ROMENGO
THE GARDEN IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

The rehearsal room is in a building from the late 1800-hundreds. It faces the grand boulevard on the Pest-side of Budapest, and the Danube river is sensed behind the large windows. It is all a little dilapidated, walls and stones are worn, the passing of time is tangible. Every year that has passed through this building; every footstep, every errand that preseded the present. Now the room is used as an office, and this is where they meet today. Mugs of coffee are on the floor and on the table, and the orchestra forms an impromptu circle. It is a tight circle, so that everyone may hear everyone else. Violin, guitar, cajón and pewter jugs. A clear voice sings and embellishes; deeper ones make rhythm and bass.

And then a garden sprouts from the floor. The old garden by the family house; the garden where they gather around the garden furniture. The family, the friends, the old, the grown and the young. Always bearing instruments, and they play, dance and eat together. A child runs it’s fingers over the neck of a guitar and then lets it go, turning to play. The scent of coffee and the scent of food, of bread. The taste of salt and paprika, pepper and spice. They sing, ringing out harmonies together in the garden. The green, the red, the black. The colours mix in the pot and in the air and in the sounds of jewellery and the whooshing of garments.

They take that garden along into the rehearsal room by the grand boulevard. They take that garden along, when they travel; the grass on the stage and the vision of children playing to the sound of folkmusic. There are roots in the room, and those who are not bound together by blood, have grown into the family. The sense of belonging is like the map of a city, stuck together in sections. Because they all belong in a garden on the outskirts of Budapest. In the garden romamusic grows wild, but the garden is also Hungarian, as is the language. Gyökerek: roots. This is also how they answer, when they travel: We are from Hungary, Budapest. The city, once divided into three, now unified as one capital. Joined by eight bridges, glowing in the dusk over the Danube.

The cars go back and forth on the boulevard below the rehearsal room, and the music is sensed behind the large windows. Melismas trickle down to the tarmac, which runs all the way into the historic heart of the city and the funicular that carries people up to the castle. And then it all flows back again. Streets and alleys from the inner city, bricks and towers are part of the music in the garden in the 15th district. They see many a place, when they travel. But rarely do they see a city as fine as Budapest.

Reliefs in oak wood: Artist Søren Assenholt
Prose and concept: Author Sanne Flyvbjerg