From small Slovak town to London red carpet – the Sendrei family band

Recording with famous film composer helped make musicians’ international name.

The Sendrei family band during the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows premiere in London.The Sendrei family band during the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows premiere in London. (Source: Archive of V. S. )

When famous British director Guy Ritchie asked renowned film score composer Hans Zimmer to record the soundtrack for his film Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows, the latter had no idea he would end up travelling all the way to a small Slovak village in the east of the country to fulfil his task.

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Because in the film a Roma woman saves the world, Zimmer decided he wanted Romani music for its soundtrack and began a search for musicians to record that took him across Europe.

Having previously travelled to Romania and Bulgaria, he was just about to leave Slovakia when someone told him to check out the Sendrei family band, and soon he was heading to Rudňany in the Košice Region.

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"So, my phone rang and someone from Bratislava said, 'Mr Sendrei, Hans Zimmer is here, he would like to find a band for a film.' I said, 'So what now?' They asked where we were. I said in Rudňany. They asked when we were next going to play. I said on Saturday. They asked if they could come. I said yes, but added that we were going to play on a football field," Vladimír Sendrei, leader of the Sendrei family band, tells The Slovak Spectator as he recalls the start of a musical journey which made him and his family internationally famous.

Zimmer flew to Poprad and travelled to Rudňany by car.

"We saw some non-Roma in the back. After the concert, they came to us and said that Hans Zimmer wanted us to record some songs and that they would pay everyone. We agreed. We performed for seven hours at a local Culture House, playing gypsy waltzes, and polkas. He played with us," says Sendrei.

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Related article Slovak film set maker who works for Hollywood productions Read more 

A call that changed everything

After a few hours, the Sendrei family band and Hans Zimmer parted ways. At the time, the band was unsure what plans, if any, Zimmer had for them. When he left he had just told them what he had seen was very interesting and that he would be in touch with them.

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