Harmonia release Hidden Legacy, their latest album on Folk Sounds Records, on May 22nd. This group from Cleveland is well versed in the traditional folk music of Eastern Europe, ranging from the Danube to the Carpathians. Hungarian, Slovakian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian and Gypsy traditions are represented in Harmonia’s beautiful music played on authentic instruments. Styled after turn of the century East-European Gypsy bands, Harmonia’s musicians have performed in many settings, from Carnegie Hall to community balls. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many talented musicians migrated from Eastern Europe to the United States. They came with a passion for keeping traditional music alive and have succeeded in cities such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Chicago. Alexander Fedoriouk, who plays cimbalom in the band, notes that little has changed in the music that Harmonia perform.
“Someone writes a pop tune and it’s gone. But this music is still with us and still popular. You could have heard the music on the album, the music we perform, centuries ago. We put our little twist on things, but the core, the root remains the same.” – Alexander Fedoriouk
Harmonia uses instruments as varied as accordion, upright bass, violin, panflute, and cimbalom (the East-European 125 string hammered dulcimer). On Hidden Legacy, Harmonia even incorporate a six-foot-long shepherd’s flute into their music. The band is lead by their founder, Walt Mahovlich, who plays accordion. Joining him are Alexander Fedoriouk (cimbalom), Beata Begeniova (vocals), Steven Greenman (violin), Jozef Janis (violin), Andrei Pidkivka (nai & sopilka), Branislav Brinarsky (bass, fujara, gajdice, vocals), and Ken Javor (bass). The musicians come from different Eastern European backgrounds and are all accomplished performers. Hidden Legacy takes listeners on a journey behind the unmarked doors of halls and churches, down into the basements where traditions are kept alive with music and dance. Check out a video of Harmonia playing “Kolomyjka” on Baltimore TV below. Celebrate a legacy of Eastern European culture and pick up Harmonia’s latest effort at your local record store.