singer, songwriter, lyricist
Having performed in international jazz projects and having worked in jazz bands as a lead singer, Hungarian singer-songwriter Sugárka launched her debut album, ’Las puertas abiertas’ ('The open gates') in April, 2013, and released her second album, ’You’re calling me’ in November, 2016. (Sugárka is pronounced 'shu-gahr-ka', a unique ancient Hungarian forename meaning "Little ray of Sunshine".)
While completing her studies in Drama and Theatre Arts, American Studies and Teacher’s faculty at the University of Szeged, Sugárka won ’Jury Selection Award’ on the Hungarian Bartók Radio’s International Jazz Vocal Competition - jury headed by Al Jarreau. Sugárka’s original Spanish lyrics ‘Las puertas abiertas’ on ’Everyone deserves a second chance’ was approved by Grammy award nominee Raul Midón and became the title song of her debut album.
Once classical violinist and Judo National Champion Sugárka’s sense of style for swinging and ballads, and her sensitive interpretation of lyrics were soon recognized. Her singing career skyrocketed in a very short time and the gifted young jazz singer got into the Hungarian jazz life. She went on with her music studies, and later on she deepened her music knowledge on European master courses and workshops in Italy by bebop pianist Barry Harris, also in Germany and Czech Republic by European jazz educators. Her success earned in the Marble Hall of Hungarian Radio was followed by club concerts and music studies. As a student she wrote jazz album reviews for EMI Hungary for many years.
Sugárka continued her music studies after her university degree at the Vocal Jazz Faculty of Ferenc Erkel Jazz Conservatory and was educated by acknowledged teachers of the young jazz generation. She had already been introduced to the European jazz scene and had several concerts in European countries, when she started vocal coaching with the great opera singer, Ildikó Lengyel, and jazz vocalist, Gábor Winand. The 'Sun & Rain' project is an album with her own selection and arrangements of jazz standards. It was created through international collaboration with trombonist and leader of Radio Big Band Belgrad, Vladimir Krnetic, as well as with other acclaimed jazz artists. She was accompanied by Allen Hermann in European concerts. She has worked with the New York-born Chuck Wayne successor bebop guitarist Agostino di Giorgio, and free jazz guitarist Matthew Mitchell from New Zealand. Currently she has started collaborating with Alune Wade. As Sugárka has performed in more and more prestigious European Jazz Festivals, her first European tour is coming up in Fall, 2018. She is working on a new album of original compositions, too.
Sugárka has also won recognition as a lyricist. Several albums have been released with her own lyrics, she has co-operated with many composers. Her lyrics were recorded by such celebrities as Kevin Mahogany - accompanied by the Budapest Jazz Orchestra -, the East Side Jazz Company, or musical actress, Andrea Malek. The Hungarian audience got to know Sugárka from a completely new perspective when she wrote and performed music theatre plays with her band, Chanson Élysées. She made her debut as a musical actress on the Szeged Cultural Festival in the main role of a humoresque evoking the turning of the last century. The world-famous independent theatre company, Maladype Színház has invited her to perform in Egg(s)hell, an improvisational play by Jászai Mari Award winning theatre dierector, Zoltán Balázs, based on the great Hungarian poet’s, Sándor Weöres’ piece. All shows attracted full houses.
Sugárka is a regular performing artist at OPUS JAZZ CLUB, BUDAPEST JAZZ CLUB, THE PALACE OF ARTS (Mupa), and other prestigious jazz clubs, festivals (VESZPRÉMFEST, INTERNATIONAL PRAGUE JAZZ FESTIVAL, VALLEY OF ARTS, etc.). Also at modern art performances and literary events of contemporary poets. Among others her bands have consisted this far of a sextet and of a drum-double bass-vocal trio of an ethereal sound. She’s been composing own songs, which inspired her to set up a new musical collaboration. Her present band is called ENYEDI SUGÁRKA JAZZ TETT (meaning Sugárka Enyedi Jazz Act) with György Csicsák on guitar, Csaba Pengő on bass, double-bass, Csaba Gavallér drums and percussion and is joined by guest artists on brass or violin on many occassions. She has started to arrange tunes of Cuban, Mexican, Latin-American, as well as Hungarian origin with her trio called SUGÁRKA MUNDO LATINO.
Sugárka's records have received positive feedback from the audience, the Hungarian music critics as well as the Juno Award winning jazz vocalist, Kellylee Evans.
"Through others’ happiness I understand what it means that I sing. I’ve perceived the shine in others’ eyes which taught me to understand singing as a calling, and encouraged me to explore what talent can achieve. I’ve been interested in a million things and now I’m grateful that music has emerged from all that, a special intangible vibration which provides the strongest vital spark for the human soul after Sunshine and Love.
My songs are born either in dreams or in transit; they are intuitive manifestations of my earthly existence. I believe I am opening the gates of the realm of senses and emotions by grasping certain colours of the infinite shades of human feelings and the supernatural, and I pass them on in the form of melody and rhythm. What I give other people I give myself as well. What I give myself I give others as well."
Photo credit Gabor Bela