New publication: Kiss Ferenc, Keresztes Dóra: Mamó kertecskéje [Mama’s little garden] Etnofon Kiadó, Budapest 2018. Children’s book with CD – a musical tour through Mamó’s (Mama’s) traditional garden with stories, songs, illustrations and music – performed by Kiss Ferenc and a stellar group of musicians and singers. Recommendation by Sándor Ildikó.
"Liszt Mosaics" – Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s new dance concert premiered on October 31st, 2018 at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest. The performance evokes the character of Liszt’s work in a music and dance theatre composition – with tasteful, contemporary scenery as an important element. Works by Liszt, Chopin and Paganini are used in the production. Director: Mihályi Gábor. Guests: Szent Efrém Men’s Chorus, and pianist Farkas Gábor. Review by Kutszegi Csaba (www.tanckritika. hu).
Interview with Korzenszky Klára – "with the deterioration of customs and traditions, forming the connection between mother and child becomes more difficult". Klára is a folk singer and performer; but she also works as a child psychologist in a children’s hospital in Budapest. She stresses the importance of holding your child in your lap, looking into its eyes and singing to him or her. She describes how her children’s psychodrama groups work and discusses music therapy for children. She does children’s concerts with her band the Klárisok and has released two records of children’s material working with other folk musicians. By Ménes Márta (061.hu).
New CD: Pearly Clouds: Tóni Dezső, Enikő Szabó, Gary Lucas 2018 Fono FA-420-2 "Avant-folk, ethno jazz-blues…widening the borders of our notions of music and language" American guitarist Gary Lucas who has played with Captain Beefheart, Nick Cave, Lou Reed, Patty Smith and many more, teamed up with Hungarian singer Enikő Szabó and saxophonist Tóni Dezső. They played some memorable concerts together then recorded this CD.
New CD: Enyedi Ágnes: “Édesanyám sok szép szava...” FECD 066 FolkEurópa Kiadó. 2018. Recorded in Budapest. Edited and produced by Kelemen László, Enyedi Ágnes. Enyedi Ágnes – voice; András Orsolya – hit cello, voice; Enyedi Tamás – cymbalom; Mihó Attila – violin, voice; Salamon Soma – wooden flute, kaval, accordion, voice. Singer Enyedi Ágnes’s great-great grandmother and great-grandmother were both well-known and documented traditional singers in the Transylvanian town of Gyergyóditró/Ditrău, Harghita County, Romania. Ágnes researched, learned and recorded their repertoire for this project.
Kátai Zoltán performer, composer of Hungarian historical music and song, recieved the Hungarian Heritage Award on December 15, 2018 during an awards ceremony at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. "...Kátai Zoltan has been working for four decades to strengthen Hungarian national solidarity by making authentic history and folk tradition known and accessible so we can feel proud and preserve them for coming generations. His songs strengthen the feeling of proudness we have in the heroic deeds and historical events from our past, encourage us to use them proudly as a basis for planning the future.” Printed here is the laudation by Freund Tamás.
The Muharay Elemér Folk Arts Association is the organization that supports Hungary’s tradition preserving groups movement. On November 30th, 2018 a conference was held with the goal of exchanging ideas on: preserving tradition; where does the tradition preserving groups movement stand now and where is it headed? Representatives of member organizations and others interested in the work of the tradition preserving groups were invited. Printed here is a list of themes and issues addressed at the conference, and a summary of history of the movement. The history is broken up into periods: 1. Pearly Bouquet period 1931-1944; 2. 1948-1956; 3. after ’56; 4. the dance house movement. By Héra Éva.
12 Bricklayers. A Transylvanian tale of 12 Hungarian bricklayers who worked on a Romanian construction crew in the city of Zilah/Zalău. They could go home every two weeks. Once, on the way home, their truck driver stopped to eat at an inn. The 12 Hungarians waited in the truck. After awhile two of them went in for a beer. Romanians inside the inn soon began to harass them for speaking Hungarian and provoked a fight that ended in a brawl outside between 130 Romanians and the 12 tough Hungarians. Finally police arrived that took the Hungarians to jail in the nearby town and tried to beat them into signing false statements about the fight. They held out until an acceptable statement was produced. Later after a Hungarian representative in Romanian Parliament took the 12 bricklayers’ accounts of the incident to Bucharest, they were arrested and beaten again. As it turned out, amongst the Romanians that attacked them, there was one Hungarian who claimed to be the godson of Nicolae Ceaușescu leader of Romania’s severe totalitarian government. By Széki Soós János.
