Participants wrote more than 25 new songs at the Artisjus Songwriting Camp held at the beginning of the summer. The three days ended with outstanding results: a peace anthem by Ukrainian-Hungarian songwriters, a festival anthem for the Hungarian Valley of Arts Festival, film scores for an RTL Klub series and plans to release further songs. The camp brought together lyricists, composers, singers and producers from eleven countries to work with local songwriters.
War-torn Ukraine was represented by songwriter, Roman Cherenov. He presented perhaps the most anthem-like composition of the camp entitled EYO together with Ábel Mihalik and Zoltán Czutor. The song was chosen by Artisjus as the official song of the 2022 camp.
This is probably the most cost-effective way to export and begin to operate Hungarian musical creativity on an international level.
“A songwriting camp is successful in its mission if multifunctional is not only present in its aims and participants, but also in its results. When we managed to organise the first international camp in Hungary five years ago (SongBook Songwriting Camp, which has since been renamed after Artisjus), after a long and arduous preparation, we had a vague feeling that this would be perhaps the most direct and cost-effective way to export and internationalise Hungarian musical creativity. Already after the first event, 60-70% of the participating Hungarian songwriters received commissions from abroad in the months following the camp. Since then it has become clear that there was much more potential in a songwriting camp.” – said Zoltán Czutor, member of the Artisjus board who also takes on organisational tasks at the camp.
In addition to professional networking, the works produced here – for the umpteenth time – have been put to real use. Foreign participants and the invited national theme supervisors who set the daily tasks were also increasingly keen to conclude subsequent cooperation agreements with the artists and performers they discovered at the camp.
There were also plenty of personal benefits that were not really measurable in numbers, but were tangible nonetheless. Thanks to the varied schedule, each participant in the group work experienced what it was like to step out of their own comfort zone, to see their own musical ideas from a new perspective, and to work with sounds and timbres that had not been part of their own repertoire at all. In such cases, songwriting teams working in groups of (usually) 3 people were not only able to do three times more, but their energy was multiplied.
“Maybe that’s why all the teams managed to end each day with a really good result and satisfaction at the end of the day’s work from 10am to 7pm. And we haven’t even mentioned the benefit – also hard to measure in numbers – of getting to know the modern sound equipment and instruments used in the camp. Experience has shown that these experiences also have a profound influence on the future ideas and toolbox of the camp participants, who are already professionals.” – Czutor added.
The technical partner for this year’s songwriting camp was Sennheiser/Neumann.
This year ASC hosted participants from eleven countries (the Netherlands, Germany, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Norway, Ukraine) and organised three full, thematically defined working days.
The first day was dedicated to Hungarian folk songs and children’s songs. These songs, used as basic motifs, were to be further developed into contemporary new works. The theme was supervised by well-known Hungarian music producer and DJ, Begi Lotfi, who helped several groups of composers to shape the final form of the works. He continued to work on the production of 4 out of the 8 songs that were created during the camp, and is currently paving the way for their release.
The second day was all about film score.Dániel Richárd Kovács, RTL Hungary’s Chief Director and member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, presented some scenes from the latest season of the hit TV series Side Effect (Mellékhatás). He offered several options and moods. He left it up to the teams to decide which one they felt more comfortable with and which one they could prepare in time. The highlight of the after-dinner audition was that several groups (although time was at a premium on this day) came up with not one, but two or three soundtracks. The director was so impressed by the results that he actively incorporated the music from the camp into the filming of the second season of Side Effect, and during the course of the camp he signed agreements with several participants for future collaborations.
The third day also had a joyous theme. Who wouldn’t want to participate, when the task is to portray the enthusiasm for a festival season that is finally back after a forced break of almost 3 years? The theme supervisor for the day was Natália Oszkó-Jakab, and the aim of the collaboration was to select one of the songs from the day’s achievements so that the Valley of Arts (Művészetek Völgye) crew could shoot and edit the aftermovie, the central element of their 10-day festival’s post-festival communication.