In the highlands again...

Bratia Muchovci
A veru Terchova


01. A ved sme my bratia
02. A ja smutný, zarmútený
03. Chlapec som ja, chlapec
04. A ked bolo trištvrte na jednu
05. Starosvetské
06. Viem ja jeden kopecek
07. Jeden, dva, tri, štyri, pät, šest
08. Jánošíkovské
09. Prednické nôty z Terchovej
10. A veru Terchová
11. Cierne oci
12. Na tej lúce
13. Co to diefca hovorí
14. Na salaši Podžiarom
15. Ludia sa cudujú
16. Bol som v meste Žiline
17. Zasadel som cerešienku
18. Mládenecké
19. Žartovné
20. Svadobné
21. Keby moje rúcky


František Mucha (vocals, viola, accordion),
Alojz Mucha (vocals, violin, flute),
Václav Mucha (vocals, violin),
Peter Mucha (violin, vocals),
Štefan Mucha (viola, flute, vocals),
František Mucha Jr. (double bass, vocals),
Rudolf Patrnciak (cowbell, end-blown flutes).



Hailing from the town of Terchová in northern Slovakia, the Muchov Brothers perform the stirring highland folk music of this region. Featuring violins, accordion and double bass as well as various flutes and cow-bells, this is music that has one foot in Central Europe and another in the folk traditions of Transylvania and beyond. Underpinning everything are the strong and resonant vocals, delivered either solo or in unison. It's a potent mix and a great advert for the music traditions of the Tatra region and beyond.

Many of the twenty-one selections included here feature the whole band performing together, multiple violins accompanied rhythmically by double bass, accordion and end-blown flutes. Generally, an instrumental introduction is followed by the vocal refrain, introduced by a solo singer before being joined by other singers. The pieces move forward in a similar fashion, vocal interludes alternating with instrumental passages. The voices are strong and proud, the vocal phrases short on embellishment but nevertheless impressive, particularly when the whole group joins together in song. The music lacks the sense of abandon that you find in Transylvanian folk music for example but is lively and dignified throughout.

Of the many pieces that follow the vocal/instrumental pattern outlined above, perhaps "A ked bolo trištvrte na jednu" is the best example. It would have been nice to see these gifted instrumentalists extend themselves a little more; the one track that does feature an extended introduction ("Prednické nôty z Terchovej") is a contender for the standout track on the album, building up a hypnotic rhythm before the singers burst in towards the climax in triumphant fashion. There are also two delightful songs featuring solo accordion and vocals ("Chlapec som ja, chlapec" and the title track). Both possess an intimacy and delicate beauty that differs from the rest of the collection. A couple of instrumental pieces featuring accompanying cow-bells and koncovka flute are less successful, appearing a little too orchestrated to my ears.

Slovakian folk music does not generally enjoy the kind of profile that some other Eastern European folk traditions hold with Western audiences. However, the more I hear the more I am persuaded that this is to the detriment of the wider music fraternity. Whilst it is no doubt difficult to get hold of, this excellent album would be a worthy addition to any collection of Central and Eastern European folk music.


 Terchova is a small village located at the entrance to the famous Vratna Valley and its rock formations of which the most famous is the Mnich-Monk and near by mounts of Rozsutec, Chleb and Velky Krivan. This is the village that the legendary Janosik, the hero of all Slovaks was born some 350 years ago.
The village is a home of the Mucha Brothers one of the most famous character's musicians of Slovakia.

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