First a history lesson for those who are not familiar with Yesterdays, shame on you. The band comes from Hungary. However this is only partly true. Because Yesterdays is a progressive rock band with members belonging to the Hungarian minority in West Romania, from Cluj Napoca (Transylvania). They do not hide their roots and mix Hungarian folk music with progressive rock. Furthermore they also sing most of the time in their own Hungarian language as you can hear on Holdfénykert (2006, see review) and Colours Caffé (2011, see review). It is important to mention that they used to be a Yes tribute band. Hence the name Yesterdays. Something you still can hear on their album releases. The question of course comes up. Do they still use the same musical trademarks on their latest musical effort Senki Madara, released in 2018?
Well right from the start on the first track of the album it becomes very clear to me that Yes are still their biggest influence. The same kind of Rick Wakeman sounding keyboard parts (Mellotron and Moog) are played by Enyedi Zsolt. Also Steve Howe comes to mind when you hear the fantastic playing of Bogáti-Bokor Ákos (who also plays keyboards). Moreover, the bass parts done by the same person move very much towards the style which the late Chris Squire used to play on his instrument. Only Jon Anderson is this time around replaced by female singers Stephanie Semeniuc, Szirtes Edina Mókus (lead vocals on 5, 10) and Tarsoly Csenge (lead vocals on 6). The Hungarian folk music influences are also still present by the use of the flute parts done by Kecskeméti Gábor. But also, the use of acoustic guitars and the addition of the two guest players Bogáti-Bokor Orsolya (violin and viola) and Márton-Sípos Dóra (cello) give the songs a kind of folk music feeling.
In their beautifully designed booklet, the band indicates that the album is a musical experiment, a fusion of progressive rock music from the seventies and traditional Hungarian folk music. Well I could hear that right from the start. Retro prog rock all over the place and wonderfully mixed with elements taken from folk music. For the nine tracks the texts and melodies were taken from traditional Hungarian folk songs (most of all inspired by the songs of Zoltán Kodály and Béla Bartók), and put to music by Bogáti-Bokor Ákos. So old music - with respect to the origins of the song - has been rearranged with instruments used in progressive rock. The result is wonderful with feeling and love to the historic Hungarian heritage upgraded to the modern era and then continued for centuries. The experiment has succeeded most certainly!
Senki Madara is an excellent third album release from Yesterdays. The nine compositions on it are true progressive rock tunes which will be loved by all lovers of retro progressive rock without any doubt. Most of all if you are into the music of Yes and don't care if they don't sing in the English language. Both thumbs up for Yesterdays for still singing in their own native language and mix it with the best kind of progressive rock which is available! I can only be positive about this very fine album. They can certainly be proud of this release!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)
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