by Jarrett Hoffman
“If we were back in Europe where the band members’ families are from, we could fairly readily drive to each other’s houses,” Harmonia founder and accordionist Walt Mahovlich said in a recent conversation. “But we would never have met being from those different backgrounds — different worlds.”
This Friday, April 20 at 7:00 pm at John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Olmsted, the Church’s Performance Series will present the six-piece, Cleveland-based ensemble Harmonia. The program includes traditional Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Romanian, Croatian, and Gypsy folk music — the sounds of the players’ ancestry.
“Some of our musicians would never have been permitted to leave Europe prior to 1991, except possibly as refugees,” Mahovlich said. “But with the fall of the Berlin Wall, it became possible for people to leave. That certainly provided great opportunities for the West to hear some extraordinary players.”