1English Table of Contents 2020/1
Sárosi Bálint: Authentic Folk Music. This is the text for Sárosi’s (born in Transylvania, 1925) presentation in 2006 when he officially took his seat as a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Arts. He refers to Bartók’s three categories of folk songs (A, B, C) and argues against the notion that: “Hungarian nóta (composed folk-like songs) are of lesser value, or are even worthless and damaging”. Later on Sárosi says: “Folksong – is what the folk feel is their own song – not what is in the text books or popularizing publications…it is valuable because…it is part of tradition, expresses a situation, a mood, a memory, it relaxes, conveys a message, eases tension and last, but not least: it amuses and entertains”…He also examines the national music movement (roughly the last half of the 1800s), Gypsy musicians and the Gypsy band and their functions and place in Hungarian society and Hungarian music history.
Interview with Sikentáncz Szilveszter – president of the [Hungarian] Heritage Children’s Folkore Association. The Association was founded in 1990 to help secure and support the existence and organization of children’s and youth folk dance groups following the changes of government at the time. The Association started with 29 groups and 44 individual members. Today there are 150 groups and 80 individual members in Hungary and Hungarian communities outside of Hungary’s borders. This year some 60 events (festivals, competitions, etc) are planned in over 30 locations. The interview also discusses the importance, and ups and downs of building a community in a dance group. By Fodor Zsófia.
Kóka Rozália’ series: On History’s Path – diaries, letters, memories. Here is a segment from the life of the below-mentioned Lőrincz Gergely: on the period between 1941 and 1945. After arriving from Bukovina in 1941 with his family, they lived for three and a half years during WWII in the village of Istenes (today Meggyes/Višnjevac) in Serbia’s Bačka region. At the end of 1944 they had to flee from Istenes. They were placed for several months in the village of Szikics/Lovćenac (Serbia), then transported to the town of Baja (Hungary) in February of 1945, when Lőrincz Gergely was 13 years old.
Bukovina Life Stories – Kóka Rozália’s new series. Lőrincz Gergely’s lifestory. He was born Nyisztor Gergely in the village of Istensegíts/Țibeni in Bukovina, Romania in 1932. When his family was expelled from Romania with the other Bukovina Hungarians in 1941 – the Hungarian authorities changed his family name to Lőrincz because they thought Nyisztor didn’t sound Hungarian enough. As an adult he emigrated, lived and worked in Yugoslavia, Belgium and Germany. While still living in Germany he decided to write down the old Székely words and expressions he remembered. There were enough of them to fill a book which was published in 2014, entitled "Székely édesanyám sok szép szava” [My Székely mother’s beautiful words].
Instrumental Dance Music of Transylvania’s Nyárád/Niraj River Region. The Niraj (Hungarian: Nyárád) is a river in the Gurghiu Mountains, Mureș County, northern Romania. This is a study of folk music collection work done in this region by Seprődi János in 1908 and Bartók Béla in 1914: “...when examined in relation to one another they provide the most complete picture of traditional dance music at the time.” Basically the traditional cycle of dances done then was composed of: csűrdöngölő (or verbunk – a men’s dance), and couple dances: jártatós, forgatós, sebes csárdás (locally the dances were known by a wide variety of names). The dance music was played on violin, cymbalom and clarinet with or without other stringed instruments. “...The effects of modern life and culture began to change the traditional music (instruments used, the bands) and dances in this region, as all over the Hungarian language area, starting from the second half of the 20th century...” By Salamon Soma, Lecturer - Folk Music Department, Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest.
A story about a street in the Transylvanian village of Szék known as "Székely utca”. Until the mid 1980s, twice a year (around Pentecost and before August 24th – Saint Bertalan Day) artisans arrived from the village of Korond (at least 100 km to the east) by horse drawn wagon to sell the famous Korond pottery, which was essential in every Szék household THEN. Unfortunately that time has passed. By Széki Soós János.
