Korniss Péter Photo Archive. In December 2020 photographer Korniss Péter donated the archive of his work from more than 5 decades (more than 34000 photos) – to Hungary’s Museum of Fine Arts. The well-organized archive is now housed in the Central European Art History Research Institute as the special Korniss Péter Archive. Amongst subjects of Korniss’ photography are: peasant life and tradition in Transylvania and Hungary, blue collar workers in Hungary, professional dancers and many more subjects. Also in December he was awarded the ‘Kriterion Wreath’ given to those who have presented Transylvanian culture to the world. A new volume of his photos was also published: “Korniss Péter Photography 1959–2017” in celebration of the event. Printed here are Grozdits Károly’s interview and an edited version of Barabási Albert-László’s laudation.
Literature: A piece written in memory of the Transylvanian Hungarian painter and graphics artist Kusztos Endre (1925–2015). This tribute by Transylvanian writer and journalist Lokodi Imre won the grand prize in the prose, poetry and essay category in a literature contest organized by the Petőfi Literary Association upon the 100th anniversary of the Trianon Peace Treaty. It is full of beautiful, especially Transylvanian imagery including references to the hawthorn trees, bears, the round shadow of God’s straw hat, linden trees, shepherds, plum trees. “But a row of plum trees remind us of Endre bácsi and I see his memory heading down a bear’s path.” Published on November 23, 2020 at: helyorseg.ma
Dance for children in traditional life of Jobbágytelke/Sâmbriaș, Transylvania. The researcher quotes mainly from interviews with folks from the village born before WWII. Dances for the ‘little ones’ were usually held separately from the adult dance events. Children meant elementary school children under the age of 14. Dances for kids were held around Carnival, Easter or in the summer. Fewer musicians played than for the adult dance events: perhaps violin, cimbalom, sometimes only a clarinet, flute, etc. The dance learning mainly occurred in a spontaneous way. Sometimes adults would come to watch, then perhaps show the kids something. The musicians and location were paid for the same way as the adult dance events: in hand made straw hats. The kids’ dances were held in people’s homes, in barns, perhaps outdoors in good weather, often danced barefoot. Mostly children were not allowed at the adult dance events. They ‘kids dance’ started at 2pm or so and lasted until dark. By Dóka Krisztina, includes bibliography.
New recording: Erdőfű Népi Kamarazenekar Fonó FA 456-2. Erdőfű Band is a group of dance house musicians active in Hungary. The members of Erdőfű are all dedicated to traditional folk music of the Carpathian Basin which they perform in the authentic style both for dance houses and in concert. The goal of their music workshop is to give their audiences a comprehensive view of the rich variety of folk music played by string bands for Hungarians and other ethnic groups all over the region. CD available at Fonó web shop, other distributors and in digital form.
Interview with Csoóri Sándor Sündi – folk musician, composer/arranger. This is the grandson of Csoóri Sándor the poet and writer (1930–2016); and the son of Csoóri Sándor (b. 1956) the folk musician (Muzsikás, Ifjú Muzsikás). Csoóri Sándor “Sündi” (born 1984) began playing music as a young teenager in Budapest playing viola with his father in the band Ifjú Muzsikás. He went on to play with a group of his peers in Buda Folk Band, now he plays with Ötödik Évszak, Dresch String Quartet and has been successful composing and arranging music for dance companies and theatre. Interview by Jávorszky Béla Szilárd first published in “Fonó 25” by Héttoronyfesztivál and the Fonó. Budapest, 2020.
Book review: Csoóri Sándor: [Wood shavings on the ground /notes on Hungarianness, art, folk art and public life] Published by Erdélyi Szalon IAT, Szentendre, Hungary 2020. Editors: dr. Balogh Júlia, Pálfy G. István ISBN 978-615-5068-51-5. The fifteenth volume of Csoóri Sándor (1930–2016 the poet)’s works, some of which are published for the first time here posthumously. “An opportunity to connect not with thought as a product, but with his way of thinking and it’s winding roads.” Review by Grozdits Károly first published at: librarius.hu 2020 January 6.
New publication: [The mystery of movement – Papers honoring the work of Fügedi János]. Edited by: Pál-Kovács Dóra, Szőnyi Vivien. L’Harmattan. Budapest. 2020. This publication is a collection of papers celebrating and discussing the theme of dance notation and the work of Fügedi János – Hungary’s leading expert on dance notation and a director of the dance research department at the Hungarian Institute of Musicology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The volume includes academic studies by 26 contributors all of whom are experts on the subject matter or are from closely related fields. The majority of the studies are written in Hungarian; with some in English from international contributors. The book is divided into 4 chapters and includes Fügedi János’ selected bibliography. Report by Székely Anna.
Old writings still relevant today – P. Vas János’ column. A short history of daily eating patterns in Hungary. "According to Hungarian sources from the middle ages the nobility, middle classes, and farmers all usually ate only twice a day: an early lunch during the morning hours (between 9 and 10am) and an early supper in the late afternoon." This was apparanty true all over Europe. The Hungarian peasantry started eating three meals a day at the beginning of the 20th century. By Kisbán Eszter from "Kis magyar néprajz a rádióban". Minerva. Budapest, 1978.
Kékfestő – Traditional Hungarian textile printing and indigo dying. This is a description of the small indigo textile printing and dying workshop in Kecskemét, Hungary created by the authors of the article. Also described is the group they have founded: Friends of Hungarian Indigo Textile Dying, in the framework of which they organize meetings and relevant workshops for those interested in the craft. A summary is included of their travels to a peninsula in the Gujarat region of India where many traditional textile crafts are practiced. By Hungarian textile artists Vidák István and Nagy Mari.
