Album of The Week – Postcard From Budapest by Robert Severin 7 March 2020
Robert Severin and Innotet – Seonaid Aitken / Innes Watson / Patsy Reid / Alice Allan
Listen in the week when Auntie Liz will be talking to Robert about his stunning debut album about his family, the heroines that came out of Budapest and his own love story. It is one for the record collection on Saturday 7 March at 12pm
Postcard from Budapest, Robert Severin’s debut album, explores and pays tribute to the legacy of his Hungarian heritage and its connections to his home, Scotland. Robert’s parents met in Scotland, as refugees from the Hungarian uprising, in December 1956, marrying just three weeks later. They moved to London where Robert was born. Robert met his Scottish wife in Budapest in 1989 as the Iron Curtain was about to fall.
His father’s love of music made a significant impact on Robert as a child. He pursued a career in special education, throughout which his promotion of music in his schools was a constant feature. Since his early 20s, Robert has been writing his own songs and performing them solo, and in duos and groups, in the UK and overseas. His songwriting has covered a range of rock, pop, and folk.
In 2017, Robert attended two residential songwriting courses. The first was tutored by Sir Ray Davies, the second by Boo Hewerdine and Findlay Napier. On the second course, Robert met Innes Watson, an acclaimed Scottish multi-instrumentalist. During one of the workshops, Robert presented his song, Red Shades of Blue, to the other participants. Innes suggested that it would suit a string arrangement by his quartet, Innotet. This inspired and equipped Robert to realise a long held ambition to produce an album of original work.
Robert and Innotet recorded four songs together in May and December 2018 at GloWorm Recording in Glasgow, engineered by Andrea Gobbi. The album opens with Red Shades of Blue, which was inspired by a postcard from the 1930s that Robert found in a second hand bookshop in Budapest. It is followed by songs that draw upon destiny shaping events, remarkable individuals. Half of the collection draws upon the links between the histories of Hungary and Scotland.
Robert’s songs have been described as “touching” and “deeply moving” by relatives of the women he has researched and written about. He felt compelled to share their examples of compassion, courage, altruism, and unwavering humanity in the face of tragedy and unimaginable inhumanity. Robert relates these biographical snapshots in both narrative and lyrical forms brought to life by his affecting melodies. He has also included songs about his own family in this collection. Robert’s compositions, complemented by Innes Watson’s elegant and captivating string arrangements, have drawn comparisons to the music of Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles and the Hungarian balladeer, Tamás Cseh, among others.
Robert has been invited to perform his album at The Holocaust Memorial Centre in Budapest for its Hungarian debut in the second half of 2020.
1 Red Shades of Blue
2 Star in My Shadow
4 Time Heals (But the Healed Heart Still Hurts)
5 Crimson Burned the Night
6 The World Will Still Be Beautiful
7 Letter From Home
8 Rudi’s War
9 Leaving Motherland
10 Blank Page
11 September 89