Magyarpalatka / Pălatca double bass playing style. This article discusses some specific details about the playing style of three different bass players from the village Magyarpalatka in the Mezőség region of Transylvania. None of these gentlemen are still playing. Two of them have passed-away, one is no longer playing because of health reasons. The musicians described are: Mácsingó Márton „Karcsi” (1934–1992) Kovács Márton „Puki” (1941–), Kodoba Károly „Ica bácsi” (1924–2000). By Koncz Gergely – from a recent Hungarian Heritage House publication on instrumental folk music – Palatka Folk Music.
Kása Béla – Photographer. An exhibition of photographs of Transylvanian musicians was at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest from January 18–30, 2014. Béla is known for his haunting and unique portraiture – of Transylvanian village musicians, herders in Hungary’s Hortobágy region, the Muzsikás Ensemble, Transylvanian Gypsies, and Western India’s Rabari people, etc. His photographs have been featured many, many times in folkMAGazin over the years. Printed here is Berán István’s speech that opened the exhibit at the Palace of the Arts.
Kóka Rozália’s column: love and courtship in the village in ‘the old days’. This is a sad story from Bukovina about a young man who fell in love with a girl. This girl had an older sister that wasn’t married yet. The father of the girls wanted the older daughter married before he’d give his second daughter away. Finally the father agreed to let his younger daughter get married first. The wedding and festivities all went fine – until the groom woke up the next morning to find that the older sister of his bride was the one in bed with him. Selected from Kóka Rozália’s book, Egy asszon, két asszon. A collection of tales from Bukovina and Moldavia.
Review: Három a… a new full length program by the Szőttes Ensemble – premiered in Pozsony (Bratislava, Slovakia) on November 28, 2013. The program features traditional dance and music from: Dunántúl (Southern Hungary), Mezőség (Transylvania) and Felvidék – or Hungarian communities in Slovakia (in this case specifically Zoboralja, Magyarbőd, Gömör). This professional chamber dance company is based in Pozsony and has been functioning continuously since 1969. Their specialty is material from the Hungarian communities in Slovakia. They perform regularly in Slovakia and Hungary, in 2012 did a one month tour in Australia, etc. The artistic director is Gémesi Zoltán. Review by Takács András.
CD reviews: Buda Folk Band’s new record – this band calls their own music: worldly (or… profane, secular, temporal) Hungarian folk music. They play acoustic music heavily based on Hungarian folk music. They are musicians who, according to this review, have equal portions of professional humility (talent) and enough ‘wild blood’ – to put some fun into making good music. The Rév Band’s new recording Révület is another new recording that is highly recommended here. They play acoustic music based and rooted in Hungarian folk music while moving out beyond that with taste and talent. By Rácz Mihály from: langologitarok.blog.hu 2013/12/16.
Nyisztor Tinka’s struggles Part II. (Part I. can be found in folkMAGazin 2013/6.) Nyisztor Tinka is woman from the village of Pusztina (Pustiana) in Romanian Moldavia. She was born into a Hungarian Csángó family and into the traditional rural village life. Before communism her family had been one of the more well off (owned more land, etc) families in the village. Th e family upheld some tradition of educating members of the family. She was a good student and went abroad to study in Hungary, then in Switzerland – always on scholarships. After receiving her doctorate she returned to her village, where she still lives. The Csángó people of Moldavia are Roman Catholic. She has been fighting for Hungarian language mass in the village and her quest has taken her all the way to the Vatican. Because this ethnic group – the Csángó people – are a minority in Romania, it is difficult to avoid the ongoing pressure to assimilate. Nyisztor Tinka vigilantly works toward preserving her mother tongue and traditions. As told to Kóka Rozália.
The day after Christmas in 1971. Novák Ferenc, Foltin Jolán, Stoller Antal (all choreographers and researchers) and Módos Péter (writer) set out in a Trabant on a trip to Transylvania to do field collection work on traditional dance, music, and songs. They went to Vársonkolyos (Șuncuiuş), Szék (Sic) Vice, Erdőszakál (Săcalu de Pădure), Pusztakamarás (Cămăraşu), and Jobbágytelke (Sîmbriaş). Reprinted here is Módos Péter’s account of the trip that was first published in Új Írás XII. March, 1972.
folkMAGazin’s 2013 special edition is all about the Kalotaszeg village of Magyarvista (Viştea) in Kolozs County, Romania (in Transylvania).This is the village where Mátyás István ‘Mundruc’ (1911–1977) spent his life. Mundruc was the extraordinary traditional legényes dancer that the renown Hungarian dance researcher, Martin György (1932–1983), followed and documented for some 20 years (hence the dance monograph published posthumously in Budapest in 2004). The special edition provides ethnographical information about the village, and photos.
