Interview with the Slovakian singer Andrea Bucko
about her third album Polarity, Bratislava, 2015
With her studio album « Polarity », which is her second, the Slovak singer Andrea Bucko recorded in Bratislava and signed in 2015 an opus which dark cover illustrates perfectly the great mastery this young multitalented artist acquired in the expression of lyrical feelings.
The album includes 10 songs and a bonus (a second version of the same song), 9 in English and 1 in Slovak, Pupava, the n°3, which, listening after listening, became my favourite. Andrea Bucko signed 9 of the lyrics and interpreted “I remember” from Emily Dickinson in two versions, the tracks n° 6 and 11 (the bonus).
It begins with an enigmatic song called Strange Love, which lasts only 53 seconds and gives all the impression and feelings in only two sentences and a delicate solo piano melody. But this is only an introduction to a more robust song called “Say sorry” which, this time, takes an accusatory tone towards the other, the One, the beloved or the hated.
In this dark-brilliant set of songs, the poetess always says “I” and assumes to claim a personal relation, happy or unhappy, just sad or more sombre, in the narrative, at each song. The n°3 Pupava, Dandelion in Slovak, demonstrates a very dark and tragic, intense tone in a style inspired by classical music. At the opposite, the very appealing and electronic song track n°9, Be my lover, with its refrain, “Don’t be afraid to be my lover” adds a humoristic and ironic dimension to her register which is very welcome in the album.
Be my lover
But solo piano or orchestrated with a more complex formation, all the songs show an interesting variety of feelings and a beautiful palette of sensitivity, which feed the lust for listening in the coming years yet more new opuses of the same quality from this brilliant representative of the new Slovak song who is ready to share her repertoire between her very musical native language, Slovak, and great international languages like English and maybe French, to conquer other publics around Europe.
As Andrea Bucko kindly accepted to grant an interview to The Multilayered European, we welcome her on these columns and we shall ask her more about her and the team around her.
- The Multilayered European : Miss Bucko, you are a piano or keyboard player, a singer but also you write the lyrics and the music. Can you tell us more about the main steps which brought you to such a level of formal achievement?
Andrea Bucko : Since my very early childhood I was attracted to the piano. I can say it was my most favourite “toy”. Very soon I started to compose my first songs with my own invented language. As my mother is a musician too, it was natural to apply for piano lessons. Unfortunately, as I was also very interested in dancing and singing and had many “after school” activities, I decided to finish just basic piano cycle. That´s why I don´t consider myself as a real piano player. Most of the time I play just my songs where what is important is specific feeling more than practical skills. That´s how I work also with lyrics and music – poems, notes come naturally from this feeling, from somewhere deep inside of me.
(source : by courtesy of Pavol Gemeiner)
- TME : Polarity is a studio album which sound, when you sing in solo piano or in a multi-tracks electronic arrangement, is always highly accomplished. Adam Kuruc plays a major role in the quality of the sound?
A.B. : Adam Kuruc is the producer of my album Polarity. It means he led me in the studio while he was recording my work. He also did some arranges for my songs and recorded some piano parts. He helped me to open myself and bring the expression to my songs that everybody will understand regardless of a language barrier. And yes, he also worked a lot on the special sound of our work, even though the last master was done by another person- Marek Šurin.
- TME : In Polarity, you chose to sing mainly in English, turning yourself towards the international audience. But, you still assume to be a Slovakian singer. How do you see, rule and manage the principle to have a double career, in your native language for your national public and in international languages for a European public to conquer?
A.B. : For me the music itself is an international language with which I can perform anywhere. I sing in Slovak, English and recently I started also in French and sometimes I invent my own language. When I sing in my country, of course, I try to choose most of the songs in Slovak, though I have to admit, I have much more songs in English. It´s because English is a more melodic language and it´s easier for me to adapt my compositions to it. In my case, the music and the feeling of a song come first. Lyrics is usually a second step. Everything depends on how the melody was composed and whether the story of the song is connected with international topics or with my country. Anyway I can imagine my career as well abroad as at home, because language is not the main message I present. Everything is hidden in the music and my expression which I believe is understandable for every sensitive person.
- TME : in a century, the Slovakian culture came through many political constructions, from the Austro-Hungarian empire to the national unity under the Republic and the joining of the EU. How do you place your generation and yourself regarding the national culture, the feeding in the traditional roots and what it brings to you?
A.B. : In the last 100 years Slovakia changed many times. Of course it influenced our culture a lot, but mainly in ideological political way. When I look at our culture from the musical side, I really feel connected with my roots. I feel that my music is sometimes strongly influenced by our folk songs. I subconsciously use it even in songs written in English and that´s exactly what makes it so special for foreign audience. It is natural to be connected with stories of our ancestors. I appreciate influences of national culture also in work of other artists, that´s what makes us unique for each other. It´s a hidden way how to understand each other without words, just through art.
Andrea Bucko at the UNESCO in Paris, March 2016
(source : Cyrille Clément)
- TME : you have been invited in Residence in the International City of the Arts of Paris. This experience will feed your international side and the contact with artists from around the globe is certainly motivating. How do you place the Slovakian song in the concert of the European cultures, as an opportunity or a danger?
A.B. : As an opportunity. But of course when I play in Paris I don´t choose songs that are only in Slovak. But I always see that for people it´s very interesting to listen to me in my national language… People believe it´s the most natural way how to express yourself. And it´s true. It comes from your home, from your history. It´s powerful. And that´s what I appreciated about my stay at Cité internationale des arts the most. The opportunity to feel roots of other artists in their work and connect with their culture.
- TME : your songs describe close inter-personal relations and are often lyrical. Is poetry the main source of your textual and thematic inspiration and will you avoid other fields of expression like politics or society?
A.B. : In my country I work also as a theatre director. Usually I react on politics or society through theatre and my music focuses more on feelings and stories that are inter-personal. But sometimes it happens that I compose also something that reacts on society…for example in my new project there will be few songs influenced by current situation in Europe.
- TME : Do you have projects for new albums or for a tour with your previous albums?
A.B. : It depends on where and for who I play. I try to create my playlists always differently, so that I have always fresh feelings when I play my songs. Now, when I am working on my new album, I will try to play as much new songs as possible. To eliminate stage fright that is always present at the beginning. I think that the best way for me is to mix my older songs with new ones. But I always try to compose a story from my songs. So I mix only those pieces that are somehow connected. For me it´s important to keep the atmosphere in which my audience can deeply connect with me and my feelings.
- TME : Andrea Bucko, I thank you very much for brilliantly answering to these questions on your identity as an artist. I wish you and your team great success with your new projects.
A.B. : I want to mention the names of the persons, musicians and producer, who compose the team around me.
Producer – Adam Kuruc
Harpist – Mária Kmeťková
Bass player – Juraj Varga
Percussions – Igi Szabo
Accordion – Ján Brtka
Andrea Bucko and her team
(source : by courtesy of )
Interview in French to the FM Dynamic Radio (10-27-2016) :
She will be in concert in Paris in May.
cover picture : cover picture of the CD Album Polarity
source : by courtesy of Mária Švarbová