Spring means world music. And world music means Budapest Ritmo, a gem of city festivals ever since 2016. Between 12-15 April, you can embark on a real musical expedition, exploring the rhythms of Egypt, Iceland, Mali, Ukraine or even Spain. But whether it's Icelandic pop, cumbia or Balkan ethno jazz, the festival still has countless musical surprises from the Ivory Coast to the Caucasus. International headliners such as Tamikrest, Emilíana Torrini & The Colorist Orchestra or Mazaher will take the stage, but you will also get to see talented Hungarian performers in the capital's best venues.

Exciting opening concert and free events at Szimpla Kert

As part of the Bartók Spring International Arts Week, Budapest Ritmo brings international musical treats into the Hungarian capital between 12-15 April. On Wednesday, the opening concert promises a special musical and spiritual experience as first Tariqa, then Mazaher will take the stage at the House of Hungarian Music. The Egyptian Mazaher ensemble presents ritual music called Zar, which helps purify and reconcile the soul.

On Thursday, the festival continues with an open-for-all showcase day. It is an equally fantastic opportunity for young performers and the novelty-seeking audience. This year, you can listen to playful songs by Koszika, an artist from Transylvania. You can see Zarina Prvasevda, who elaborates on Macedonian vocal tradition. Then Jazzanitza plays Bulgarian ethno jazz (also known as world jazz). And three bands from Hungary were also given the opportunity to perform: BudaPesme, who evokes Balkan cafe vibes, Ephemere, who reshapes chansons, and Amaro Duha, who cherishes the Oláh Gypsy traditions.

The showcase concerts can be visited for free at the Szimpla Kert on April 13th.

Travel around the world at the Akvárium Klub

The captivating flow of music reaches new heights on Friday and Saturday. The artists performing at the Akvárium Klub and Erzsébet tér will very likely push you out of your musical comfort zone. On April 14th, the members of Emilíana Torrini & The Colorist Orchestra lead you into their special world with their latest album, Racing the Storm. Some cinematic sounds here, a little love and magic there, and a good dose of pop make the perfect recipe for a cheerful start.

Budapest Ritmo is the place where you cross the world and step into something dramatically different in a matter of seconds. Such as the Tuareg Resistance. The members of Tamikrest immediately shake us up with their psychedelic music and brave political stance, while pointing their weapons, guitars and vocals, at the audience.

One concert hall away, hope, connection and cross-border similarities unfold in the performance of a Ukrainian and a Polish girl. Daga and Dana, i.e. DAGADANA, fire up the stage with a world music mix: jazz, funk, folk songs, and electronic beats - bravely, honestly, wildly. Closing the night, DJ Koulla P. Katsikoronou & DJ Kraaaouuu will give you a taste of the Cypriot party scene.

On Saturday, April 15th, you will be dancing. That is guaranteed not only by the familiar Cypriot Monsieur Doumani & Óperentzia but also by the Italian Fanfara Station. The explosive energy that is created when a brass band meets rhythmic instruments, and electro has to be released somewhere after all.

Later on, you can immerse yourself in the sultry nightlife of Bucharest in the 1920s and 30s thanks to Corina Sîrghi and her band. During the evening, you will also find out, with the help of Vocal Sampling, whether it is possible to play Cuban classics and rock hits with the vocal alone. Afterwards, you will enter the special and intimate realm of Magalí Sare and Manel Fortiá, who will bring modern Catalan jazz, blending bass, vocals, and Spanish and Latin-American tunes.

Documentaries at Budapest Ritmo

Having debuted last year, the music film section will return this year, permanently linking the festival to the increasingly strong documentary film scene in Budapest. For instance, you can watch Taarka, the world's first film in Seto (the language of an ethnic minority of Southeast Estonia). It recounts the legend of Hilana Taarka, who was born into poverty in 1856, but always stood out and gained fame by singing. Another must-see is The Female Voices of Iran, which gives you an insight into the lives of female singers who raised their voices against oppression.

Let's have a look at the Hungarian section! Ábel Regős' brand new work will make a debut here, presenting VENI (Veronika Szász), whose mix of folk songs, jazz and playful electronica makes her one of the most promising acts on the scene. Then you can see a family saga, co-created by Uljana Quartet, directed by Anna Korom and cinematographer Flóra Fecske. This atmospheric piece, focusing on women, was one of last year’s Ritmo highlights. Another highlight is a piece made to the music of Дeva. The screenings are hosted by the Toldi cinema during the festival.

Tickets, passes and an exclusive experience - Budapest Ritmo PRO

You can purchase passes that provide access to all weekend events on the website of Budapest Ritmo, as well as day tickets for the opening day on Wednesday. You can also opt for the PRO Pass, which offers a more special, professional and deeper festival experience.

Besides unlimited access to all concerts and film screenings, the PRO Pass also includes a two-day professional conference, which tackles topics such as oppression, war, solidarity and the power of music. As part of Budapest Ritmo PRO, you can also participate in exclusive networking events, panel discussions, workshops, and personal meetings. In addition, the PRO Pass also provides access to the Budapest Ritmo database too.

Find all the details on Budapest Ritmo here, and browse the programme of Bartók Spring International Arts Weeks here.