Should professional dancers be allowed to perform at festivals for amatuers? Szigetvári József thinks not, except if the festival (juried competition) is strictly one for choreography. This has become more and more of a question of late amongst dancers, dance groups and organizers of such dance festivals in Hungary. Opinions, arguments and further discussion on this matter are invited and will appear in the next issue of folkMAGazin.
In Dec. '99, Budapest's Bartók Ensemble went to Brussels to perform in series of performances with a Belgian group called the Hourvari Ensemble. A dancer from the Bartók Ensemble, Gordos Anna, offers a few thoughts from the experience. The hosting Belgian group danced Hungarian dances, but none of the dancers were Hungarian. Anna remarks about the group „...they take such an enthusiastic interest in the customs of another nationality...... accepting everyone as equals.. ..instead of looking for things that make them different, they look for things that bring people together...". She goes on to say „...this Western European attitude, born of tolerancy is something we still have to learn...".
Conversation with musician and music teacher Kobzos Kiss Tamás about his five day study trip to Scotland in the fall of '99. During his stay in Edinburgh he was able to collect quite a bit of information on how traditional and folk music is taught in Scotland, learn more about revival type movements there, and attend some social music and/or dance events (ceilidh, as sembly rooms, pubs). By Záhonyi András
By the end of March, the Tükrös Ensemble will have released a new CD of Hungarian traditional music of Szat már County from the 1900's. On this CD the band plays their favorite tunes from this particular part of Northeastern Hungary: tunes they have learned directly from musicans there, as well from field recordings of the great village musicians of that area. Árendás Péter's record notes are printed here. (This táncház band from Budapest specializes in traditional village music from Szatmár and Transylvania.)
Peter Amick interviews three members of Gázsa's band, the band that accompanied the Budapest Dance Ensemble on their recent tour of the U.S. and the Ensemble's manager. On foreign soil, in moments of reflection on what they do; some good information and insight on Hungarian music that rarely reaches the printed word, surfaces in this article. I highly recommend looking for it in English (here it has been translated into Hungarian)... See the Hungarian article for website address and name of the publication that the article originally appeared in.
The Bartók Béla Music Conservatory in Miskolc, Hungary is chiefly a music teachers training coll ege. At this school students may choose to specialize in any one of 18 different classical instruments, ecclesiastical music, solfeggio/music theory, or folk music. This is the first year that Hungarian traditional music has been added to the possible areas of specialization. Announcement by Lenkey Csaba, director
"Az Aranykert muzsikája” written by Ág Tibor is the 20th book in a series called the „Csallóköz Library". This most recent volume is on children's folklore and the songs and melodies connected to holidays and customs of this part of south-western Slovakia with a significant Hungarian population. Dance researcher, Takács András recommends this book.
A tale of Fehér Viktor's first attempts at collecting songs in his grandparent's village of Fedémes, trying squeeze a tune out of an old gentleman in a pub....
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.
Bagpipe, wooden flute player and maker Tobak Ferenc, (who for the past 9 years has been living in the U.S.), has made two trips to Hungarian villages in Romanian Moldavia searching for bagpipe players. These trips have not only uncovered musicians and instruments (Romanian and Hungarian), but an enormous amount of information and lore about this instrument in this part of Romania. Interview by Juhász Katalin. (Names of Hungarians here are left in their native order with the family name preceding the given name.)
Should professional dancers be able (allowed) to perform in amateur folk dance festivals? – Part two – It seems that Szigetvári József has got ten plenty of responses to the above ques tion he posed in the spring issue of folk MAG a zin. There is general agree ment at the moment that some official decision should be taken on the matter and some rules be made by the entities which or ga nize and sponsor such juried festivals and competitions. Any thoughts, opin ions and arguments are still invited on the matter.
Music, dance and handi craft summer camps
As a singer, story teller and ethnographer, Berecz András has an intimate relationship with a particularly rich side of the Hungarian lan guage and he offers some great exam ples bearing witness to the fact that language and intellectual creativity are not confined within the walls of cities and universities. Here are tidbits from his extensive travels talking to people, collecting and performing in the country side throughout Hungary, Transylvania and other areas where Hungarians live. Interview by Léka Géza
Upon release of a New CD: Dimó Dalai (Dimó's songs) Etnofon In a conversation with folk musician Éri Péter, the editor of this CD, we hear not only about the extraordinarily talented Gypsy singer of this recording, but also about the work of the great Hungarian ethnographer Martin György who made the field recordings that are being released here for the first time on CD. An enormous amount of recorded material has been left in the estate of Martin György, this recording is the first of a series which will present selections from the wealth of valuable material. Jávorszky Béla Szilárd – from the Budapest daily Népszabadság
Árendás Péter, kontra player of Budapest's Tükrös Ensemble reports on their month long tour to Australia in April. They were hosted by the Kengugro Dance Ensemble and the Transylvaniacs Band of Sydney. „Here at home when we go out to a táncház it probably doesn't even occur to us what a great thing we've got here, we can do this several times a week; we can hear and dance to live music. In Australia this is just a dream: an entire Hungarian band playing folk music... happened the last time 14 years ago..."