Remembering: Yosyp Cherniavets – button accordion, leader of the band (15.03.1945 – 07.01.2019) Yuriy Cherniavets – drummer, singer (11.07.1951 – 14.06.2018) “In late 2018 Yosyp Cherniavets was still playing for local events in his region around Tiachiv, Southwestern Ukraine and played with the band in Bucharest... his passing came just 7 months after the death of his cousin Yuriy, the band’s drummer and singer, bringing to an end a Ruthenian-Romani musical dynasty that spanned more than four generations." "...After his father the fiddler known as Manyo died in 1982, Yosyp led the Manyo family band, better known in Hungary as the “Técsői Banda” (band from Tiachiv) for over 30 years. The band’s style and instrumentation were typical of the mountainous upper Tisza River region—husli (violin), bayan (button accordion), bubyn (drum) and tsymbaly (hammer dulcimer) – but its rich, diverse repertoire set it apart from other local groups. Manyo played not only the traditional Rusyn (Ruthenian) wedding tunes typical of the region, but also Hutsul, Hungarian, Romanian, Jewish, Romani, Slovak, and Russian tunes. The band was a unique musical time capsule – a link to Transcarpathia’s ethnicallydiverse pre-war past....” In memoriam by Shaun Williams – an American ethnomusicologist who spent 4 and half years in Ukraine and presently resides in Bucharest.
Even though "Páva" – the Hungarian folk music and dance talent competition broadcast live on Hungarian TV has been going on since 2012, it was 2018’s show series during the advent season that brought on this criticism. A statement during the program by an unnamed professional from a ‘relevant national institution‘, provoked this negative review. The statement in question was: "...traditional peasant culture no longer exists therefore it is the task of the city institutions to perpetuate and present it." "...Naturally this comment is taken out of context and the person who said it doesn’t actually think the way this sounds. We think that the work of the public institutions, organizations, associations in the city that present and preserve folk culture so that folk song, folk music, folk arts can be used any day by anyone and in an everwidening sphere – is of utmost importance – but the question [always] is: What and how? [In the meantime] it must be noted that folk arts [practice and promotion] has become a sought-after source of livelihood...". Amongst criticisms: "...material taken from peasant culture is presented with sugar-coated behavior and acrobatics in a spectacular with ‘revue’ elements and over-done costume..." Páva "...is no longer a community building program with the aim of presenting our valuable [folk heritage] – instead it is simply a show, reflecting the notions of a few TV producers and consultants....." By Kovács Norbert "Cimbi".
Regölés in the village of Kiscsősz, Hungary. Regölés is the Hungarian word for the ancient custom of carolling done around Christmas and New Year’s. The custom has died out in many areas. In the tiny village of Kiscsősz in Western Hungary’s Veszprém County, the Élő Forrás Hagyományőrző Egyesület (Living Source Tradition Preserving Association) leads efforts to revive, preserve and re-introduce folk traditions. On December 27th a group of local people went carolling to the homes of the village residents, then carollers from the city of Debrecen in Eastern Hungary joined them at the celebration and party that followed. Report by Kovács Norbert "Cimbi".
"X-Faktor vs Páva – an unlikely comparison" of two talent competition programs televised in Hungarian on local television channels. "X-Faktor" is the Hungarian version of "The X Factor", a franchised show originating from the United Kingdom – featuring jury-rated performances of aspiring pop singers drawn from public auditions. The so-called “Páva” show is a strictly Hungarian folk music and folk dance talent competition in a format similar to The X Factor’s. Páva is described here as being "more entertaining and consumer friendly" than Hungarian X-Faktor. This writing applauds the Páva program as "refreshing, natural, high quality, entertainingly informative" with its staff, contestants and illustrious jury as being more "humane, friendly and qualified" than Hungarian X-Faktor’s. This review sees Páva’s MCs as the weak point of the program. Review by Rédai Attila www.liget.ro 2019 Jan. 4.
