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NEWS MEDLEY live: Women’s Choir of Kartal & SIrens of Varsány

city walk / performance in public space – a collaboration between Alicja Rogalska (PL), Katalin Erdődi, Réka Annus, the Women’s Choir of Kartal and the SIrens of Varsány Choir

In cooperation with OFF-Biennale Budapest.

If the media does not report on the reality of the countryside and villages, then someone else must take over. Initiated as part of OFF-Biennale Budapest, NEWS MEDLEY is a collaboration between Polish visual artist Alicja Rogalska, curator Katalin Erdődi and folk singer Réka Annus, who worked together with the Women’s Choir of Kartal to talk about the challenges of rural life and the experiences of women from different generations in the form of collectively re-written folk songs. The aim of the collaborative artistic process was to re-imagine and update songs from the folk choir’s repertoire, so that the new lyrics address the actual situation and lived realities of the choir members, focusing on the topics they consider important.

In times of polemic changes in Hungary’s media landscape and the government’s increasingly centralized information politics, NEWS MEDLEY experiments with folk songs as a form of grassroots ‘community broadcasting’, amplifying a heterogeneity of voices. Drawing on women’s experiences, NEWS MEDLEY not only offers a plurivocal and subjective reading of recent events, but also brings to the fore issues such as the burdens of ‘invisible’ female work, and insists on the publicness of struggles around marriage and family life, which are often relegated to the private realm.

Presented at the OFF-Biennale as a video work, the Women’s Choir of Kartal will perform NEWS MEDLEY live for the first time as part of PLACCC Festival, in the form of a city walk and performance in public space created in collaboration with the Budapest-basedfeminist choir SIrens of Varsány. During the walk, the folk songs of NEWS MEDLEY enter into dialogue with the pop songs, hits and poems compiled and performed by the SIrens of Varsány, who were inspired by the lyrics of NEWS MEDLEY to reflect on their own experiences and personal histories, thus creating their own medley in response to the songs of the Women’s Choir of Kartal.

Starting from the former headquarters of the Hungarian Radio, the walk guides the audience through downtown locations and public spaces, where the two choirs sing about women’s experiences with humour and insight, both entangling and juxtaposing pop and folk culture as well as the challenges of urban and rural life. 

In Hungarian and English. Bilingual translation of the lyrics offered on site.

Concept and dramaturgy: Katalin Erdődi and Alicja Rogalska, in collaboration with Réka Annus and Laura Szári
Performed by: Women’s Choir of Kartal and SIrens of Varsány Choir
Choir leaders: Laura Szári (SIrens of Varsány), Domonkos Volter (Women’s Choir of Kartal)
Project assistance: Dominika Drótos, Szabolcs Vida

3 September 2021, 6 PM
5 September 2021, 4 PM

Meeting point: in front of the former headquarters of the Hungarian Radio, entrance area (1088 Budapest, Pollack Mihály tér 4-6.)

Further dates: 2 and 3 October 2021
As part of Budapest Autumn Festival

Length of the performance-walk: approx. 90 minutes

Comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing recommended, the walk will be partly outdoors. 

Free entrance, please register here: 

More about the artistic collaboration NEWS MEDLEY:

Supported by: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum Budapest, Austrian Federal Ministry for the Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sport

A co-production of OFF-Biennale Budapest and Art At Work Association (Vienna).