Review: Alexandra Berta – Soul to Soul /Dialekton Records, 2014/
Alexandra Berta, folk singer and zither artist, has recently produced her second album titled Soul to Soul. As stated on the album cover each song on this album represents a new era in her life, such as the desire of love and to be loved, the tears and joys of expectation and disappointment, travelling and belonging... all expressed through the unique techniques and language of folk music.
Next to the traditional string orchestral combinations Alexandra also pairs her vocal performance with solo instruments. Her specialty, the zither, shows up on several occasions throughout the album either supporting her singing or in the form of energetic dance music.
Her beautiful voice is present in every song and as a whole this album can be described as a dominantly vocal record spiced up with colorful, diverse instrumental elements of several regions including Matra, Bihar, Del-Dunantul, Szatmar, Gyimes, Moldva, Aranyosszek and Lorincrev. The sounds of instruments such as the dulcimer, horns, flute, kobza, gardon and tambourine will all pop up during the musical journey of this well-structured album.
Alexandra is co-operating with young, well-known artists, graduates and students of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy providing for a high quality, original musical performance. One of the album’s greatest merits is how Alexandra has managed to collect a fine selection of songs both in terms of sound and lyrics from the older, most traditional styles of Hungarian folk music.
The album consists of 4 orchestral songs, 2 featuring the flute, 1 featuring the moldavian lute and 4 centered around the zither.
Alexandra’s clean, pleasant voice and magnificent zither play guarantees to deliver on her mission statement of bringing the sound of Hungarian folk closer to the wider public via a selection of her personal favorite songs.
Sandor Balogh /Dialekton Records/
"Alexandra Berta, who's been awarded the prestigious Junior Prima prize, has always considered it her main ambition to provide a colorful insight into the art of folk music.... She has recorded her first album practically as a child, in 2006.... Now a seasoned, matured artist, her voice has taken a new direction too... Keeping the music's focus on the zither, she's experimenting with several new instrument-pairings, style combinations.... this, however, didn't change her overall goal, which is to introduce as wide a palette of Hungarian folk music to as big an audience as possible."
"I've had the fortune of listening to her songs and zither music before on various occasions such as exhibitions, cultural events. Each and every time, her performance has touched me, impressed me. I've regularly voiced my awe of her music after her concerts in Paks, explaining how it sets a new artistic standard for our community. The emotional experience her 2007 record release promo concert has given me, however, is just simply beyond words."
Source: Lovásziné Anna, Paksi Tükör, XIII. évf. 3. Szám
"The highest standard of quality, authenticity is maintained throughout the album which combines the finest examples of different regional folk songs. With her pleasant voice, outstanding zither skills, Alexandra has perfectly achieved her stated goal with her album: to bring the Hungarian folk music and folk traditions closer to the hearts of her audience using a selection of her own favorite songs."