Bukovina, Bukovina – Part 13. Excerpts from Kóka Rozália’s book of memoires. In 1985 Kóka Rozália ended up joining the staff of "Kisdobos"– a Hungarian children’s magazine. First they asked her to submit a story then she applied for a writing job there. She was hired without specific experience as a journalist. After a rough first assignment and a journalism course, she became a respected member of the magazine staff. We also learn about her collaboration with actor Ferenczy Csongor in joint theatrical performances based on Bukovina folk tales, also incorporating Budapest folk musicians. Her collection of folk tales, some of which she collected from informants, some her own creations, formed the basis for the performances. She explains the use of her family’s Bukovina dialect of Hungarian.
Jávorszky Béla Szilárd is a Hungarian music historian. He has written numerous books on contemporary music – including the dance house movement. His newest book will be on the "The Vujicsics/Söndörgő Heritage". This excerpt tells about establishment of the Folk Music Department at the Liszt Academy of Music. Eredics Gábor (of the Vujicsics Ensemble) was an instrumental figure in the process.
New CD: Vadalma: Music of Elderflowers – 2018 Elder Records. Hungarian folk songs with traditional accompaniment and composed and improvised elements: "the original songs provide the framework..." Zina Bozzay – singer, composer, producer of this recording is active as a singer and singing teacher in Hungarian communities in her native California and studies folk singing in Hungary. Matthew Szemela – violin, Misha Khalikulov – cello
Shepherd, bagpiper, story teller, singer Pál István (1919–2015) would have been 100 years old this year. Resident of Hungary’s Nógrád County all his life, Pál István was a fantastic informant, a treasury of ethnographic and cultural information. Printed here are excerpts of interviews with Pál István which were included in ethnomusicologist Agócs Gergely’s doctoral dissertation entitled [“Traditional Instrumental Music Culture of Hungarians in Slovakia”] (2010).
Excerpts from a volume published in 1986 (Magvető Press, Budapest) containing personal diary entries, letters and narrative by Bukovina Székely wood carver Lőrincz Imre (1904–1995). The book tells his life story on the path from his native village of Istensegíts/Țibeni in Bukovina (Romania) to his final destination – the town of Majos, in Hungary’s Tolna County (today part of Bonyhád). This is a WWI story. In August 1914, the church bells in Istensegíts rang announcing the beginning of the war. That day the men in the village had to pack their bags and go off to war. Lőrincz Imre was 10, his father kissed him, told him to be good and to take care of the farm and the family. They never saw him again. His father died of dysentery as a Russian prisoner of war in Turkistan in 1915. Kóka Rozália’s series: On History’s Road.
Interivew with Foltin Jolán – dancer, choreographer. After celebrating her 75th birthday in September 2018, Foltin Jolán muses on her life, dance and choreography. She discovered dance as a girl in the Bihari Ensemble and tells about beginning her studies at ELTE (university) in the Hungarian department then immediately realized that she was never going to be a Hungarian teacher – she wanted to work in dance. She went on to the professional Honvéd Ensemble, and began doing choreography in her 30s. Her folk dance theatre choreographies were part of the Honvéd’s main repertoire and has done choreography for children’s folk dance groups all over Hungary. By Grozdits Károly.
Singer Bodza Klára gathered a group of her musician friends, singers and students to celebrate the Christmas season with a concert on December 21st, 2018. Folk songs and music of the Christmas season, old music, religious poetry, folk prayers. "The borders between folk and high culture, amateur and professional dissolved in performance of works that summed up several centuries of poetry and musical heritage and a personal faith in God." Review by Sándor Ildikó.
Hungarian food and tradition – it’s fánk season. This time of year (winter) is the carnival season of celebrations before the beginning of lent. A typical pastry of the season is fánk – more or less a Hungarian doughnut. Festivities and foods of the season in the town of Csömör (on the outskirts of Budapest’s 16th district) are described and some international doughnut history provided, along with two fánk recipes from the end of the 1600s and 3 newer recipes two of which are yeasted dough deep fried in hot oil, the other ("hájas") uses pork fat and is baked. By Juhász Katalin.