Energetic, fun and always entertaining, Vardos generate tremendous enthusiasm wherever they play. They have learnt from traditional and Roma (Gypsy) musicians in Eastern Europe.
Vardos have toured internationally to New Zealand, Noumea in New Caledonia, Geneva in Switzerland and around Hungary, have showcased in the United States, and had successful shows at the Famous Spiegeltent in the Edinburgh Fringe. Vardos were nominated for the 2003 BBC Radio3 World Music Awards (Audience Award).
Television appearances in Australia include cameos on "Spicks and Specks", ABC TV, "The Footy Show", Channel 9, and Seachange (Series 3) ABC TV . They also feature in Ruth Cullen's documentary on artist Vali Myers, Painted Lady.
Alana Hunt formed the band in 1993 in Perth, where Vardos worked professionally for five years, during which time Alana also made two trips to Hungary to study Hungarian folk music with Beata Salamon (Meta folk music band) and gypsy music with Miklos Konyv. Vardos appeared sucessfully in many festivals in Western Australia including the Fremantle Festival and the Festival of Perth.
Sofia Chapman trained as a classical pianist until discovering and running away with the piano accordion in 1993. It has been said that she "could play Shakespeare's complete works with her eyebrows" (The Herald, Edinburgh). Sofia has performed at WOMAD Festival and has been a guest musician on CD's of Zulya Kamalova. She is also a composer and playwright, winning the Melbourne Fringe 'Best Emerging Writer' award for her epic The Four Accordionists of the Apocalypse in 2012.
Kirri Büchler is a multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, composer and sound artist who has performed in various ensembles in Melbourne and around Australia and has studied internationally. She has played and improvised music for Sanctum Theatre and Roundangle and has collaborated with Sofia as a sound artist and actor on her plays The Anorexic Chef and The Four Accordionists of the Apocalypse, the short film The Albino Bride and the band 'The Kurts'.
Vardos have have met and learned from gypsy musicians in the village of Mera, the town of Kolozsvar in Transylvania (Western Romania), lasi in Moldavia (far Eastern Romania), Hoteni in Maramures(near Ukrainian border), Banat (Western Romania) the village of Clejani (where they met renowned Taraf de Haidouks) and the capital Bucharest in Wallachia, Southern Romania. Vardos have also studied with folk musicians in Hungary.
AUDIENCE REVIEWS OF VARDOS PERFORMANCES
"If I were dead I would get up and dance because of the music"
"I'm 86 and it's the best thing I've ever seen!"
"It was good, to put it mildly"
"Check out the chops on those chicks!"
"Outstanding..... a great favourite"- Four Winds Festival
"Your enthusiasm and energy were infectious"- Maroondah Singers
"Their intrinsic musicality and faithfulness to the ethnic traditions of the music they perform is laudable. When so many so-called folk groups give only a vague impression of the cultures they represent it is refreshing to have such music played with authenticity"- Port Fairy Spring Music Festival
"The group played up to the theatrical promise of the music. They pranced around, adding animation to the musical tales of wedding joy and sadness, singing and shouting when the occasion demanded...The violinist's aggressive approach to her instrument was more Jimi Hendrix than Yehudi Menuhin. For drinking songs she took inebriated swipes at her bow ...the seductive effect made conventional classical playing seem wooden....Vardos know their music so intinately that sudden changes in pace and atmosphere happened smoothly and flawlessly." Simon Kidd, Melbourne Times