Music on the Bone: The Extraordinary History of the X-ray Record

Explore the strange world of bootleg X-ray records at a talk by Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield, who will then record a live performance by Hungary’s favourite jazz singer, Veronika Harcsa, using this mysterious technology.

In the Cold War-era Soviet Union, popular culture was ruthlessly controlled by the state. A daring subculture of rebels and music lovers fought the system by recording banned jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and Russian samizdat music onto old X-ray film, a forbidden technology created by a unique group of Eastern Bloc innovators.

Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield of the X-Ray Audio Project will tell the astonishing story of the Soviet bootleggers and the Hungarian amateur archivists whose efforts helped recordings of high cultural value secretly survive the repressive Communist regime.

Hungary’s favourite jazz singer, Veronika Harcsa, will also perform live as they demonstrate the art of cutting music onto an X-ray plate using an original 1950s recording lathe to record the performance.

This is event is presented in partnership with the Hungarian Cultural Centre.

About the Hungarian Cultural Centre

Dedicated to enhancing knowledge and appreciation of Hungarian culture, the Balassi Institute Hungarian Cultural Centre London organises and supports a wide spectrum of innovative programmes to promote Hungarian art and artists in the UK. The Hungarian Cultural Centre London aims to bring the greatest achievements in Hungarian art and culture to international attention while encouraging collaborations between Hungarians and people in the UK.

About Stephen Coates

Stephen Coates, creator of the X-Ray Audio Project, is a composer, music producer, researcher and founder of the band The Real Tuesday Weld.

About Paul Heartfield

Paul Heartfield has worked extensively in the music industry, photographing many international bands and musicians and also works as portrait photographer for the Houses of Commons and Lords.

About Veronika Harcsa

Veronika Harcsa is a versatile Hungarian singer, celebrated internationally from Hungary to Japan to the US, for her music, a delicate and tasteful mixture of contemporary jazz and improvised pop, full of depth, inspiration and humour.