Item Details

From locality to translocality and cosmopolitanism: The rise of the Debrecen alternative–DIY scene

Issue: Vol 11 No. 1 (2016) Special Issue: Crossing national borders in Eastern European popular music

Journal: Popular Music History

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/pomh.36190


This article explores the alternative music scene in Debrecen, Hungary’s second largest town, in the first decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It describes the conditions of its emergence, highlighting the influence of western music and new wave DIY subculture that served as a catalyst in the identity formation of its participants, both musicians and audiences. It argues that in contrast with the politicized rock of the Budapest underground, the international dimension served as a founding element of scene-formation in Debrecen. The aesthetic cosmopolitanism was achieved through translating the affective packages and anti-mainstream sentiments of new wave music into the local context. This research is based on conversations with prominent members of the scene, and offers several case studies of Debrecen bands. It includes song lyrics to illustrate the cosmopolitan dimension of bands and records arising from the scene. It draws on the studies of subcultures, translocality and cosmopolitanism.

Author: Zsolt Győri

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