Conversation with Diószegi László, president of the Martin György Folk Dance Association, regarding history, development following the governmental changes of 1989 and present status of the rating system for amateur folk dance groups. It was agreed that in light of changes and course of development of the movement, it is time for some changes in the system. Next general meeting of the association is May 9th, 2009. By Ónodi Béla
Announcement: Documentary fi lm on Transylvanian musicians ’Életek éneke’ [’Song of Lives’]. Director: Bereczki Csaba. Now available on DVD. 101 minutes. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Shot on location in Transylvania. The film version was made from a longer series for Hungarian TV, which is also available on 3 DVDs (285 minutes). See announcement in Hungarian for names of the musicians included in the films. More information in English at website http://www.eletekeneke.hu/
Koboz Instruction DVD – Fábri Géza. Produced by the Mester Tanoda Foundation, Szeged, 2008. 100 minutes. In Hungarian. An instructional DVD for learning to play the plucked instrument known as koboz – a Moldavian lute. It uses arrangements of traditional music for this instrument and includes 8 beginning exercises for producing chords, learning the rhythmic plucking and accompaniment for 12 songs, as well as 3 dance melodies. A website has also been established dedicated to making material available to koboz players (http://www.koboziskola.hu/). Review by Bolya Mátyás
In the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania there is a village called Magyarvalkó, which seems to have inspired PhD student, environmental landscaping engineer Eplényi Anna and PhD student in Hungarian and aesthetics Kardeván Lapis Gergely to embark on a project of ’open space design’ in that village. The project is an intellectual excercise referred to as ’landscape poetry’ and/or a ’literary garden’ related to Magyarvalkó’s cemetary and the poetry of Jékely Zoltán.
National solo dance festival – January 2009. Held for the 19th time in Békéscsaba, Hungary. Th is is a serious three day event. Contestants arrive from all over the Hungarian speaking territories (mostly from Hungary itself ) to compete for the title of ’Golden Spurred Dancer’ (for the men) and ’Golden Pearled Dancer’ (for the women) – a nationally accepted designation of excellence as solo folk dancer. There is compulsory material and material of each dancer’s (or couple’s) choice – to be danced in front of a jury of five distinguished ’older’ dancers– professionals in the field. Dancers competing here have already successfully competed at regional preliminary competitions. Report by B. Koltai Gabriella (see report in Hungarian for names of the winners).
In the wake of history Kóka Rozália’s series: life stories of Hungarian women. Most of the stories include the period the of WWII and the displacement of people during that period. The story in this issue is of nationally recognized Master of Folk Arts, traditional singer Mrs Illés Imre, Erdős Ágota, who was born in the village of Hadikfalva in Bukovina in 1929. She learned her songs there from her great-grandfather. She and her family were expelled from Bukovina in 1941 along with most of the Bukovina Hungarians. They relocated in Northern Serbia and but soon had to leave in the wake of events of WWII. Then they settled in Hungary’s Tolna County. Today she lives in the town of Érd near Budapest and sings with the Bukovina Székely Folk Song Circle there.
City Baroque – Paths and detours in the art of Hungarian folk dance. After a short course in the history and development of the Hungarian folk dance movement starting in the 1930’s, it turns out that this is a scathing review of a new piece in the repertoire of the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble: ’Labyrinth’ – Part two of their Bartók Trilogy. The review particularly criticizes the main choreographer of the piece: Kovács Gerzson Péter – who is also an active artist in Hungarian alternative contemporary dance. „....this piece has no relation, either in form or content, to the folk art that Bartók was immersed in and which he lifted across to art. In Kovács’ work the name Bartók is merely a point of reference, nothing more than a useful false signpost...” While Sáry László’s music was praised, the way it is used in this piece was not – and so on. Review by Diószegi László – first published in Magyar Nemzet Magazin 2008 Nov. 29.
Savanyú Józsi – Hungarian outlaw – Part II. In 1881 a robbery took place in Csabrendek (Hungary). It was the most famous robbery connected with Savanyú Jóska – the legend is preserved in a ballad. Here information from the press at the time, is presented along with legend, giving us a detailed look at information available on this famous Hungarian outlaw. A ballad about another famous outlaw, Patkó Sándor, is also discussed. By Vas János ’Panyiga’
Dance notation symposiums in Hungary. In 2008 two symposiums on dance notation were held at the Institute of Musicology in Budapest: one in June sponsored by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and one in November sponsored by the Hungarian Academy of Dance (soon to have university status). Both of the symposiums were held comemmorating the 80th anniversary of the introduction of kinetography (at a dance congress in Germany), along with the 50th anniversary of the death of Rudolf Lábán, the Hungarian who formulated the system. Individuals active in dance notation in Hungary were the participants and presenters at the symposiums. Methods of teaching dance notation to dance students and children, a computer program for writing notation and an internet database including dance notation were mentioned here. The opportunity for communication in the field inspired the participants to organize more such symposiums in the future. Dance notation has been taught in Hungary since the 1940’s. Report by Fügedi János.
Interview: Eplényi Anna is an environmental landscape engineer, drawing and folk dance teacher from Budapest dedicated to ’rebuilding folk culture’ – especially in Transylvania. She is actively involved in several projects in Transylvania with goals of nurturing existing traditions in Transylvanian villages, while also developing local appreciation for the traditional culture. Interview by K. Tóth László excerpts from interview published in ’Magyar Nemzet Magazin’ 2008 June 28.