This past Sunday, I took in a performance by the Detroit-based band, Jöjjön (pronounced “yo-yon”), as part of the Sunday night acoustic series at PJ’s Lager House. Jöjjön is an unconventional group, to say the least, playing music I would describe as Hungarian-influenced folk-pop. Kinga Osz-Kemp, the group’s leader singer, manages to tap into her Hungarian heritage while still sounding innovative and relevant. The group features a fulltime cellist, Diana Nucera, who also provides enchanting harmonies over Osz-Kemp’s melodies.
The group played a song whose lyrics were taken from a Hungarian poem about how one must go to hell in order to learn their instrument, and another song had the audience involved in singing the rousing chorus. It’s transformative music — simultaneously traditional and contemporary — and every time I hear it, I’m transported to a different time and place. I imagine myself seated near a roaring bonfire in the middle of winter, in thick forest, watching the darkness beyond the flickering firelight — enchanted and haunted and deep.
Jöjjön is playing a show this Friday, the 30, at The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, along with Jim Kemp, The Everly Sisters and Body Holographic.
The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID): 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., email@example.com.