A short portrait of an elderly Hungarian shepherd flute player, Mr. Kocsis János „Bori” of the village of Szék (Sic) in Transylvania. By Soós János
Thoughts in connection with the '98 Néptánc antologia Takács András, ethno-grapher from Bratislava (or „Pozsony” in Hungarian), reflects on the positive influence which the Hungarian folk dance movements have had through the years from the fifties to the present on the Hungarian, Slovak and even Czech folk dance movements in former Czechoslovakia and present day Slovakia.
Kocsán László has compiled this essay on the tales told by hussars – the special troups of Hungarian cavalrymen. „..after lights out time the quarters officer in charge gave the shrill and irrevocable order, 'Look for a story!' to a different soldier each night. The soldier in question had to crawl around under the beds in his night shirt until such time as he was able to reply, 'I humbly report that I have found one!' Then he was allowed to get back in bed and tell his story, tale, joke, whatever he knew from home or had made up."
Music, dance and handicraft summer camps A report on the Néptánc antológia '99 which was held at the Erkel Theatre and recreation center at Almássy tér in Budapest on Jan 23–24, 1999. Szigetvári József reviews of this two day festival of performances of selected choreographies by adult folk dance groups, children's groups and groups of authentic traditional dancers from specific towns across Hungary.
Announcement of the third conference on folk music teaching at the Cultural Center in Gödöllő, Hungary on April 23, 1999 from 10: 30am – 6:00pm.
There are two craftsmen named Tanka Tamás and Bárány Szilveszter who live in the town of Tapolca in southwestern Hungary who still make all kinds of shoes and boots for dance by hand. See article in Hungarian for the address and telephone number of their little store.
Farewell to Szalóczy Miklós, died. January 5, 1999, age 49 years. He was a music teacher and folk musician, who amongst many other musical endeavors worked for nearly 20 years with the Jászság Folk Dance Ensemble in Jászberény. dr. Mrs. Horti Báthó Edit
It's been ten years since the death of Bársony Mihály, hurdy-gurdy master craftsman and musician from the Hungarian plain. Here, some correspondence between him and Budapest folk musician Bártha Z. Ágoston has been printed as well as an announcement for the Hurdy Gurdy Festival in Tiszaalpár, Hungary from July 29th through August 1st, 1999. By Szerényi Béla.
A review of the November 28th, 1998 evening performance of young singer, Bakó Kati and her friends in Kiskunhalas, Hungary, featuring songs, dance and music from both Transylvania and Hungary. The event marked the 10th anniversary of Kati and her family's move to Kiskunhalas from the town of Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc) in Transylvania. By Mrs. Szakál György
Recent news about folk dance groups, bands, events, performances, festivals in Nográd County (northern Hungary) and across the border in southern Slovakia. By Hájas Tibor and H. Nagy Anikó
Announcement of release of a new CD of arrangements of authentic village gypsy music from the Carpathian Basin and Balkan countries by the Romanyi Rota Ensemble. Released by Fonó Records of Budapest.
Congratulations to Sebestyén Márta and members of the Muzskás Ensemble; Éri Péter, Hamar Dániel and Sipos Mihály, upon recieving the shared Kossuth Prize, highest state recognition and honour for contribution in the arts!
Kossuth Lajos – national king Part VII. of the series on how Hungarian history is reflected in folklore. Here are citations of how two other key figures in Hungarian history (namely Mátyás and Rákóczi) have blended into the figure of Kos suth Lajos and how the story of Kossuth is related in folk legend, verse and song. By Juhász Katalin and Szabó Zoltán.
Halász Péter writes about Hungarian folk music and the media, citing statistics on the amount of program time Hungarian folk music gets on the three major Hungarian TV stations, what is and has been considered folk music at all and discussing the necessary struggle to uphold tradition first within ourselves, our family, our immediate surroundings and then we can talk more about the media.
