When thinking bossa nova , the central european nation of Hungary rarely comes to mind . However the country more famous for its mathematicians and Goulash has brought us Rozina Pátkai. A classically trained jazz singer hailing from the capital city of Budapest , who has found her home in the genre of bossa nova. She has performed and won awards around Europe including her native Hungary as well as the United States. Before her latest European tour which takes her to France , Belgium and Spain she agreed to answer a few questions for us.

Rozina Patkai  Photo by Norbert Zsólyomi

Rozina Patkai
Photo by Norbert Zsólyomi



BN: Hungary isnt a place usually associated with bossa nova, how did you become introduced to the genre , and what was the transition from classical music to jazz/bossa like?

RP: I have always liked good music, no matter what genre it is. It came naturally. I learnt piano and playing the guitar from primary school and I formed my first band  in the secondary school. When I entered the Conservatory, I already had two degrees at the University from English and Hungarian major, and I wanted to extend my knowledge in music too. Although I had performed as a singer in rock music bands before, I realized that jazz and especially bossa nova was the genre of my character.


BN: What drew you to bossa nova /jazz music?

RP: I love this genre, this music is so relaxed and their lyrics are full of hope, wisdom and humour. When I was in the first year of secondary school my parents sent me to London to learn English. Wondering at the famous flea-market, Portobello Road I found cassettes on sale, 3 for 1 pound. I bought the most colorful series, 3 albums of bossa nova classics. From that moment, I am in live with this genre and I became a collector of the great bossa nova.

“A Hungarian singer rounds up the best jazzbos in Budapest and, voila! magic happens”  – Midwest Records, Chris Spetor

BN: You cite Rosa Passos as one of your influences , what about her or her music helped to inspire you?

RP: Rosa Passos is one of my favorite bossa nova singers. Her songs are so meaningful, that always touches the heart and always in a positive way. Also, her arrangements and scat singing are wonderful and absolutely suits her songs!


BN: Much of your work consists of interpretations of bossa classics , what do you try to bring to these works to make them your own?

RP: Although our interpretations doesn’t mess with the genre’s resrictions, they say we have a kind of “spicy taste” in the arrangements. We give the songs extra meaning and fill them with our emotions.


BN: How would you compare Brazilian music to hungarian music?

RP: Brazilian bossa nova tunes and Hunarian folk songs are both considered to be mostly melancholic, but bossa novas’ lyrics are full of irony, and I really ike that. Besides irony, it tells stories about how beautiful life really is!


BN: You have been performing for a few years now around the world , winning a number of awards as well. What is like performing at these various locals ? and is there any place you have found special?

RP: Touring around the world and get to know more and more people and fans is a wonderful thing. Every place special, but New York as a musician was unbelievable. Culture is flourishing there, I wish one day, every country”s government would realize how important it is to support art, because it makes our life much better and helps us find the real beauty for the heart. (? :))


BN: Currently you have your European tour coming up , do you enjoy the experience of touring ? and what are you looking forward to most from the experience?

RP: I am really looking forward to meet other musicians from other countries at the Jazzycolours Festival, Paris. Also, we are going to shoot a video-clip in Paris for my upcoming album, which makes the whole tour very exciting!


BN: Can we look forward to a new album from you soon?

RP: I am going to release my new originals, a four song EP in December in cooperation with our producer, Helik Hadar, Grammy Award winner sound engineer and producer. It is going to be a very exciting new material!


Check out her website  and her Facebook page