He was born in Budapest on 14 March 1954. He completed his studies at the Academy of Dramatic and Cinematic Art in 1981. In his childhood he learnt to play the accordion and later the drums. His attention turned towards handheld percussion instruments in the 1970s. His authentic style soon made him the best djembe player in Hungary. His master was Babatünde Olatunji. Acting and music played a great part in his life concurrently until 1998. He achieved significant successes with his percussion ensemble called Macumba, which he founded with István Bubik and Tamás Ruzicska. They played together with such bands as LGT, Illés and Neoton. He was also an important member of the legendary actors’ orchestra. He played unforgettable roles in the musical plays of Vígszínház and Pesti Színház (Fekete Péter, Book of the Jungle), as well as feature films (Csacsacsa, Üvegtigris 2). In 1994 he joined Attila Égerházi’s band called Novus Jam. After releasing two albums, they founded the Djabe group, which received several awards and nominations in Hungary and abroad. He lived exclusively for music from 1998. In the few years before his death he appeared in 20 countries with the group, whose successes were largely a result of his contribution.
Ferenc Kovács – trumpet, violin, vocal
Born in Budapest in 1957. His father was a Munkácsy Award-winning sculptor, his mother is a painter artist. He graduated from Ferenc Liszt Music Teacher Training College as singing master, solfeggio and trumpet teacher. During his career, he has taken part in the works of several contemporary creative musician’s workshop. He was a founding member of Budapest Ragtime Band for which he performed for 15 years. Ferenc also performed with the Balogh Kálmán Gipsy Cymbalom Band since 1994, slowly becoming a key member. Amongst international stars he performed with Balanescu, Steve Hackett, David Murray, Hamid Drake and Archie Shepp, latter claiming: “apart from being one of the best violinists of the world, he can play the trumpet like Miles Davis.” In 2009, he was commissioned to compose the soundtrack for the film “The Last Report about Anna” directed by Márta Mészáros. In 2001, his most notable solo release in the Hungarian music scene, the album ‘Magony’ was completed and a band stablished for performing it. This Magony Orchestra, playing Hungarian rustic baroque music, is one of the most unique Hungarian musical formations, their compositions are based on Hungarian folk music, jazz and contemporary music as well. He was one of the major performers on the first Djabe album in 1996, and from 2001 to 2016 was a permanent member and essential soloist of the band. Not only his authentic violin play, which can be traced back to roots in the folklore, but his characteristic singing voice is also an essential carrier of Djabe’s world of Hungarian music.
Szilárd Banai – drums
Born in Cegléd in 1978, he began his musical career as a cello player at his birthplace. After years of studying the cello, he turned to playing the drums, for which his mother’s profession as a percussion teacher gave a strong inspiration. He graduated from Bartók Béla Secondary School for Music in Budapest and got his degree at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music as a jazz drummer with outstanding results. Even at the beginning of his career he was given the opportunity to perform with the most outstanding jazz musicians of Hungary, such as Aladár Pege, Károly Binder, Miklós Birta and the Stúdió 11. He is a permanent guest of annual drum festivals. Szilárd became a renowned and popular performer, and often invited to participate in bands playing various genres and styles of music. As a drummer, he was a member of Djabe from 2001 to 2016. Performing at foreign festivals, the greatest star drummers also expressed their adoration of Szilu’s performance. In 2008, he received the “Golden Drumstick Award”, awarded by the Hungarian Percussion Culture Fund.
Ferenc Muck – saxophone
Born in 1956 in Lánycsók, Hungary. He graduated at Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest with a specialty in clarinet. Alongside of his outstanding references in pedagogy, Muck still teaches at numerous institutions: he actively works at Hang Szín Tér School of Art, Dr. Lauschmann Gyula Jazz Music Technical College and at Kodolányi János University. For his achievements in pedagogy Muck received the Teacher’s Service Medal of the Hungarian government in 2012. Along his musical career he performed on literally hundreds of albums and gigs including performances with LGT, Tankcsapda and Hungária bands. Since the end of ’80s Muck is a well-known and recurring guest of numerous international jazz festivals: Strassbourg, Wien, Graz, Helsinki and Tallin is just a few examples of the numerous places he performed with great succcess. Ferenc Muck is a multiple award winner: he won the eMeRToN award in both 1991 and 1992, while in the years between 1990 and 1994 he was the „best pop saxophone player of the year”. In 2000 Muck received the Hungarian Music Award for performing with the band ’Djabe’ and he is a double gold record holder. Ferenc Muck is the band leader of Muck Trio and Groupensax, and also a permanent member of the internationally well-known formation Bluesberry. Member of Djabe: 1997-2000
Zoltán Kovács – keyboards
Born in Eger in 1973. Zoltán attended primary and secondary school in Győr, and graduated from Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in 1998, in Budapest. Besides his studies of classical composing and piano, Zoltán also engaged with jazz since the age of 13. He has been a member of the band Tea since 1997. Apart from the ‘Friderikusz’ and ‘Luxor’ TV shows he is known for numerous jazz and pop music pieces, arrangements, theatrical and television performances. He was the keyboard player of Djabe from 2001 to 2016. At Djabe concerts, during his solo piano pieces, he often ventured towards the classical. These pieces always proved to be colorful intermezzos of the gigs. Steve Hackett, guitarist of Genesis and a returning participant at Djabe concerts uttered his greatest admiration for the musicianship of Zoltán. Apart from being an active musician, he teaches music in Győr, Hungary.