Jánosi Ensemble and Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos. The Jánosi Ensemble has been functioning since 1975. Early on, they began researching and working with folk melodies that the composers Bartók, Liszt and Haydn used in their compositions. “...Bartók adapted/utilized folk melodies in three different ways: there are times when the only the ’air’ of the melody can be felt; there are times when the melody appears but has been adapted; and there are times when he used the melody as a whole” – the latter type is what the Jánosi Ensemble began to research. Kavakos heard about their work and eventually contacted them. This led to some collaboration and an invitation to join him in a performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London in 2009. Interview by Grozdits Károly.
The Hungarian Heritage House’s Folklore Documentation Center. This article reports on activities, projects underway, existing collections and databases of this particular section of the HH – a state funded institution (1011Budapest, Corvin tér 8.). Amongst these activities are: completing inventory lists and digitalization of the entire collection inherited from the former Folk Dancer’s Resource Center (the Szakmai Ház), continuing work on the Táncház archive, publishing works on the dance house movement, archiving the various collections that have been obtained by the center and so on. Of course, „there is always more work to be done than there is money and staff to carry it out”. By Kelemen László director of the HH on behalf of the Folklore Documentation Center.
Review: Berecky János: A Magyar népdal új stílusa I–IV. [The “new style” of Hungarian folk song] Akadémiai Kiadó. Budapest. 2013. This publication presents the results of Berecky’s in-depth 20 year study of ‘new style’ folk songs. In Hungarian folk music research, when identifying songs and melodies the musicologists make distinctions between ‘old style’ and ‘new style’ tunes and songs. The emphasis on folk music research has mainly been on the ‘old style’ – since that has been the category in the most danger of dying out. The new style songs have not been considered as valuable. ‘New style’ refers to folklorized versions of composed tunes that crystallized into a style sometime in the mid 19th century. Printed here is folk music researcher Almási István’s review and summary of Berecky’s book and research – a presentation given upon release of the book on September 11th, 2013.
Molnár Vilmos (1962–) is a Transylvanian writer. He lives in Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) Romania. He is the editor of the journal Székelyföld and has published several books of his own. Printed here is a tale written in the local dialect about the time when the devil met a local photographer. Men from the Csík region are known for being tough characters. Not the kind you’d want to cross. So, they pose a challenge for even the devil.
A traditional Moldavian Csángó fiddler’s repertoire of melodies. Part I. The fiddler’s name was Gábor Antal (1926–2008). He was from the village of Lujzikalagor /Luizi-Călugăra, located 10 km southwest of the town of Bákó (Bacau) in Moldavia, Romania. This part of the study gives information about the Hungarian dance house movement’s relationship to the Moldavian music and dance, and review of reasons that relatively little research has been done on the instrumental music of this region. Descriptions from 1714, 1838, 1930 and 1997 of the traditional dances of the Moldavian Csángó people are cited. The region has been inhabited by Romanian, German, Polish, Ashkenazi Jewish, Armenian, Rusyn, Turkish, Gypsy peoples. The dances from here are predominantly circle and line dances, or simple couple dances with a fixed structure. Also discussed: traditional music of the region, the village and an overview of Gábor Antal’s life history. By Lipták Dániel.
New Publication: Körner, András: Hogyan éltek? – a magyar zsidók hétköznapi élete 1867–1940 [How did they live? The everyday life Jews in Hungary 1867–1940] Corvina Kiadó. 2013. Budapest, Hungary. ISBN 9789631361667 The author’s aim was reconstruction of Hungarian Jewish everyday life. Assembling some 250 photographs for the book was a project in itself. The book covers religious and non-religious (assimilated) Hungarian Jewish culture. Interview by Dombi Gábor –published in Népszabadság 2013. Nov. 30.
New CD: Szokolay Dongó Balázs – Privát népzene [Private folkmusic] Dongó plays bagpipe, shepherd’s flutes, saxophone and tárogató. His music traditional folk and improvised music based on Hungarian folk. On this new CD are 12 short pieces by Bartók and Kodály performed in archaic peasant music style; and his own contemporary folk music arrangements. Dongó describes it as “a rustic modern direction”. Printed here are: Kiss Ferenc’ recommendation and Dongó’s own description.
A survey of the „discovery” of , and ways that Hungarian folksong has been used and popularized over the years – outside of its natural habitat – including mention of the various publications on folk song and media coverage. The article concludes with comment on the success of 2012’s folk dance and music talent show and contest „Fölszállott a páva” televised on Hungarian TV. By Mrs. Bencze László Dr. Mező Judit – college lecturer, folk music researcher.
Love and courtship in the village in ‘the old days’ – Kóka Rozália’s column. One of the stories is about a young man from the village of Istensegíts in Bukovina. Before he turned 17, he and the neighbor girl fell in love and she got pregnant. The boy’s parents wouldn’t let him marry. By the time he returned from the military – his girl had really “been around” so he lost interest. He went off to work in Moldavia, met a Slovak girl and wanted to get married. The people in his village thought he should marry the girl who had his baby instead. When it came out that she had been so unfaithful and then lied about it – he was allowed to marry the Slovak girl. Selected from the book: Egy asszon, két asszon.
