sarah Bedak: My father Rigo was Romani Gypsy from Budapest, Hungary. He escaped during an independence uprising against the Communist Russians in 1956. 90 young men stole onto a train one night headed out of Hungary. Only 40 survived. Rigo lived his life with a bullet graze on his forehead. As luck would have it, he made it all the way to Australia. He met a wonderful woman in Sydney, went to a jewellery shop to buy her an engagement ring…and it was there that he met my mother! My father would play me music from his father and his father before him who were all Hungarian Gypsy Violinists. I think his longing to be home again mixed with the energy and passion in the music, mixed with a good dose of my own DNA had me hooked from an early age. (Rigo didn't contact his mum for 30 years for fear that she would be interrogated. The last thing he said to her before he left Hungary was -I'm just going to buy milk' ).
Question: What can we expect from the upcoming performances?
Sarah Bedak: 26th of August at Sydney's premier music venue, The Basement. Tickets available on Moshtix.
Question: Which is your favourite song to perform live and why?
Sarah Bedak: Oh what a great question! We do a highly unique version of the Rollings Stones 'Paint it Black'. Our arrangement has a trick beginning ..I love seeing the faces in the audience when they realise what we are playing. I really enjoy interpreting the lyrics of this song as they are quite dark and evocative. Ours is a super high energy dance version, so many fab dance moves happen out on the floor. We then we do a trick ending .. I adore seeing seeing the audience not really sure if the song is over or not!
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Sarah Bedak: They are vastly different, almost opposite processes, so it's hard to say! The last recording session I did my husband Nenad Radic was the technician (he's also our drummer) We ended up arguing, I had a bit of a tantrum, was in tears and then we sorted it all out, there were lots of hugs, a lot of talking and the end result sounded amazing! Its cathartic and exposes every little thing. It's something that represents you forever to the world so everything is magnified.. Live shows on the other hand remind me of Tibetan Sand Mandalas.. you create the most intricately gorgeous thing that takes years and years of refining, practice and perfecting…and it all disappear into thin air in that instant. And that is just SO very much fun !
Question: What is the story behind the name, Lolo Lovina?
Sarah Bedak: In Romanes or the Gypsy language, Lolo means -Red' and Lovina means -Beer'. Red represents all the things I love; wine, strawberries, fire, passion… and beers pretty awesome too!
Question: How did the band come together?
Sarah Bedak: I put one tiny wee advert in a street press magazine and miraculously only the most amazing musicians replied..all of them playing different and complementary instruments. It was quite a blessing! We clicked both personally and musically straight away and started getting great gigs pretty much from our first show. This was 10 years ago, members have come and gone and are always replaced by ever gorgeous musicians and people who contribute incredible virtuosity and style to the band
Question: Which music/artists are you currently listening to?
Sarah Bedak: Roby Lakatos and Ion Miu
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Sarah Bedak: Google my response to the above question!
Interview by Brooke Hunter