Presentation of the book by Peter Motyčka – 20 years of Hevhetia – Studio 5
Slovak Radio [Bratislava]
|August 20, 2021
|Mýtna 1 Bratislava
In 2021 Hevhetia is not only a record label with 280 issued titles featuring artists from 40 countries around the world or a music agency with a network of its own festivals at home and abroad, but it is also a functioning international exchange platform. This Košice recording company may not have entered the market in the best of times, but its birth certificate dating from the threshold of the new millennium shows that its parents were ambition and determination. Founder Ján Sudzina has succeeded in creating a strong brand principally because apart from the main recording company activity and communication with artists, he has striven constantly to penetrate foreign markets and build up international partnerships. It is precisely these which in time stimulated the development of our own HevhetiaFests and functioning JazzBus platform.
The result of these long years of effort is the fact that Hevhetia today is an arbiter of acquired taste in music, and its artistic attitudes and approach place it reliably among the elite European independent record labels. From the very beginning our label became home to a range of top Slovak artists (Miki Skuta, Nora Skuta, Andrej Šeban, Oskar Rózsa, Stano Palúch, Quasars Ensemble, AMC Trio), but nowadays its portfolio is predominantly and firmly international. In neighbouring Poland we are seen as one of the most prestigious independent labels, and several remarkable personalities have come under our wing (Michał Tokaj, Piotr Wyleżoł, Paweł Kaczmarczyk, Grzegorz Karnas), and many others feature regularly on the albums we produce (Dominik Wania, Adam Bałdych, Adam Kowalewski). Hevhetia has become an important partner for well-established events in Poland (Jazz Juniors Krakov, Voicingers Żory, PalmJazz Festival Gliwice) as well as cultural organizations (Adam Mickiewicz Institute). Hevhetia has had similar success in the francophone parts of Europe, and our portfolio of artists from France and the Benelux countries has grown considerably in recent years. What is more, our “regular” artists (Loïs Le Van, Daniel Goyone, Philippe Kadosch, Leïla Soldevila, Jelle Van Giel, Pit Dahm, Szymon Mika) bring in other established names through their own recording projects (Ibrahim Maalouf, Nguyên Lê, David Linx, Verneri Pohjola, Ziv Ravitz). Respected musicians such as Erik Truffaz, Arve Henriksen, Pat Mastelotto or Christian Fennesz participate regularly in Hevhetia projects thanks to the international renown of one of our most loyal artists, Slovak guitarist David Kollar.
We can boast of having organized nine annual editions of our local HevhetiaFest, six editions of HevhetiaFest in Budapest and in several cities in Poland, as well as a series of pilot events in Paris, London and Prague. The pandemic situation impacted most of last year’s activities, and various question-marks hang over events in the current summer months. Nevertheless, in addition to the capital cities just mentioned, this anniversary has inspired us to expand into the “eternal city” Rome, and an event in an even more exotic destination is in its preparation stage: in November the first edition of HevhetiaFest should take place in Egypt, shared between Cairo and a truly iconic venue, the reconstructed Library at Alexandria.
This guide to “20 Years of Hevhetia” is not a chronological, blow-by-blow account of the recording company’s development, because we have not yet managed to properly assess its status in the home cultural environment. Individual chapters draw attention to selected segments, but the result has very little in common with classifying them or defining their ranking in terms of their trend-setting importance or significance. It is more likely that particular projects occurred to the author at certain moments, and the inconstant (or ephemeral) nature of human memory simply led to others not being mentioned. The essential things remain forever recorded on CDs and LPs produced by Hevhetia. The white wave symbol on an orange background may not be especially striking on the cover, but on the other hand it is always a sign of guaranteed good taste and even better choice of music.
If you take a look at the countries surrounding Slovakia, you won’t find another independent recording company with such a thoroughly developed vision and wide spectrum of activities. At the risk of using a cliché, on the occasion of Hevhetia’s 20th birthday it only remains for us to wish the label many more years of enjoying the fruit from the trees planted out so providentially and purposefully since its inception. And that some recognition for it as a strategic cultural centre (or even trend-setter) might finally come from the home scene.