The Forrás Folk Dance Ensemble is an amateur folk dance ensemble based since 1985 in the town of Százhalombatta, Hungary (home also to a huge oil refinery). Százhalombatta has been hosting an international folk dance festival for years. In 2013 Forrás was invited to tour in Mexico. They performed in Monterrey and other cities. Support for the tour came from: City of Százhalombatta, Balog Zoltán and the Hungarian Human Resources Ministry, the public education and folk arts sector of the National Cultural Fund, City of Ercsi, Beke Busz Kft. Report by director of the group, Szigetvári József.
Bede-Fazekas Zsolt’s story Part I – Zsolt was born in 1961 in Győr, Hungary. He worked as an actor and theatre director in Győr until the end of the 1980s. Starting from the beginning of the 1980s, the Hungarian secret police began a sequence of surveillance and intimidation because of his alleged anti government type activities. He was threatened and forced to spy on his friends. Finally at the end of the ‘80s he and his wife defected. From Austria, they emigrated to Canada and then settled in Toronto, where they still live and Zsolt has a Hungarian language radio program, Hungarian bookstore and often invites Hungarians to perform in Toronto. As told to Kóka Rozália.
An evening of Foltin Jolán’s choreography was held at Budapest’s National Dance Theatre on December 21st, 2013, in celebration of her 70th birthday. It was a retrospective of some of the best choreographies, which included folk dance, dance theatre productions and pieces for children, that she has done over the years for the Honvéd and Bihari ensembles. Names of the works performed: Harangok (Bells), Asszonyok könyve (Women’s Book), Kőműves Kelemenné (Ballad of Mrs. Kőműves), Egy régi kertben (In an Old Garden), Inferno, Gyerektánc (Children’s Dance). By Novák Ferenc, first
published in A Tekintet. 2014/1. Budapest.
A story about resisting temptation that plays out in a village between a young mother and the unlucky batchelor who lived next door. Another selection from Kocsis Rózsi’s memoires (born in Szék 1932/died 1999), published by Juhos Kiss Sándor, Juhos-Kiss János.
Czingel László 1944–2014: A productive life. A key figure and contributor to the Hungarian folk dance movement in Slovakia, he was active from the 60’s on – as folk dance choreographer, dance ensemble director, events, festival and workshop organizer, folk dance researcher in Hungarian communities in Slovakia. By Takács András.
A lost language. A piece about the lost dialect of a village in a remote corner of Eastern Europe on three borders: Slovakia, Hungary and Ukraine. It laments the changing times, regimes, communism and governments that have come and gone; each one leaving its own marks and changes on the delicate culture there. The young people from this area become “migrants” – heading to the cities, taking on new ways. Only afterwards do they look back wistfully realizing what they’ve lost. By Borbély Szilárd – first published in Élet és Irodalom LVII. 27. 2013 July 5th.
New CD: Szeredás Ensemble: Outlaw ballads and songs, and prisoner’s songs of Hungary’s Hajdúság, Hortobágy, and Sárrét regions. Released by Szeredás 2000 Bt. Accompanied by background information on traditional vocal and instrumental music, these genres of songs, and the regions. Includes
bibliography. By Kálmán Péter “Cucás”.
A traditional Moldavian Csángó fiddler’s repertoire. Part II. The fiddler Gábor Antal (1926–2008) was from the village of Lujzikalagor / Luizi-Călugăra, southwest of the town of Bákó / Bacau in Moldavia, Romania. Discussed here are: issues of categorizing the melodies – the system in Bartók’s Rumanian Folk Music (volume one – instrumental melodies) was used as a point of departure. The melodies studied here fall into two categories. The categories and 7 kinds of dance tunes are described. By Lipták Dániel.
The Semiotics of Symbols on Carved Wooden Grave Markers of Kalotaszeg and Székelyföld Regions of Transylvania. The shapes and symbols carved on these grave markers indicated the age, sex and marital status of the person buried there, without need for words and written inscriptions. The article is divided into pragmatic analysis, and semantic and syntactic analysis. Includes bibliography. By Sáfrányné Molnár Mónika.
The Hungarian Academy of the Arts held a special meeting in the village of Salföld on May 8–9, 2014. Located in Hungary’s renowned Káli Basin, Salföld is just 3 km from Lake Balaton and is well-known as an artist’s community. The weekend included lectures on local history and geography, tour of the traditional local architecture, exhibition of work by local artists, a literary evening, screenings of fi lms shot in the Káli Basin, jazz concert and street theatre performance. Report by Kóka Rozália.
Report on the Eurofonik Festival held on April 11–12, 2014 in the conference center in Nantes, France. Focus of the festival was world and folk music. Mainly French musicians were present, but there were also musicians from the UK, Bulgaria, Norway, and Mongolia. Open workshops in traditional choral singing were also offered in the afternoon. One of the most well-recieved bands was Les Freres Guichen from Bretagne (two guitars, one accordion). By Fehér Anikó.