Farewell to ethnographer Csupor István (1952–2020). Csupor István began working at the Museum of Ethnography’s ceramics collection in 1983. He was a student of Kresz Mária and earned a PhD in ethnography at ELTE University in Budapest. He worked at the Museum of Ethnography for 33 years during which time he completed an important project reviewing the 22,000 piece ceramics collection. He published 11 volumes and 49 studies – all on folk ceramics. He curated exhibitions, founded the Dr. Kresz Mária Foundation and Ceramics Center and was president of the Hungarian Heritage House Folk Crafts Consulting Body. He retired officially from the Museum of Ethnography in 2015, but remained more than active in his field. The farewell by Vida Gabriella from the website of the Museum of Ethnography are printed here.
New Publication: Bonchida folk music I–II. Virágvölgyi Márta and Árendás Péter. Two volumes totaling 380 pages include ethnographic background material and technical studies of playing technique of the Transylvanian traditional musicians of the village of Bonchida/Bonțida. The focus is on the repertoire of four lead fiddlers, it also includes playing technique for accompaniment and a DVD. Published as part of a series by the Óbudai Népzenei Iskola and Zenei Anyanyelv Alapítvány with support from the Csoóri Sándor Fund. Budapest 2020. Recommended by Koncz Gergő.
Opinion: on the dance house movement’s and Hungarian folk culture’s relationship to the digital world and technology, especially during the Corona virus pandemic. "...a digital revolution didn’t occur in folk culture…they haven’t been prepared for using social media, their messages get lost in the digital labyrinth....” He points out all the advantages of communication, marketing and outreach and ‘being trendy’ via social media and the internet as a means for spreading the word of Hungarian folk culture. He feels reform in these areas is necessary so that Hungarian children can grow up knowing about their culture... By Gundy Kristóf.
A 2004 conversation with Halmos Béla. There have been so many interviews with Halmos Béla (1946-2013), but perhaps it’s been awhile since we’ve read one. He was a good talker. Here once again we are reminded of the impressive scope of Béla’s activities in and his total dedication to the dance house movement. As one of the founders of the movement, until his death in 2013 he was active as a musician, ethnomusicologist/researcher, he worked on TV programs documenting the dance house so that those beyond the inner circles might know what was going on, and a documentary film series about the movement’s village master musicians/singers, he established the dance house archive at the Hungarian Heritage House, and of course he saw the value of conversation and community. Interview by Fehér Anikó.
Life in Bukovina – from the writings and drawings of Lőrincz Gergely from the village of Istensegíts/Țibeni. The first story is told in Bukovinan Hungarian dialect, about how much can happen in village life during the time from the first toll of the church bells before mass until the final tolls actually calling the villagers in for mass. This includes getting dressed in the Sunday church clothing, cutting oneself shaving, exchanges with family members and neighbors and musings about the local pub. The other story reads more like a tall tale: "János bám" had been a wagon driver for a countryside agricultural cooperative who liked to drink 3 or 4 shots every morning at the local pub. When he died, two angels had a tough time carrying their heavy load up to heaven. When they handed his soul over to Saint Peter, he gave János the task of saying halleluja from 6am til noon, and hosanna from noon til 6pm. János was so bad at his task that God recommended he go back down to ease his soul and have a few wine spritzers with his friends... Kóka Rozália’s column.
On History’s Path – Kóka Rozália tracks the fates of Székely Hungarian families relocated from Bukovina: Fabián Margit was born in the village of Andrásmező/Tomislavci in the Bacska region of northern Serbia in 1943 during WW II. Her family were Székely Hungarians recently arrived in Serbia from Bukovina. Less than 2 years after she was born Margit’s family had to flee from Serbia. They ended up in Hungary’s Tolna County, where she was able to study beyond elementary school to teachers training college. Eventually she became an active ethnographer focusing her collection work and publications on the customs and traditions of Bukovina Székely Hungarians. She came from a tradition preserving family known as good singers. List of publications included.
Traditional basket weaving in Hungarian Csángó villages of Moldavia. Baskets in this region were made of various thicknesses of wicker or willow switches. Traditionally the Hungarians in these villages lived mainly from subsistence farming. Often the older members of the extended family who could no longer work in the fields were the ones who wove baskets. This study explains this traditional craft in the village of Pusztina/Pustiana (Romania), the role of basket weaving as a livelihood, collecting and preparing the willow switches (wicker), the basket weaving process, selling baskets, the traditional uses of the many forms of baskets. Today handmade baskets are being pushed out of everyday life by plastic bags and other containers. By Halász Péter.
Food and tradition: “flekken” – a roasted or grilled slice of meat – these days usually pork. This article provides mainly historical references to this popular meat dish. Flekken has lots of history and connections to the Transylvanian city of Marosvásárhely/Târgu Mureș from the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s. There is lengthy discussion of various pubs there that were known for their flekken. Flekken was and is a favorite meal served with beer or wine in pubs and restaurants. A recipe is provided for slices of meat marinated for at least 24 hours (in garlic, oil, small amount of mustard, salt, pepper, dash of paprika) with the slices stacked. When grilling, the pieces of meat should only be turned once – right after a small bit of juice arrives to the surface of the meat. Meat cooked too long or turned too many times will be tough, dry and rubbery. By Juhász Katalin.