(updated 08 September 2010) The Hungarian vocalist Fanni Völgyessy Szomor was one of Musical Discoveries' first featured artists. Her crystalline voice captivated audiences of You And I when she was the lead singer in the Hungarian progressive rock broup. Equally comfortable singing in a broad range of styles, she performs sensitive ballads, highly accessible almost-pop numbers, AOR and moving progressive rockers.
Initially influenced by Yes and secular themes, her music has evolved with and outside of You And I. Our original feature on the singer's recording focused on her debut solo album and two albums done as the lead vocalist for the progressive rock group You And I. A review of her solo project Tündér Rózsa was accompanied by an exclusive interview in 2003. Sadly You And I called it a day after their Exit album (review).
Fanni's most recent album is a 22-track live performance recorded in February 2004 entitled Szerelem Emleke. Sung parts are separated by lovely narration. The material is performed in her native tongue atop light acoustic instrumental arrangements. The 54-minute thematically produced project can be best characterized as folk or new age music, but it includes selections from her solo material, You And I classics and a stunning cover of Enya's "Evening Falls."
Fanni's vocal work is completely crystalline. She is joined on the album by two former You And I members Dorogi Károly (bass) and Gálantai Zsolt (guitar) as well as Koblicska Löte (narration), Pejtsik Péter (cello); Takács Márton (percussion) and Varallyay György (keyboards). Readers should note that Hungarian names are written with the first name appearing last. Familiar tracks are arranged similarly to Fanni's debut album or the You And I projects. The other songs are sparsely arranged, largely sung atop percussion or with cello and percussion. She says, "I sing folk, rock, pop, in Hungarian and in English. This is ME!"
Fanni told us, "This summer I made a new concert program on my own. It contains a movie as well, wich means that while I am singing the audiance can watch the film witch completes a little bit the music and the songs." Perhaps explaining the texture of this latest release, she said, "The places where I go are really poor, so I can not afford a band to play with me in live." She concluded, "This is the East. I am still organising my concert, without a manager so instead of singing I am sitting front of this laptop all day long." She told us that she doesn't really like that part much at all.
Promotional Single. Fanni won the Mozaïque Songfestival Den Haag (website) in 2009 and received a professional release of her songs on a single entitled "Jöjj El Fény / Like A Dream." The enhanced CD includes bonus material, including a video recorded live at the festival that will play on most multimedia computers. Fanni told us, "I made a film added to my music, not just a 55-minute videoclip but to show more what I would like to say through my songs." She is planning to travel and visit the Hungarian communities in Europe. She said, "I woulnd't mind finding someone that could help me with this." The single includes music and Hungarian lyrics by Károly Dorogi (You And I) arranged. It was produced and mixed by Péter Pejtsik. Fanni is credited with the English lyrics. The two versions of this song are stunning. The recording is masterfully arranged and hopefully indicates the direction Fanni is headed in her new full length release.
Fanni has recently updated her website. There are new photos, samples of her recent recordings, including tracks from Szerelem Eemléke and an updated artist biography. When we asked Fanni about her plans for the future she told us, "My plan is to go through Europe visiting Hungarian clubs, churches and giving concerts with the film together." She also told us, "I am organizing a little concert for a few American friends. It would be nice to fly over."
Fanni is also working on a new album. When we asked about progress, she said, "Actually my songs are not complete. I would like to make a CD with the concert program on it." She says, "I didn't start it yet, so in this moment I just have the music and I am singing live." The performance must be similar to this live album. She said, "I worked with three musicians. We play word music with cello, piano and percussion." She loves it, but "Nowadays I can just have one big concert with them around Christmas." She says, "The rest is with this film. Like this, I can organize my concert much easier." The other musicians are often too busy to tour with Fanni. She says, "Life goes so fast, so we just have to love and take care of each other." This is the motto of her new film.
Concert Album. The tension in Szerelem Eemléke album builds across the running time. There is an initial release in the dramatically performed song "Utorirat." The warm yet melancholy Enyaesque texture of "Smaointe" works to perfectly bookend Fanni's stunning rendition of "Evening Falls."
The concert's last song "Nincsen Kedvem" is stripped right back, sung a capella. It most clearly illustrates the crystalline texture and tremendous power of Fanni's voice. Drawing an ovation, Fanni returns to perform "Utazas" as her encore. Backed with keyboard and percussion, this familiar track is performed flawlessly and has been produced with outstanding quality as the album's closing number.
Our editorial staff pushed to have one of Fanni's new songs on our Syrenes compilation but were unsuccessful convincing the other partners. Based on the four demos posted at her website for the world to hear, Fanni's new project promises to be very exciting and we look forward to it.