Love and courtship in the village in ‘the old days’– Kóka Rozália’s column. This is the story of a man from Bukovina born in 1895. He served in WW I, married quickly during the war when home on leave, but had to report back to service immediately. He was captured and was a prisoner of war. After 3 years he was finally released and walked home. By then his wife had a baby from another soldier. Completely distraught, he left the village and went to do farm work in Moldavia where he eventually met a girl he wanted to marry. He was Catholic and divorce was unheard of. After some time, the church decided that his very quick wedding during the war could be annulled and he was able to marry the woman he spent the rest of his life with.
The Hungarian Museum of Ethnography – Interview with Dr. Kemecsi Lajos director. The museum, presently located at Kossuth tér across from Parliament in Budapest, is planning to move to a new location to be built on 56-osok tere (on Dózsa György út previously known as “Felvonulás tér”) next to the city park. The new museum building is due for completion by March 15th 2018. The archives and restoration workshops are to be moved gradually and sooner to a separate central warehouse location on Szabolcs utca in Budapest. The museum plans to stay open throughout the transition period. By Grozdits Károly.
Bede-Fazekas Zsolt’s story – Part II. Zsolt was born in 1961 in Győr, Hungary. He was an actor and theatre director in Győr until the end of the 1980s. From the beginning of the 1980s, the Hungarian secret police began a sequence of surveillance and intimidation because of his supposed anti-government activities. At the end of the ‘80s he and his wife defected. They were granted asylum in Regina, in Canada’s Saskatchewan Province. As part of the arriving immigrant program, they were obliged to stay for 6 months in Regina and attend English language classes. After 6 months they moved to Toronto. Zsolt and his wife have ever since lived and worked in Toronto. First he worked as a gardener, then went on to do graphics work. He acted in Hungarian theatre in Toronto, eventually bought the Hungarian bookstore, organizes and supports Hungarian cultural events in Toronto and has a Hungarian radio program. Since arriving in Canada, he and his wife have raised 3 children who all speak Hungarian. As told to Kóka Rozália.
Parapács Band: Bëbocsátlak (Fonó FA 299-2) Parapács was a winner of the 2012 Páva talent competition broadcast on Hungarian television. Their new record presents traditional music (Hungarian, Slovak and Gypsy) collected in Slovakia. The fiddler of the band is from the region and had the opportunity to learn directly from the legendary traditional musicians from the village of Abaújszina/ Seňa, Slovakia.
Csík Band: Amit szívedbe rejtesz [What’s hidden in your heart] (Fonó FA 300-2) This is the Kossuth award winning Csík Band’s 10th record. It is different from the previous ones in that the material contains original compositions by the members of the band. “No matter what the band plays – they remain a folk band…of course they also like contemporary alternative music which works well with the folk music instrumentation…they still strive for balance…” Some good guest musicians cooperated with Csík Band for the recording.
Olsvai Imre (April 2, 1931– February 19, 2014) was a folk music researcher and composer. He was Kodály Zoltán’s youngest student, earned two degrees from the Liszt Academy of Music, was member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences folk music research group, collected over 7000 melodies in this region, published more than 20 works and received many awards in recognition of his work. Printed here is a report made with him on his 70th birthday.
The 2nd Baranya County solo dance festival was held in Pécs on April 5th, 2014. Th ere were 43 entrants in the children’s category, 18 in the youth category and 39 adults performing traditional dances from 7 villages and regions in Baranya County, Hungary. Dances of the Bukovina Székely ethnic group were well represented given the signifi cant number of people from Bukovina living in the region. Jury members: Busai Norbert, Busai Zsuzsanna, Radák János. Sponsored by the National Cultural Fund. Report by Molnár Péter – festival organizer.
Stories from Szék. “In my childhood the men played flute. True, it was mainly the older men who played; the younger men didn’t play – only the shepherds in the pastures. When a man came home from working in the fields, he would sit out on the porch...lean back against the wall and the quiet sound of the flute would creep into a person’s soul...” This is the story of Minya whose greatest sorrow was that his wife complained bitterly that his flute playing was a waste of time. Another selection from Kocsis Rózsi’s memoires (born in Szék/Sic 1932, died 1999), published by Juhos Kiss Sándor, Juhos-Kiss János.
The Hungarian Kitchen – Traditional foods of the Göcsej Region. Göcsej is the historical-ethnographical name for part of Zala County in southwestern Hungary; traditionally a poor, isolated area. Use of spices in the region was limited to those found in the garden and surrounding fields: tarragon, basil, parsley, dill. As a forested area, mushrooms and game were also part of the fare. The bread was sourdough mixing rye flour or corn meal with wheat flour. Fresh pork was eaten only in the winter right after pig slaughtering; the rest of the pig was smoked and lasted until the wheat harvest. Soups were made of whatever was in season at the moment. Meat soup and roasted meat were eaten only on holidays. Recipes included are: buckwheat soup, cottage cheese soup, a bean and cabbage dish, two kinds of pasta and “fumu” the local version of kalács or sweet brioche bread. By Juhász Katalin.