Campfire. An excerpt from the book Muzsikás évtizedek by the late journalist and writer Bankó And rás. This many layered selection from the book which was published in Hungarian by the Kós Károly Foundation in 1994, touches on everything from the dance house movement, the Muzsikás, field work collections in Slovakia to politics and war.
Leatherwork has always been an important craft of the Hungarians, with the some of the oldest methods still in use today. Császi Erzsébet interviews traditional leather worker Horváth Tibor and his wife Horváth Csanálosi Katalin of Füzesabony, Hungary about their work.
With the help of Agócs Gergely, Hungarian musician and ethnomusicologist from Slovakia, K. Tóth Lász ló interviews a fiddler from village of Horhat in the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia and treats us to further information about traditional music of Slovakia; the area that the Hungarians refer to as „Felvidék", for example; the music of Horhat and the music of Szászcsávás (a village in Transylvania) can both be considered as belonging to the wider category of the music Carpathian Basin.
The Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography in Budapest's 5th district announces two special exhibits: 500 chairs from the museum's collection. On exhibit from May 21st through September 24, 1999. Indian (native american) and eskimo handcrafts from both North and South America. On exhibit from March 19th – December 31st, 1999. In November there will also be an exhibit of photos from Mexico.
Pávai István offers a description of the newly established „Hagyományőrző Műhely” (tradition preservation workshop). This is the in-house archive of the Hungarian State Folk ensemble which cooperates with the other Hungarian archival institutions and operates an up to date multimedia (audio, visual, digital) documentary data base. The library of the great Hungarian dance ethnographer, Martin György has recently been placed here.
Kocsán László writes a well documented article on the folk beliefs, superstitions, spells, folk tales and customs of the Jász people, an obscure ethnic sub-group of Hungarians which resides east of Budapest in the Jászberény area.
Music, dance and handicraft summer camps
Annual Festival of Folk Arts and Crafts, August 19-22, near the Palace on Castle Hill in Budapest.
14th Hungarian National Pottery Competition This competition encourages Hungarian potters whose work „upholds regional traditions while developing them in contemporary, new forms". The work of 37 potters from all over Hungary is on display in Kecskemét at the Museum of Folk Crafts from May 28th through October 2, 1999.
A little information about the tradition of braiding wheat straw on the occasion of an exhibit of woven straw handcrafts at „Tímárház” in Debrecen, Hungary. By Hubert Ezsébet, ethnographer.
Traditional music today in the southern Hungarian town of Mohács Part one of an in-depth study by Avar Anna (musician and student of ethnography) that gives the historical background of the Sokác ethnic group and the musical instrument they call „tambura".
The Alba Regia Dance Ensemble of Székesfehérvár just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in April when many generations of dancers gathered together for the event. by Botos József.
An interview with the prolific and creative musician, Kiss Ferenc, about his newest CD „Nagyvárosi bujdosók” (the record notes are in Hungarian, but the Eng lish words „obscure organic music” appear somewhere on the cover), about the ups and downsof categorizing music, about a traditional jewish music CD which he has also been working on and about theatre music projects he is currently involved in, and so on. by K. Tóth László
Záhonyi András offers some thoughts on a new program of dances by the Maros Dance Ensemble of Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, Romania. This ensemble has drastically changed their style over the past few years, stepping away from the balletic Moysejev style in a more authentic direction.
Part two of an Anatomy of the Folkdance Festival in Szeged. Here Simoncsics János discusses the financial and organizational/direction aspects of this festival.
