Parno Graszt is not just another Gypsy band from Eastern Europe playing traditional Gypsy music... PARNO GRASZT IS A MASSIVE BLAST OF ENERGY which totally shook the world when their 1st record Hit The Piano got in the TOP10 of World Music Charts Europe in 2002. Songlines starred them as ’The Source of Gypsy music’ while BBC made an up-close documentary about their simple rural life back in their village.
After 3 studio records and tours in Europe, India and the USA, Parno Graszt was selected to showcase at WOMEX 2009, the #1 international summit of world music. As RealWorld Records appraised, ‘we loved as they kept on singing out in the crowd after they finished their set and the stage was being cleared – a great moment of spontaneity.
During the last 20 years the name of Parno Graszt (meaning 'White Horse' in Romani language as the symbol of purity and freedom) became the equivalent of authentic Hungarian Gypsy music. For the group, being authentic was nothing more than being themselves. Living in integrity, living the life and playing the music they always have had. As Simon Broughton (Songlines) said after spending a weekend with Parno Graszt in their home village Paszab: ‘They do not use sources of Gypsy music, they are the source itself.’
Indeed, back in Paszab at times of social ceremonies music is shared between each one of the community: instruments are passed from one hand to another and practically everyone is a dance master. There is no band, there is no audience. There is one unified festive gathering. Either they play in their backyard or on a festival stage for 10,000 people, the same spirit of cheerful delight vibrates in the air.
The sound of Parno Graszt is rooted in the traditional Gypsy songs of North Eastern Hungary, representing a specific local dialect of Roma music. Their instruments are acoustic guitars, double bass, tambura, accordion, spoons, one stereo (!) milk jug and the 'oral bass' which is a continous vocal improvisation made by the percussionist. Occasionally, the 9-piece family is taking the audience for a time journey where the dancers, using an archive video projection, are performing parallel with their grandparents on stage.
World music radios discovered Parno Graszt after the breakthru of Hit the piano (2002) which was the first Hungarian record in history reaching the TOP10 of World Music Charts Europe. The much anticipated second album In My world (2004) was featuring Kálmán Balogh, world-class Hungarian Gypsy cimbalist. For this record Parno Graszt was voted for 10 BEST ARTISTS OF THE YEAR by Swiss Vibrations Magazine. Since then Parno Graszt has played all over Europe in venues and festivals like Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Couleur Café Festival (Belgium), Paleo Festival (Switzerland), Tribu Festival (France) or Sziget Festival (Hungary). As a recognition for their work in preserving Romani culture and heritage, EBU and BBC produced a music documentary about Parno Graszt. The movie was selected for the Official Film Screening at WOMEX 2008 and was touring worldwide via IMZ World Music Films on Tour.
In 2007, the band was celebrating its 20th anniversary. On this occasion, DJ Gaetano Fabri (remixer of Taraf de Haidouks, Kocani Orkestar, Mahala Rai Banda) made his debut remix for Parno Graszt’s Gelem Gelem.
In 2008, the Paszabi Gypsies were invited to India where they spent two weeks in Rajashtan, supposed motherland of the Roma people, meeting and playing with local musicians, tracing their roots, looking for familiar faces, customs and melodies. The result of this unique musical exploration is an undisguised and sincere documentary that came out on DVD. In Fall 2009, Parno Graszt has rolled up their first US tour ever. The band reached more than 25 venues in 40 days, cheering up and teasing to dance every single one of those they met on the long road from New York to San Francisco. Parno Graszt was selected to showcase at WOMEX 2009, the foremost international summit of world music professionals. As Peter Gabriel owner of RealWorld Records appraised, ‘we loved as they kept on singing out in the crowd after they finished their set and the stage was being cleared – a great moment of spontaneity.’
In 2016 the band participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, “A Dal” in Hungary alongside many talented bands and performers. The band was successful enough to reach the final with the song “Már nem szédülök” which brought them a massive reputation for their always energetic and lively music.
In February 2018, the band was nominated for Highlights of Hungary award, and received a prize of the II. place. In October 2019, the band reached TOP 10 of World Music Charts Europe with the song “Már nem szédülök” which finished on the 3rd place.