The Hungarian dance magazine, Táncművészet, is being published once again. The magazine began in 1951. Publication was interrupted in October of 1956, then didn’t start up again until 1976 with folk dance researcher Maácz László as chief editor. Maácz led the magazine until he retired in 1990. After the political changes of 1990, a private foundation took on the magazine and Kaán Zsuzsa became editor. When she died in 2010 publication stopped again. In 2013 the Honvéd Ensemble decided to try to revive the magazine. They have succeeded in bringing together local dance companies, professional organizations and cultural funding to insure the continuation of the magazine. Issue XLII. 1. has been published. By Bolvári-Takács Gábor director of the magazine.
New publication: Sándor Klára: A székely írás nyomában [On the trail of Székely script]. (Typotex Könyvkiadó, 2014. Hungary. 350 pages. ISBN 978 963 279 387 0) Sándor Klára is a Hungarian linguist. What is known as rovásírás or székely írás – has become somewhat controversial in Hungary, and there is a lot of myth surrounding it. Székely writing is a very old form of script from the Székely region of Transylvania dating back as early as the 1400s. Not enough is known about it. Sándor Klára of the Altaic Department of Szeged University has been researching this subject since before the 1990s. Surviving examples of this writing are found in some old churches in Székelyföld.
A traditional Moldavian Csángó fiddler’s repertoire of melodies. Part III. Gábor Antal (1926–2008) was from the village of Lujzikalagor /Luizi-Călugăra, located 10km southwest of the town of Bákó/Bacau in Moldavia, Romania. At www.folkradio.hu/folkszemle/liptak_moldvaihegedus/index.php you can find samples of written music, song words, and recordings related to this study. Here summaries and descriptions of examples are provided on three categories of this musician’s tunes: dance music – strophic melodies, vocal tunes played on violin, melodies from the wedding traditions. Includes bibliography. By Lipták Dániel.
Thoughts on Reviewing Staged Folk Dance. “Though there are some excellent choreographies and the [Hungarian folk dance] profession is progressing nicely, the press generally leaves something to be desired – for a lack of professional, objective, and constructive criticism...” Discussed here are: the pure source, Bartók and Kodály, ‘contemporary-ism’, tradition as a tool, show business, the critic’s prejudices. Dreisziger Kálmán’s thoughts – which were inspired by a conversation with Ertl Péter.
Thoughts after the second round of the Páva – Hungarian TV’s folk talent show. The first televised Páva Hungarian talent contests were in held in 1969/70, 1977, 1981, 1983. In 2012 a new Páva folk talent contest series was televised and brought unexpectedly large TV audiences, so another round was scheduled and completed early this year. The 2014 series was also highly successful with an unprecedented number of Hungarian viewers. The 2012 and 2014 Páva series used the contemporary mainstream TV talent contest/reality-show-with-judges format. Of course there has been controversy surrounding use of this style of show. However, instead of promoting mainstream international style popular music – these program series promote authentic style Hungarian folk dance and music – making this genre available to a much wider audience via Hungarian television. By Agócs Gergely – Páva’s professional coordinator.
Folk Tradition – a Hungarian Heritage House program fostering talent in the folk arts. Having won 8 million forints support funding in 2014 from the National Talent Program, HHH has initiated programs including folk dance, folk music, folk tales and oral traditions, handcrafts. 8 programs including camps and workshops have been organized for supporting talented elementary and secondary school youngsters to practice and further their knowledge in these areas. 7 programs for adults – supporting teachers and practicing folk artists working in these areas – have also been developed and initiated. Report by Sándor Ildikó.
The Bihari Ensemble was in Istanbul, Turkey at the beginning of August to participate in the Büyükçekmece International Culture and Arts Festival – along with dance groups from 24 countries and 1000 participants. Bihari had 5 performances and participated in two parades during the 8 day festival. Büyükçekmece is located some 40 km from Istanbul. Bihari’s performances presented dances from Szatmár, Rábaköz, Székelyföld, Kalotaszeg and Southern Slovakia regions. Report by Barcsay Zsombor.
The many faceted Kiss Ferenc will celebrate his 60th birthday on October 25th at “BMC” in Budapest’s 9th district with a concert with many friends and his group the Etnofon Zenei Tarsulás, along with a new recording. Kiss Feri is a composer, folk musician, music publisher, ethnographer, writer, poet, free thinker; he composes music for film, for kids, for grownups and lately refers to himself as ‘sound architect’. Here Ferenc looks back on his career to date – telling about his years with the Vízöntő, Kolinda, Etnofon groups, his work with the Bihari Dance Ensemble, choreographer Novák Ferenc, with Makovecz Imre on the Hungarian pavilion for the 1992 Seville World Expo and establishing Etnofon record label and publisher. His current projects are the 7 Towers Festival (with the Fonó), and a music production: Leánydicsérő. Discography and bio information included. Interview by Küttel Dávid.
