The compositions and improvisations on the album, ORIGIN, released in 2016, are those that inspire and have shaped Gwendolyn’s identity as a musician and artist. “ORIGIN - The Film”, documents the journey she and her ensemble made to record the album. The rehearsals and recording of ORIGIN happened over the course of just a week, but the preparation and prior rehearsals were held in numerous sessions before Gwendolyn and the musicians travelled to Budapest and Diósd. Wanting to honour the concept of “origins” through and through, Gwendolyn and the musicians arrived, ready to connect with the places where her musical identity took shape, as well as the hearth for some the compositions which the album pays homage to.
Gwendolyn is of Dutch and Hungarian descent, and her formative years were shaped by musical instruction and world travel. As a result, she has connections and ties to many cities throughout Europe and South Africa — she resides in Bern, teaches in Geneva, and spends considerable time in Dublin and Budapest. “Budapest is where the origin for my love of Hungarian music, as well as folk music, comes from. I was steeped in it from a very young age, thanks to my mother and her whole side of the family,” Gwendolyn explains.
Each piece on ORIGIN is connected to the next by way of its bravura nature and the tradition of music-making it is inspired by – the dances of Romani people or those of Spain, Jewish melodies and the folk themes of Rumania. It truly was a pilgrimage for Gwendolyn (as well as the ensemble) to go “home” to Budapest to lay the album’s tracks. It was a new experience for many of the players to be there, but was also a coming full-circle with the compositions which they were there to record, and which they had rehearsed for weeks. The players walked the streets and took in the sights alongside Gwendolyn. They all had the opportunity to be part of the very fabric and culture of the places which the pieces on the album reflect.