Taraf de Akácfa was created in 2014 by traveling street musicians who serendipitously met in Budapest, Hungary in an international collective house on Akácfa street.  The members of the group originate from Transylvania, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Sweden, France and the United States, and eventually chose to stay in Budapest, where they found constant musical inspiration and could share their common passion and appreciation for Eastern European and Balkan folk music. Over the years, they traveled throughout Southeast Europe, Moldova and Hungary, researching the origins of the music which they play. They have had the opportunity to learn from the some of the greatest folk musicians, most notably the musicians of Taraf de Haidouks and Marcel Râmba, who heavily influenced their current repertoire. Taraf de Akácfa mixes the different musical and cultural backgrounds of its members, while tastefully blending traditional styles of folk music with innovative ideas and arrangements. They respectfully honor the musical sources and traditions which they draw upon, all while adding their own unique interpretation and style. Their current repertoire is predominantly centered around Romanian Lăutarească music, however they also perform a variety of folk music from Transylvania and the Balkans. Their first self- titled album was recorded and released in Budapest in 2016. They just released their second full length album “Trei Focuri” in December 2018, which was also recorded in Budapest.
(HU) A Taraf de Akácfa egy budapesti székhelyű zenekar, melyet világjáró utcazenészek alapítottak 2014-ben. Meghatározó talákozásuknak egy nemzetközi közösségi ház biztosított teret az Akácfa utcában. Jelenlegi tagjai Erdélyből, a Moldovai Köztársaságból, Svédországból, az Amerikai Egyesült Államokból, Franciaországból és Magyarországról származnak, akiket Budapesten marasztalt a népzene iránti közös elkötelezettségük és az ott megtapasztalt folyamatosan inspiráló zenei közeg. A hagyomány és újítás egyszerre van jelen zenéjükben, az erdélyi népdaloktól a bolgár és macedón dallamokig, jelentős hangsúlyt fektetve a román muzsikus zene világára (lăutarească). A zenekar tagjai az idők folyamán beutazták azokat a Kelet-Európai vidékeket, ahonnan zenéjük eredeztethető. A térség legjobbjaitól, híres muzsikusoktól lesték el a szakma fortélyait. Legjelentősebb mestereik a Taraf de Haidouks zenészei és Marcel Râmba voltak, akik nagy hatást tettek a jelenlegi zenéjük kialakulására. Mindez az ismeret kiegészül a zenei tapasztalattal és hagyománnyal, amelyet a különböző kultúrákból érkező tagok sajátjukként hoztak. Eltérő zenei tudásukat és hátterüket összeadva arra törekednek, hogy a hagyományos hangzást egyedi megszólalással ötvözzék. Első lemezüket 2015-ben rögzítettek, mely 2016-ban jelent meg. Második “Trei focuri” című lemezüket 2018-ban rögzítették és 2019-ben mutatták be Budapesten.

current members:

IMG_2574Lulu Starr

VIOLIN/ hegedű (USA/ France/ Franciaország)

Lulu Starr was born in the United States into a family of musicians with Romanian Jewish, and French roots. She started learning violin from her father at the age of 6, and stopped playing when she was 10. In 2005 she graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a BA in Fine Arts and French Literature. After finishing school, not having played violin for 12 years, she started to play Eastern European and Balkan folk music, Traditional Jazz, Blues and Country music on the streets of New Orleans. From then on, she has played in numerous groups across the globe such as Tuba Skinny, Petrojvic Blasting Company, California Feetwarmers, Cyclown Circus, G-String Orchestra, Magnolia Beacon and Lovaskocsi Banda. Since 2008 she frequently travels to Romania where she has been learning folk music from the violinists Marcel Râmba, Gheorghe Anghel “Caliu”, Kodoba Florin, and Varga István “Kiscsipás”. Lulu started playing music with Johannes during her travels to Budapest in 2012, and in 2014 they formed Taraf de Akácfa.

IMG_2555 Johannes Olsson

ACCORDION/ harmonika (Sweden/ Svédország)

Johannes Olsson grew up in the middle of the forest in the south of Sweden. With both parents being musicians, he was exposed to different kinds of music at an early age. He started to learn the diatonic accordion from his grandfather at the age of 11, he started playing the drum kit at age 13, and later the electric bass at age 16. At age 19 he started to play the chromatic button accordion, learning the basics from his father, but since then he is mainly self-taught on the instrument. He applied to Skurup music school, but was not accepted and decided to leave Sweden to travel Europe and play music on the streets. He met with other like-minded musicians in Budapest, and was introduced to the music of the Balkans and Transylvania. Since then Johannes has taken part in many different musical projects and is at the moment playing with four different bands in Budapest. He has performed with well known artists like Tcha Limberger and recorded with Balogh Kálmán. Recently he received the Hagström award in Stockholm, an award given to young and talented accordion players. 