On September 18, 2014 the Guzsalyas Dance House at Marczibányi tér Cultural Center in Budapest celebrates its 25 year anniversary. When the former Tatros Band – Kerényi Róbert (flutes), Sitkéri Zoltán (flute), Horváth Gyula (koboz, hit cello), Sándor Ildikó (voice) – started the dance house, they decided to concentrate on music and dances from two regions: Gyimes and Moldavia. Then the popularity of dances and music from those regions soared. Hosting the celebration are: Somos, Fanfara Complexa, Szigony, Tatros, Kőketánc bands. Also joining the celebration: Zurgó, Berka, Tázló, Csürrentő, Mentés Másként, Édes Málé, Fakutya and Csángálók; with guests Dresch Mihály, Vizeli Balázs, Bolya Mátyás, Szalóki Ági, Balogh Edina and Boka Gábor’s Lopótök Theatre.
The Izmény Székely [tradition preserving] Ensemble was founded by Csiszér Ambrusné Margitka in 1970 for the occasion of the 10th anniversary celebration of the Izmény Agricultural Cooperative. With her direction the group remained together, became one of Hungary’s well known tradition preserving groups and is still together. Margitka and her family are Hungarian Székely people from Bukovina. Izmény is one of the villages in Hungary where the Hungarians expelled from Bukovina in the early 1940s, were permitted to finally settle. The Izmény group performs the authentic dances and folk traditions of the Bukovina Székely people. In this interview we learn about Margitka’s life and work with the group. Interview by Kóka Rozália – for her series on outstanding personalities dedicated to perserving tradition.
List of dance houses and dance courses for the 2014–2015 season
Kunkovács László’s book Pásztoremberek [Herders] is a photographcentered album with short concise ethnographic descriptions describing the pictures. The book provides an authentic portrait of the herders’ life today as seen from the inside; documenting primarily the life of herders of the Hungarian plains region (the Alföld). Highly recommended by Agócs Gergely. Kunkovács László: Pásztoremberek. In Hungarian. 2013. Cser Kiadó. Budapest, Hungary. ISBN: 9789632783369
Traditional Hungarian Kitchen: Körös Valley Part I. The Szarvas Region. The farming communities of Hungary’s Szarvas region have been inhabited by both Hungarians and Slovaks for centuries. The local cuisine is a mixture of both gastronomical traditions. Typical to this area are: brindza, caraway, haluska (noodles or dumplings with cabbage, etc), meat stews (pörkölt), great sausages, mutton, pork, poultry and fish. The soup for celebrations is traditionally chicken soup with vinegar and thickened with sour cream. Recipes provided are: Szarvas wedding soup for 100, potato soup, mutton stew with millet, Szarvas thin sausages, brindza cottage cheese and kapusznyika or lekvárnyika – a large baked pancake shape dough folded and filled with cabbage or plum jam. By Juhász Katalin. Source: Forschner Rudolf: A Körös-völgye, Szarvas gasztronómiája. Budapest, Planétás, 2005.
Report on activities of the Muharay Folkarts Association 2013–2014. The Muharay Association is an umbrella organization that supports groups of local performers dedicated to preserving and performing local folk dance and music traditions. The association organizes events, meetings, festivals and workshops for these tradition preserving groups from villages and towns all over Hungary, throughout the year. In the past year workshops were hosted for directors and future directors of these groups examining the dance material of a selected area, folklore, sociology, methodology, staging (dramaturgy) and direction. Festivals Muharay has organized so far this year with performances by these groups have been: a men’s dance competition in April in Isaszeg, May Dance Festival in Pécs, in June there was a juried festival of tradition preserving groups in Tura and at the Kapolcs Arts Festival at the end of July. By Antal László.
New recording: Szívükhöz nőtt dallamok [Tunes close to our hearts] – Dobroda has a new CD and new band members. Szabó István (double bass), Deák-Volom Dávid (accordion and winds), and Balogh Kálmán (cimbalom) have joined the band. The new CD features music from several villages of the Mezőség region, Sáros Slovakia, Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Moldavia, and two tunes from Hungary’s Palóc region. The band was on tour this summer in Poland with the Zemplén Dance Ensemble, performed at two festivals in Hungary and had concerts and dance houses in Iliny and Nagyréde. Check their website for upcoming performances. Interview from nepzene.hu.
A celebration of Balkan music – Palace of the Arts (Budapest) November 26, 2014. The Vujicsics Ensemble celebrating their 40th anniversary has invited Sebő Ferenc, Tolcsvay László and Hungarian rock musician, Szörényi Levente to join them in their celebration. Interview with Eredics Gábor (Vujicsics Ensemble) on connections in the music and plans for the concert. Szörényi’s music (with Illés, Fonográf, etc, ensembles) for example, contained many traces of Balkan tunes and was wildly popular in Hungary in the 60s, 70s, 80s. This will be the first time Szörényi and Vujicsics Ensemble perform together. By Marton László Távolodó.
The Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble announces a new program on Transcarpathian music, dance and folklore. Transcarpathia (today in the Ukraine) is a region inhabited traditionally by a mixture of ethnic groups: Hungarians, Ukranians, Russyns, Romanians, Gypsies and Jews. The State Ensemble will premiere the new show on November 16th. See announcement in Hungarian for dates of other performances. Choreography by Fitos Dezső, Kocsis Enikő, Kökény Richárd, Mihályi Gábor. Music director: Pál István “Szalonna”.
