Katalin Burns is a singer and musician with a unique background of making fusion of various traditional vocal traditional techniques from across the globe with her own vocals. She has also learned these vocal techniques and through her band called Hajna, charmed audiences at various regional festivals and TV shows. Katalin sings songs from Hungary, Siberia, subcontinent, the Caucasus, Romania, etc. in their own language or with her own lyrics, occasionally in a storytelling manner.
The Diplomatic Insight arranged an exclusive talk with Ms.Katalin Burns and we are producing of excerpts from her interview.
Q: Tell us about your background and professional training?
Ms. Burns: I am basically a musician, fiction and short story writer along with this I am also working as a journalist in one of the newspaper in Budapest. My career in music is not that old but still has been able to create a mark in the circle because of my originality and new idea of making fusion between east and west. I have been listening to various singers and there CDs for quite some time. I have developed my own style of singing the songs from various vocal techniques from around the world including subcontinent, Siberia, Caucasus, Romania and other countries. I am here in Pakistan to sing traditional folk songs by two famous singers of the local traditional musicians Mr Suraj and Mr Chand. I use music as a medium to share thoughts and experience because I believe that music has a universal language and it connects between people of various cultures together like even being thousands of kilometers away from each other, Hungarian and Pakistani music and broadly the Music in the subcontinent has a quite long history and have various similarities as well.
Q: Tell us about your band Hanjna?
Ms. Burns: We started out as a group playing folk dance music, mainly Hungarian Csango. In this band, with these particular musicians I play and sing tunes that have been on my mind for a long time. The songs are lullabies, ballads or rituals in Hungarian, which, with my additional words, I have turned into tales. Other songs I sing in various Finno-Ugric or Turkic languages. Gergo and Gabor have been extremely helpful in creating a special atmosphere for these songs and instrumental pieces.
Q: Who do you consider your inspiration in music and is there anybody else in the family who is involved in music as well?
Ms. Burns: I have not been inspired from anybody but learnt a lot from various singers and their singing. In my family, like my parents and siblings, they do not have any background of music or related arts. I, although, see my seven year old daughter to become an artists in future
Q: Tell us more about this tremendous concert of fusion here in Islamabad, where you performed with traditional musicians? What was the idea behind this and how did you came across with these musicians?
Ms. Burns: I met one of the co-stars of this concert in Hungary in 2010, where he came over to attend a workshop. I was journalist and reporting that workshop and also that his concert there as well. We shared this idea of doing a combined concert in Pakistan on the shape that we did here in Islamabad. We are grateful to the Hungarian Embassy in Islamabad in collaboration with Turkish Airlines, MOL Pakistan, Marriott Hotel and Mausikaar Foundation for their generous support for this concert to happen. This concert is first of its eve happened in Pakistan to extend cooperation on culture between both the countries as an excellent instrument in developing an even better understanding between our two nations and in strengthening the already strong and friendly ties between our two countries.
Q: It is your first time here in Pakistan, what is your experience here and how do you like it? And tell us that is the image that you see of Pakistan in international media is different from the one that you have experienced?
Ms. Burns: Yes, this is my first time and I am thrilled by the hospitality and love of the people of Pakistan. I can really say that the International media always portrays a very negative image of Pakistan while I found Pakistan as a peaceful and serene country where people are hardworking and passionate about whatever they are doing.
Q: What are your future plans?
Ms. Burns: This was such a wonderful experience that I really wanted to continue coming to Pakistan and do various concert of this nature in the future as well. But these kinds events do need support and help from the organizations and sponsors.
Exclusively for The Diplomatic Insight.