Ilka Kisgyörgy

VOICE/ ének (Transylvania/ Erdély)

Ilka is Hungarian and was born in Transylvania. She comes from a family of folk musicians and luthiers. From a young age she always wanted to sing, but it wasn’t until she moved to Budapest that she started her singing career. After finishing her masters degree in Civil Engineering, for three years she studied Jazz Vocals at Bartok Béla Conservatory and Liszt Ferenc Academy in Budapest. In addition to Jazz, she has been actively singing Romanian and Hungarian folk music, while learning and discovering it at the same time. In 2016 she met the members of Taraf de Akácfa and began to collaborate musically with them, and soon after in 2017 she became Taraf de Akácfa’s first singer.


Ion Curteanu

CIMBALOM  (Republic of Moldova/ Moldovai Köztársaság)

Ion was born in Ocnița, Republic of Moldova. He started to play cimbalom at the age of twelve at the Ciprian Porumbescu Music School in Chişinău. He graduated in 2012 with remarkable results in music and continued his studies in the cimbalom class of Ilona Szeverényi at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. In 2017 he graduated the BA program with highest honors and obtained a full scholarship for excellent academic results. He now continues his musical studies in the MA program at the Liszt Ferenc Academy.  Ion is an active performer of modern music. He recently premiered Alexander Timofeev’s Concerto for Cimbalom and Chamber Orchestra (op. 3) in Budapest. His passionate stage performances have won him numerous prizes over the years such as the Grand prix at the International Competition “Eugen Coca” in Chişinău, 1st prize at the International Competition for Cimbalom in Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Republic and 1st prize at the International Competition “Barbu Lăutaru” in Chişinău. Ion started to play with Taraf de Akácfa in 2017 and recorded with them in 2018.

IMG_2562Isaac Misri

GUITAR / gitár (USA)

Isaac was born in the United States into a multicultural family with Jewish, Arabic and Eastern European roots from Latin America. Upon completing a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering 6 years ago, he immediately began hitchhiking across Asia and Europe for two years until he arrived in Budapest in 2015. He was captivated by the local folk music, and after meeting Lulu and Johannes, he started to play guitar with them in Taraf de Akácfa and settled in Budapest for the following two years. Since then, he has traveled extensively through the Balkans and Caucasus studying folk music and has been performing and touring locally and internationally with various music projects such as Taraf de Akácfa, Hét Hat Club, Dave Holodillof Balkan Projekt, Szkojani Charlatans, Laura Lackey’s Rhythm Revue and The Bitter Dose Combo.


Ábel Dénes

DOUBLE BASS / nagybőgő (Hungary /Magyarország)

Ábel was born in Pécs, Hungary and was nine years old when he started to play the cello. Years later he switched to bass guitar, and at the age of sixteen he started to learn double bass. Ábel was the first musician in his family. He studied at the Pikéthy Musical High School, and after that he attended the Conservatorium Van Amsterdam for one year. In 2017 he graduated the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest, with a focus in Jazz Double Bass.  He joined Taraf de Akácfa in 2017, and he currently plays in other folk music, jazz, and world music bands based in Budapest, such as Nagy Emma Quintet and Babcsán Projekt.

 guest musicians:

Cory Beers – cimbalom (from USA)

Szilágyi Tóni- violin, kontra, guitar (from Transylvania)

Kása Béla- kontra (from Hungary)

Dumitrița Curteanu-Nicu – voice (from Moldova)

Maruzsenszki Andor – violin (from Hungary)

Ferenc Zimber – cimbalom (from Hungary)

Jean Waché – double bass (from France)

past members:

Valentin Desmarais- double bass (from France)

Fatima Gozlan – darbuka (from Hungary)

Zoltán Gárgyán- clarinet (from Hungary)


(HU) vendég zenészek:

Cory Beers – cimbalom (USA)

Szilágyi Tóni –  hegedű, kontra, gitár (Erdély)

Kása Béla – kontra (Magyarország)

Dumitrița Curteanu-Nicu – ének (Moldávia)

Ferenc Zimber – cimbalom (Magyarország)

Maruzsenszki Andor – hegedű (Magyarország)

Jean Waché – nagybőgő (Franciaország)

korábbi tagok:

Valentin Desmarais – nagybőgő (Franciaország)

Fatima Gozlan – darbuka (Magyarország)

Gárgyán Zoltán – klarinét (Magyarország)


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