Interview with Kobzos Kiss Tamás. Tamás is director of the Óbuda Folk Music School (in Budapest) and an active musician playing mainly old music. He is a long-time member of the Vienna based Clemencic Consort and performs also with Accentus Austria. He plays koboz (cobza) a stringed instrument from the lute family played in Moldavia, Romania and Hungary. He started out playing music during the so-called ‘beat generation’, played Hungarian folk music and has travelled extensively to Transylvania seeking out traditional music. He is a recipient of the Kossuth award. The scope of his activities in music and teaching is far reaching. By Grozdits Károly.
On July 19th–20th, 2014 Brazil hosted the 12th meeting of South American Hungarian folk dance groups. Performances by the all participating groups and a gala in São Paolo were followed by a week of workshops (in the jungle) taught by Gaschler Beáta, Kovács Norbert (Hun) and Kupec Mihály and Andrea (Slo). Closing party and dance house were in São Paolo. Music was provided throughout by the Dűvő Ensemble (Hun). 5 groups from Brazil, 2 from Argentina, 3 from Uruguay and Ilosvai from Slovakia participated. The event was supported by the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Program, the Diaspora Committee, Ambassador Dr. Szijjártó Csaba and the Hungarian Embassy in Brazil. It was filmed by the Media Wave Foundation.
Széki Soós János – Whip and coffin – Juhos Miklós obituary. An extraordinary personality from the Transylvanian village of Szék [Sic, Romania] passed away in September. Széki Soós János conveys Miklós’ story (who as a boy braided the best whips in the village) beautifully in another poignant account of life in this traditional community.
Dance performance: On November 27th, 2014 at 7pm a performance presenting the first year students in the folk dance specialization in the Hungarian Academy of Dance’s program for training professional dancers. The event will be held at the Várkert Bazár in Budapest. It is organized by the National Dance Theatre. The announcement also gives a brief history of the training program (ongoing since 1971) and describes its present five year structure (4 years of secondary school + 1 year – according to the Bologna system). By Hortobágyi Gyöngyvér.
On September 5–6, 2014 the 1st meeting of Carpathian Basin dance house musicians was held at the Szentendre Skanzen (near Budapest). Based on the idea for a similar event that has been held in Translyvania since 2006, the festival was organized by the Hungarian Heritage House and the Szentendre Ethnographic Museum. The event featured programs on leading a dance house, playing music for dance houses, what makes a good dance house, history of Hungary’s dance house movement, managing a dance house band, folk music instruction, workshops with traditional musicians, and proper dance houses with the best dance house bands and dance teachers. Report by Záhonyi András.
Agócs Gergely: The social institution for mastering the musicians’ profession amongst Gypsy musicians (Slovak–Hungarian examples). First part. This paper falls into the following sections: I. Expanding the area of folk music research; II. The institution and system for training traditional musicians; Based on the informants’ stories, usual steps of the learning process. First published in Társadalomtudományi Szemle 2001/1., 2. évf. 1. sz. 151–166. Pozsony [Bratislava], 2001.
Thoughts on the “prímás” or lead fiddler competition held in Balatonfüred, Hungary on July 22, 23. This was a professional competition sponsored by the Hungarian Heritage House and the city of Balatonfüred, with support from the Liszt Academy of Music. Twelve Hungarian fiddlers from Hungary, Transylvania, Serbia and Slovakia participated. About half of the contestants received awards. One of the goals was to familiarize those interested and draw attention to differences between two important genres of the folk violin repertoire: the folksy composed music and the folk music. See article in Hungarian for list of contestants, award winners, members of the professional jury, and the band that accompanied each contestant. By Bolya Mátyás.
The Zala Folk Dance Choreography Festival happens every two years in the town of Zalaegerszeg (Southwestern Hungary). The winning choreographies of this year’s Zala Festival (April 2014) were performed again in a Gala at the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest in October. Following the performance was a round table discussion on folk dance choreography. Here are comments on the Zala Festival, the choreographies and music by winners of the festival: Sánta Gergő, Ágfalvi György, Zsuráfszki Zoltán Jr, Nemes Szilvia and Radics Ferenc. Report by Nemes Szilvia.
New CD. Berta Alexandra: Lelkem a lelkeddel [My soul with yours]. Dialekton 2014. Alexandra sings and plays zither. This is her second recording. A host of young musicians (students at the folk music department at the Liszt Academy of Music) join her playing music and songs mainly from the older layer of Hungary’s folk music. Recommendation by Balogh Sándor.
New CD: Bodza Klára – Ó, áldott Szűzanya [Oh, Blessed Virgin Mother] Sacred songs, archaic prayers and religious verses performed by a stellar group of musicians well versed in old music and traditional folk music. They provide sensitive accompaniment for Bodza Klára’s lyrical performance style. Released by the Fonó (FA 3602). Review by Sándor Ildikó.