Since February this year there have been two several week courses in Budapest by two extraordinary traditional flute players: Legedi László István of the village of Klézse, in Hungarian Moldavia, Romania and Tímár Viktor of Hidegség, Gyimes, Transylvania. Both of these courses offered the opportunity to learn from these two musicians here in Budapest; a vast difference from the situation of just a few years ago when the only way to meet and learn from these people was to travel to them. By Benkő András
A critical review of four audio recordings released in 1998 specially in celebration of the 150th anniversary of 1848–49 Hungarian revolution. The recordings reviewed here by „Smirgli” are: Békés Banda: Huszárverbunk Egyszólam–Kalamajka: Megütik a dobot Jánosi Együttes – Kobzos Kiss Tamás: Kossuth izente eljött... Téka: Huszárgyerek, huszárgyerek
Szigetvári János reacts to Tímár Sándor's thoughts on the importance of folk dance and children's folk games as a tool in education, and the need for conscious preservation of cultural heritage; especially in the face of the effects of world globalization and an increasingly commercial world. (An underlying theme here is that one can better face the greater world if one first knows and is proud of who they are. S.F.) As heard at the Válaszút Dance Camp in (Rasruci) Transylvania on August 17th, 1999.
Mrs. Holecz István Kanyó Margit recieved the state awarded honour of Master of Folk Arts on August 19th, 1999. This extraordinarily talented woman performs traditional dancers and songs of her native village of Rimóc in Hungary's Nográd County where she also leads a local singing group and has provided many years of inspiration and a host of information to a whole country of ethnographers and folk dancers and singers. By Kóka Rozália
On May 28th, 1999 an all afternoon meeting was held at the Almássy Tér recreation center in Budapest to discuss the present and future of the táncház movement. Directors of various sponsoring cultural institutions, leaders of dance houses and musicians got together to talk about ways to best continue this more than twenty-five year old social entertainment phenomenon (which itself is based on a centuries old rural social tradition). Afterwards of course, from seven in the evening til dawn, a ball was held which presented the whole spectrum of dance houses in Budapest and beyond.
An in-depth article about the musician family dynasties and the various bands who have played the „Gypsy – Sokac (Slavonian) flavoured” tambura music characteristic of the southern Hungarian town of Mohács. By Avar Anna
Basket weaver Baji Imre of Debrecen, Hungary recently won the title of „Young Master of Folk Arts". Report by Császi Erzsébet
Recalling the final Festival of Folk Arts of the century, the grand showcase and market of Hungarian folk arts and harvest celebration which was held in the Castle Hill area in Buda and lasted from August 19th – 22nd, 1999. By Szántai Eszter
Where is Eastern Slavonia today? Szabó Zoltán offers some historical and geographical information and statistics on ethnic distribution as clarification of the area along the southern border of Hungary and between the Danube, Drava, and Sava Rivers which, he says, is often times too loosly referred as Slavonia.
Táncház-es and folk clubs
The 75 year old Mihalkó Zoltán is a master hatmaker who is still making felt hats by the old traditional methods that he learned from his family. Article by Császi Erzsébet
Part three of an Anatomy of the Folkdance Festival in Szeged. Here Simoncsics János discusses the financial and organizational/direction aspects of this festival.
Thoughts after attending the II. folk dance camp in Külsőrekecsin, Moldva. By Záhonyi András At this camp, on beyond the Carpathian Mountains, held in one of the ethnically Hungarian villages in Romanian Moldavia, the participants stay in the homes of families and have the opportunity to peek into the traditional village lifestyle of this remote group of Hungarians. Dances were taught by local dance group leader, Szarka Mária and her dancers. Flute and singing classes were led by local residents, musicians had the opportunity to play with local traditional musicians. The 65,000 so-called „Moldavai Csángó” people of these villages form an island of devout Catholics amongst the otherwise orthodox catholic Romanians; their masses are held in Romanian. Their Hungarian ethnicity is today only upheld as an oral tradition, given that their geographic location to the east of Transylvania affords them fewer rights in Romania than Hungarians in Transylvania have.
A report on the Ördöngös Folk Music Camp in Kiskunhalas, Hungary. This was the second time this children's music camp has been held. They were fortunate to be able to invite Hodorog András, traditional flute player from the Hungarian village of Klézse in Moldavia, to add to their staff of folk music instructors and celebrated guests. By Navratil Andrea and Bakó Katalin
Záhonyi András' thoughts on two camps that were held this summer in the Szekelyföld region of Transylvania: the first Folkarts Camp in Jobbágytelke (Simbrias) and the dance camp in Vajdaszentivány (Voivodeni) (1999 Aug. 15–22).
