Tonight at the Turbina Cultural Centre, Budapest band Dennie Wander are joining three other local acts to play a benefit show for Ukraine. We meet frontman Dennie, a UK musician now relocated to the Hungarian capital, just before the soundcheck.

Both the stage name of the frontman and the one by which his band go by, Dennie Wander headline Music for Ukraine at the Turbina Cultural Centre tonight, Friday, 8 April. Also appearing will be The Anahit, the Twentees and the Flanger Kids.

A tight, rocking three-piece playing only original material, Dennie Wander comprise DW himself, Hungarian-Australian bass player Tibor Gede and Hungarian-Canadian drummer Sly Juhás.

Singer/songwriter and guitarist, Dennie is responsible for the original songs that have spawned a string of singles – including Catching My Eye, just released this week – and fill the set of a hot live show recently seen at the A38, Szimpla Kert and Dürer Kert, among other key venues.

The band are due to board the A38 again for a performance on the upper deck on 2 June.

We’ve started to build a real following,” says Dennie, about the band he formed shortly after arriving here on a busking tour of Europe. Leaving behind the music scene in the UK, Dennie was looking for a fresh start, taking his guitar around Scandinavia and almost falling for Copenhagen – until he discovered Budapest.

I really liked it here, and just kept coming back. Then I thought about forming a band, and met these guys.”

These guys are bassist Tibor Gede, also involved in the music business in Australia, and Sly Juhás, an accomplished jazz drummer who has played with some of the most renowned names in the genre. Both are older than the twentysomething Brit, providing experience and motivation.

Dennie, for his part, brings the kind of edge that many Hungarians seem to shy away from. For that reason, he now flies in an American producer for all the band’s studio work. The result has been an album, EP and a batch of singles.

The band got together in late 2019 and we really clicked. Then the pandemic hit so I wrote a bunch of songs that we put together in the studio. We released those, then venues started opening up again.”

Good evening, Budapest!

For Dennie, the real magic is performing live: “With such little revenue from music sales, everything’s old-school again. Put yourself out there, play a few shows, get yourself a following”.

And that’s exactly what Dennie Wander have been doing, being filmed at the A38, playing to a new crowd at the Síház in Normafa, and venturing out to Budaörs (“great night!”) and Szeged.

With summer coming up, open-air stages beckon, starting with the A38 coming up again on 2 June.

There’s not only expats in the audience, Hungarians get it, too,” says Dennie. “I’m just really enjoying it.”

Event information

Music for Ukraine
Turbina Cultural Centre
1082 Budapest, Vajdahunyad utca 4 
Friday, 8 April, 6.30pm
Dennie Wander