On a quest for global grooves of unity, Àbáse is the imagination of Hungarian producer and multi-instrumentalist Szabolcs Bognar. Creating an exquisite blend of West African, Brazilian, hip-hop, new-soul and jazz music, he is set to release new single ‘Awo Osanyin’ on the 29th September via Oshu Records, and is taken from his debut album ‘Laroyê’, released later this year.
Having already gained support from the likes of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Gilles Peterson, Worldwide FM, Stamp The Wax, Earmilk, Complex, Soulection, Nabihah Iqbal and KEXP, Bognar released his long anticipated debut EP ‘Invocation’ in 2019 via HHV Records and Cosmic Compositions and earlier this year, released the critically acclaimed ‘Body Mind Spirit’ EP, a collaborative electronic exploration with drummer/producer Ziggy Zeitgeist.
The word “àbáse” comes from the West African Yoruba language and stands for “collaboration” – a key element of Àbáse’s music, as he brings together versatile artists from around the world to push genre and style boundaries.
‘Awo Osanyin’ is a swirling afrobeat number dedicated to Ossanyin, the one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged orisha (diety) of healing herbs and features Candomble spiritual leader and percussion master Dofono de Omulu and one of Rio de Janeiro’s busiest underground jazz groups, Afrojazz. “I first heard Dofono perform with a young local group Grupo Maracutaia (their members are to be heard in the background choir) at a street festival in Rio. I was immediately drawn to the beauty and strength of his playing and voice. I soon learned that he is hosting percussion workshops that I attended until the very end of my stay in Rio. I learned an incredible amount about drumming and music in general and I was very humbled when he accepted my invitation to collaborate and record this traditional Candomble chant. He sings lead vocals, led the background choir and plays traditional “rum” (deep-tuned drum) in Ketu style (played with sticks in one hand).”
“Eduardo Santana, leader of the six-piece formation Afrojazz is one of the main reasons I could travel to Rio and that I met so many amazing artists. I met him in Budapest back in 2013 where we quickly became very good friends and spent an amazing two weeks together playing music. When I told him about my plans of staying in Brazil he immediately invited me to his home where we lived together with the bass player of Afrojazz, Rodrigo. Both Eduardo and Rodrigo are busy professional session musicians / producers in the young and buzzing scene of Rio. They took me under their wings, showed me around, took me to all the local jams and hangs and introduced me to basically all the amazing Rio based artists who are on the album. I owe them a lot for their warm welcome and generosity and couldn’t imagine this record complete without us doing a track together. I wrote all the instrumental parts (except guitars) that then we recorded with the live band instrument by instrument: I visited each member at their home, tracking one part at a time.”
Bognar’s debut album ‘Laroyê’ was recorded in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador where Àbáse spent five months working with diverse artists, from young talents to veterans of the Brazilian scene. Mainly recorded with a Zoom recorder in tiny apartments rather than the usual big studio set-up, the album serves as an audio diary of a travelling musician, exploring the rich heritage of afro-brasilian culture through samba, MPB and Candomblé. Mixing these with contemporary production techniques, broken beat, hip hop and afrobeat, ‘Laroyê’ is a contemporary homage to the classic Brazilian sound.
Bognár has been active in the electic music scene of Budapest for many years and has spearheaded may several successful acts, including Solqlap Budapest and the The Mabon Dawud Republic, a fourteen piece afrobeat orchestra hosting Felabration Budapest and guest-starring the likes of Dele Sosimi and Pat Thomas. After residencies in Paris, Lyon, New York, Rio De Janeiro and Salvador, Àbáse is now based in Berlin, where in addition to his solo career, he is also the keyboard player for Nigerian soul singer Wayne Snow and Australian jazz drummer Ziggy Zeitgeist’s Freedom Energy Exchange.