A few nostalgic words about the 8th Méta Camp in the village of Köveskál, Hungary. Between July 3rd and July 11th, this year 40 fiddlers, 10 bass players and 20 viola players were there to study traditional Hungarian music, dance, talk, hang out and have some fun with members of the Méta Ensemble and their friends. By Csontos Gabriella
A list of the Hungarian State honours awarded on August 20th, 1999. The Tree of Life award, Cultural Award, Master of Folk Arts and Young Master of Folk Arts. See the list in Hungarian for names of those who recieved these awards.
The memory of the Hungarian Martyrs of Arad How our history is reflected in folklore, part IX. October 6th will be 150th anniversary of the cruel executions of 13 Hungarian Army officers by the Habsburg Army during the war for independence of 1849. Szabó Zoltán lists some examples of how this tragic and famous event in Hungarian history has been reflected in folklore, song, painting, graphic arts by Hungarians and other ethnic groups living in the region as well.
An interview with Eredics Gábor as the Vujicsics Ensemble celebrates it's 25th birthday. By K. Tóth Lázsló.
Kocsán László describes some of the folk customs and beliefs of the December and New Year season from the Jászberény area, 60 km east of Budapest. Here are sayings, incantations, greetings and customs for pig killings, Lucia day, Christmas, and the New Year.
Szánthó Zoltán reacts to a statement written by Tímár Sándor in the previous issue of folkMAGazin. Here the theoretical question is whether or not it is „correct” to mix Hungarian and Gypsy dance motifs during a dance, point in case: Kis-Küküllő/Szászcsávás. Of course the answer from any upstanding dance researcher from these parts or well informed táncház movement dancer, would be that it is okay to do so, if they dance(d) it thus in the village or area in question. (Once again we see how easy it is for those on the outside to point the finger of authenticity and call the „ethnic police” on each other. All anyone involved in the „business” of imitating the music or dance from a certain place is trying to do, is presumably be as ethnically correct as possible while trying to recreate some magic in the material that originally inspired them. There will be eternal problems in this endeavor and eternal arguments. S.F.)
The „Masters of (Hungarian) Folk Arts” as sources for the folklore revival movement; dance personalities. Part 1 of a series. By Gombos András.
Report on the 1999 International Seminarium of Young Ethnochoreologists in Guilford, England at the Surrey University. By Gombos András.
Táncház-es and folk clubs
Kiss Ferenc, active composer, record publisher, musician gave 20 performances in colleges and universities across the US this fall with singer Szvorák Kati and a new band called Kőfaragók. „We fulfilled precisely that dual task of, both introducing Hungarian traditional music – it's regional differences (the „dialects") and the instruments – and (showing) how today's composers use this music". In this interview by K. Tóth László, Kiss Ferenc also tells of the many projects he is working on in music, theatre and new and planned releases of recordings from his record label Etnofon.
The Szászszorszép Dance Ensemble from the town of Martonvásár (located 35 km south of Budapest) celebrates its twentieth birthday with two performances: one in Martonvásár on Dec 11. one in Budapest at the „FMH” on Dec. 12th, 1999. Announcement by artistic directors Németh Ildikó and Szabó Szilárd.
Report and personal commentary on the 19th Folk Dance Festival in Szolnok, Hungary. by Szigetvári József. This bi-annual festival is one of Hungary's largest and most well known competitive juried festivals of adult folk dance groups. This year's festival was held on November 20–21.
A book in memory of the well respected composer and conductor Vass Lajos was published early this year entitled „Vass Lajos emlékezet", written by Bónis Ferenc.
Announcement of a new book by Paksa Katalin : Magyar Népzenetörténet (Hungarian folk music history). Book price 1800 HUF. The 2 CDs which accompany the book may apparantly be purchased seperately.
About the „Betlehemes” custom of Christmas pagent-plays amongst the Bukovina Székely people now residing in the town of Érd just south of Budapest.