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Two CDs, Few Concerts - Agens is led by sounds in the mind

Szilárd Béla Jávorszky

What she does cannot be categoried. She rarely gives concerts and even fewer CDs. Recently, however, she has released one with the title: "Of Heaven of Earth". This is her second work in order, but actually this is the first one to be released mostly songs dating back with five years age. As she says - the coming out volume is an inevitable stage everybody's life, even if Agnes Gyimesi - with her stage-name 'Agens' - hardly sings the songs found on this CD on her concerts.

Your records sound a bit little those of the American avantgard singer, Diamanda Galas, don't they?

I used to like her but nowadays I am not as enthusiastic because I don't fell attracted to aggression anymore. However, Diamanda Galas was showed to me for the first time when this album had been ready for long. I was shocked. I really didn't know who she was. It was after this experience that I began to listen to her music and my friends started copying her records for me.

You must have had some ideals, right?

For ideals - I prefer calling them masters - came later. First I had my voice without a specific trend six years ago. It was a hard task to find out which way it was going. I suffered a lot. And when I had reached the stage to handle it the masters come. I like Meredith Monk, her work titled "The Dream of Tortoise" titled is my favourite. I used to feel strongly attracted to the work of László Hortobágyi; and I like gipsy musician very much, too. I rarely listen to the records of others, but when I do, I do it with full concentration. Anyway I prefer to have persons as ideals; how I can come out clearly and honestly from a given life situation and how I can recognize what kind of story I am the caracter of.

What you represent is an "article in short supply" in the musical life in Hungary.

Nothing has been planned, it has just turned out like this. I began to hum a tune with a guitar and it grew into this. Actually, this artistic style doesn't exist in Hungary or in Europe but I am not a marketing manager. It started - as I call it - as a deluge from me and then, I slowly had to learn that I had to set limits and trend to it or it would be something without specific direction resulting in chaos. I identified the way to arrive in a performance or in singing - at any cost.

Practically, this material has been ready for five years, only a few new tracks are on it. Previously you said that you didn't like listening to them and weren't particularly interested in them. Why did you release them, then?

The first volume is impossible to be left out. Even if I have taken an entirely different way since then. Compared to my CD coming out as May appendix of "Balkon Journal of Contemporary Art" periodical review last year, too. One year ago I thought that I had to show the conditions I was in just then. However, this time the most important thing for me was that this material long time untouched be released. It doesn't matter if it doesn't reflect what I have been concerned.

Have you got any new tracks?

Yes, I have. My most recent performance wasn't in the Gallery of Fine Arts showcase of a CD either. I performed one song only of it. I am familiar with these conditions what they are like and I don't want to go through them again.

Most of the songs on this CD are improvisations, feelings and life situations. Are these songs at all?

For lack of a better term let's call them so. I am the focus of each of them. The course is mapped out and I am looking for points to relate. We can call them songs only if they are about "Curse" or "Prayer". Then I know roughly what I'm singing about. A lot of the notes of these movements aren't fixed but there are some meeting points, starting from the same place and getting to the same place each and every time. Through what stage it always depends on the given situation.

Have you ever learnt singing or are you a real autodidact?

It has always weighed on my mind that I didn't learn to sing. I went to three teachers, too but none of them was willing to transfer my voice to another sound system. Basically I teach myself, but if I hear somebody sing well, I will memorize the technique, what part of body is just being used and if I remember it while singing, I will use it. Otherwise I used to learn playing the piano and attend solfeggio for three years. However, I have always been directed by the voice.

Both your CDs are solo material and you appear alone on your concerts. Haven't you found partners or haven't you even looked for them?

I have collaborated with others, for example with Ádám Horgas in the "Atlantis Theatre", I played in "The Salem Witch" in the "Vig Theatre", in the play of György Szomjas: "With Kiss and Nail" and in the play of Szalai-Dárday co-authors: "Reflections". However, my CDs are actually solo material. I used to look for partners but I didn't. Best of all I would have liked to work with László Hortobágyi but he only said ten years ago he would have been interested in this partnership. I think it would have been a good collaboration. I tried all tricks, but I had to face the fact that it didn't work. Now that I am not looking for anybody, I am found by others. Recently Szilvia Kárászi has called me on the phone. The only thing I know about her is that she graduated in a conservatory as a classical pianist and she was the presenter of a classical music programme on TV. She is going to show me her material soon. She says she plays the piano in the same way as I sing.

Translated: Erika Gyimesi