New CD: Herczku Ágnes: Bandázom (FA 3562) – a Fonó release. Singer Herczku Ágnes’ new solo album is produced and directed by Nikola Parov whom Ágnes has been working with since 1999. Accompanying Ágnes are Nikola’s usual band, a group of young folk musicians and guest performers Dresch Dudás Mihály and Ávéd János. Traditional music with two original pieces by Herczku and Parov themselves.
“A banda” is the name of a performance by the Háromszék Dance Ensemble and Heveder band. Creators and choreographers of the performance are Könczei Árpád and Könczei Csongor – the theme of which seems to be a Transylvanian wedding. Printed here is Szász József Árpád’s commentary.
An international conference on the significance and specifics of national heritage along Hungary’s Northern border was held on October 11, 2014 in the town of Sátoraljaújhely. Lectures at the conference were given by Kelemen László, Király Katalin, Takács András and Urbán Vladimír representing the relevant Hungarian and Slovak institutions and organizations. The program also included performances by dance groups from the region on both sides of the Hungarian/Slovak border, a visit to and reception at a nearby Slovak village museum, and party with dance house in the evening. Ideas for further conferences are offered. Report by Takács András.
New publication: Fülemile Ágnes: Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival The Hungarian Program of the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, D.C. English translation: Zsuzsanna Cselényi. Balassi Institute / Research Centre for the Humanities of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, 2014. 208 pages / 277 photos. In 2013 Hungary was invited to be guest of honor at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Ágnes Fülemile (senior research fellow at the Institute of Ethnology of the Research Centre for the Humanities at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) was the Hungarian curator of the festival program. She has written a book about the festival. The bilingual book commemorates the festival and describes the preparations, organizing process, decision-making, concepts, complexity of the tasks, and teamwork.
Interview with Barcsay Zsombor who dances in the Bihari Ensemble and has full appreciation for the community that this has brought to his life. He began organizing folk events in secondary school and is already familiar with the processes of successful grant application – the key to organizing cultural events. He is now a 3rd year student at Budapest University of Technology and Economics specializing in technology management and works as a volunteer at the Palace of the Arts. By Grozdits Károly.
New publication: Sipos János: Kyrgyz Folksongs. l’Harmattan Kiadó, Budapest, 2014 – book and e-book in English. 416 pages, ISBN 978-963-236-899-3. The material in this book is the result of Sipos’ own field collection work in 2002 and 2004 in Yssy-Köl, Naryn, Bişkek, the At-Başı region and Talas. The book includes a brief introduction to Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz ethnogenesis followed by description of the musical features of Kyrgyz folksongs, classification of Kyrgyz tunes and an anthology of 332 folksongs. It also contains Kyrgyz song texts and their English translations, and comparisons with Anatolian, Azeri, Turkmen, Karachay, Volga-region (Tatar, Bashkir, Chuvash) and Kazakh folk musics.
Agócs Gergely: The social institution for mastering the musicians’ profession amongst Gypsy musicians (Slovak–Hungarian examples – part II). III. Historical background; IV. Examples – excerpts from interviews with 9 traditional musicians in regions of Slovakia inhabited by Hungarians. First published in Társadalomtudományi Szemle 2001/1., 2. évf. 1. sz. 151–166. Pozsony [Bratislava], 2001.
Changes in the professional status of the traditional musicians from the village of Magyarpalatka / Pălatca (Transylvania, Romania). This study discusses the following issues: Process of change in community events/celebrations; Change in professional status for Gypsy musicians; Tendencies for change in work, livelihood, standard of living; Use of space; The effect of the host medium; The musicians. By Rőmer Judit.
Traditional Hungarian Cooking: Körös Valley Part III – The Gyomaendrőd Area. In this area of Eastern Hungary there is a saying: “When there is bread, potatoes and fat in the house, then all is well”. Recipes printed here use simple ingredients and unprocessed foods: ‘Virgin Soup’ (simple vegetable soup with homemade dumplings), Gyoma Swabian chicken soup with homemade noodles, Tarragon chicken/turkey neck soup with sour cream and vinegar, boiled and seasoned bacon, and two holiday pastries: Körös Valley Zebra Kalács (a yeasted cake / sweet bread) and almond cookies. By Juhász Katalin.
New CD: Szlama Band (Dragony Gábor, Szlama László, Mihó Attila, Korda Ágnes, Pandák Viktor) – Dialekton, 2014. The Szlama Band plays a good mixture of village and city folk music mainly from Moldavia. Recommendation by Lelkes András.
New publication: Schubarth, D.; Santamarina, A.; Vavrinecz, A.; Pinheiro, R.: “Florencio, cego dos Vilares”. Santiago de Compostela, 2015, aCentral Folque – Centro Galego de Música Popular. The Galician fiddler, Florencio López Fernández (1914–1986) was a blind travelling musician who played all over Galicia in Northern Spain at village patrons’ day festivals, markets and other celebrations with his brother who accompanied him on the drum and wrote down and sold the texts of the ballads. After his brother’s death, Florencio was cared for by a farmer and his wife in the town of Fontaneira.