Hungarian photographer Molnár Zoltán’s photos from his series called "Víz” [water] are presented in this issue of folkMAGazin. These were taken between 1999 and 2018 in Brazil, France, Turkey, Spain, Macedonia and Hungary of people who live near water – about their connection to water in nature, to the rain forests, to the world and life. The aim of the series was to show man’s relationship to water and ecological systems on the individual or community level. By Molnár Zoltán.
Interview with architect, ethnographer Kerner Gábor (born 1951, Miskolc, Hungary). He grew up Miskolc and as a teenager began working at the Miskolc City Planning Department. He moved to Budapest (circa 1970) and was hired to work at the Hungarian Historical Building Protection Agency, where he worked for two decades. During this time he was also an avid participant in the dance house movement. In 1989 Kerner moved to the village of Kővágóörs in Western Hungary’s Káli Basin where he had bought and restored a peasant house. He lived there until 2017. In Kővágóörs he was active in local government and numerous projects for preserving local architecture. There is discussion of being considered a “newcomer” in the village milieu. Now he lives in the town of Keszthely. He describes a recent project surrounding his new publication co-authored with Szilágyi Mária (2019) on traditional architecture of the larger Szeged region which extends into three countries: Hungary, Serbia and Romania. By Grozdits Károly.
New Publication: Almási István: "Most jöttem Erdélyből” [I just arrived from Transylvania]. Almási István, a Transylvanian folk music researcher who was born and still lives in Kolozsvár/Cluj Napoca, Romania – where he completed his studies, was a student of Jagamas János and an employee of the Folklore Institute. His first collection trip was in 1953 to the village of Türe in Transylvania’s Kalotaszeg region. The book contains 17 studies – from amongst Almási’s recent lectures, papers, publications. It was published in Hungary by the Hungarian Academy of Arts (MMA) in 2019. Two recommendations by Domokos Mária and Fehér Anikó.
Bartók Béla: Gypsy music? Hungarian music? (Hungarian folksongs on the German music market) (excerpts) "...what you know as Gypsy music, is not Gypsy music, because it’s Hungarian music: newer Hungarian folk-like composed music, which is played by Gypsy musicians (because, according to tradition, playing music for money is not an upper class thing). The reason this is Hungarian music, is because almost without exception, it was composed by Hungarian gentlemen...”. "... the folk-like composed music and the peasant music have influenced one-another, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t differentiate one from the other...” ”...the simplest village Gypsy musician plays completely differently from a musician that plays in a city Gypsy band...” From a lecture given by Bartók to the Hungarian Society of Ethnography and was published in Ethnographia 1931 . XLII. 2. Reprinted in 1966 in a collection of Bartók’s writings by Zeneműkiadó, Budapest.
The dowery’s role in Moldavian Hungarian marriage custom. This discussion of doweries and inheritance customs is based on the fact that traditional life in Moldavia is all connected to farming. "In Moldavia...generally the youngest boy inherited his father’s house, the father built houses or helped build houses for the rest of his sons; the daughters were married off. This system was known in Moldavia from feudal times...The groom brought real estate (a house and land, or the means to procure those)...” to a marriage. In some places however, the flax growing land was exclusively inherited by the women. There is mention of how collectivization (under Socialism) affected these traditions since family lands became state lands and could no longer be inherited. By Halász Péter.
Traditional Hungarian foods – Toffee-nut wedding cakes called "Grillázs” or "Pörkölt torta” are made of cooked sugar and nuts which is artfully formed into elaborate shapes such as: baskets of flowers, flower crowns, hens and baby chicks, house and garden, a stag, kissing pair of doves, etc. This article estimates the appearance of these cakes in the peasant tradition at approximately 1900. The master of ceremonies of the wedding brings in the groom’s toffee cake. The new bride smashes the cake. The more pieces it breaks into, the more years the couple will live happily together. Communities in Hungary still known for this tradition are Lajosmizse and Tápióbicske. By Juhász Katalin.