In dedication and celebration of dance, music, youth and fabulous display of ethnic variety. The speech that opened the Gala program of the National Táncház Festival in Budapest in March 2000. Dávid Ibolya, Hungarian Minister of Justice.
Commentary on the National Dance House Festival of March 2000. (Forthe first time in at least 15 years the annual dance house festival had to be held in a different place. The reason: the former location of the event, the Budapest Sports Hall, burned down in De cem ber 1999.) This year the event was held at the agricultural and commercial fair grounds in Budapest. As Vitányi Iván put it in his article, „not really the ideal place for a cultural event.” But he goes on to say that neither he nor anyone else has come up with a better solution for where an event of such magnitude could concievably be held. The Sports Hall wasn't ideal either. This year the fair grounds of fered more fresh air and space, but the sound was atrocious (is it possible to engineer good sound in a place like that?) and the dance floor was asphalt. However it continues to be an enormously popular and well attended event both for those who have never seen anything like it and for those who have been involved in the folk dance and music scene forever and want to run into every one they have ever known.
Nyisztor György of Méhkerék (1922–1987) by Gombos András. A study on an extraordinary dance personality from the ethnically Romanian village in Békés County in Eastern Hungary. Largly a listing of this traditional dancer's achievements, entries on him in the archives, his students and existing written materials on this man's dancing, with some comment on the changes in the role of local dance traditions during the later portion of his life and on how his relative fame and resultant travels affected his life.
An elderly woman from the (at least in these circles well-known) Transylvanian village of Szék, talks about her life. In summary it is some thing like this: she was sent to the nearest city to be a servant at age ten because of her family needed money to feed the younger kids still at home. During her 11 years of work in the city she was only able to go home once. The woman she worked for in Kolozsvár had offered to sponsor her education to be an actress, but her mother wouldn’t have it because of the „bad morals” of the theatre life. She got married at age 21 and from 1931 to 1951 she bore ten children. All of which lived. She has 42 grandchildren and still lives in the vil lage of Szék in a house made of some thing like adobe. And after all that her comment on the future: „May the earthly peace be eternal, because there is room for everything in its flow that starts with love..." Written by Soós János
Avar Anna reports that for the first time, musicians from within the borders of Hungary were invited to be guests of the „Final Hour” collection project at the Fonó; a program involved in bringing tradition al village musicians to Budapest for four days to record their musical repertoires. These first „Hungarian” guests were traditional tambura musicians from Southern Hungary from the town of Mohács and the village of Lothárd in Baranya County.
CIOFF's Folkloriada 2000, a large scale international folk dance festival, was held in Tokyo, Japan this summer. The Forrás Ensemble of Szászhalombatta was chosen to represent Hungary there. Director of the group, Szigetvári József gives his report of a catastrophically disorganized and not at all pleasant Tokyo portion of his group's Japan tour followed by the in every way perfect folk festival in Kitakiyushu.
A new recording by Abt records: Hungarian Bagpipe Music. The record notes by Juhász Zoltán are printed here and can be found in English on the recording itself.
Announcement for weekly meetings of Hungarian bagpipe players at the FMH in Budapest (11th District. Fehérvári út 47.) every Tuesday from 7:00pm. Karakas Zoltán also gives short reports on various bagpipers meetings, camps and performances which took place during the summer.
K. Tóth László reports on recent releases from the Hungaraton record label: a series of 29 CDs of the works of Bartók Béla (including selections never before recorded) and a CD of the music for the Honvéd Ensemble production, Tündérkert (choreography by Diószegi László, music written by Vavrinecz András on the basis of Kallós Zoltán's collections).
Záhonyi András gives his opinions and impressions of events he has recently attended: the camps in Felsőfalva (Transylvania), Jobbágytelke (Simbrias) (Transylvania), the Bilibancs camp (Hungary), the VIII Finnugor Folklore Festival (Hungary), Nagykároly Days (in Romania), and the 25th Birthday Concert of the Jánosi Ensemble at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, as well as the new choreography of the Udvarhely Dance Workshop (from Székelyudvarhely (Ordorheiu Secuiesc), Transylvania).
Vásárhelyi László writes a few words about the work and life of the late Hidas György. On June 25th, 2000 a plaque was dedicated in his memory in the village of Piliscsaba. Hidas György was a great dancer and leading figure in Hungary's amateur folk dance movement.
Between May 25 and 27, 2000, the first Transylvanian Dance Forum was hosted by the Háromszék Ensemble in Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfintu Gheorghe), Transylvania. Here the four professional Hungarian folk dance ensembles of Transylvania met to discuss shared professional and artistic concerns.The event included performances by all four ensembles. Könczei Árpád writes that, „Romania should be responsible for the maintenence and (financial) upkeep of these groups, but the artistic and professional support should come from Hungary."
A solo folk dance competition specifi cally for youngsters between the ages of 15–18 years old. This year the city of Eger was the site of the first solo dance competition for this age group. To be held bi annually. Report by Lisztóczki Mónika.
Táncház & Folk Clubs
Buka László reports from Debrecen, Hungary about a cultural organization called Motolla. A basic goal of this group is „familiarizing ourselves with and using our own culture more completely". Through well attended (150–250 people) family events organized at least twice monthly, people from all over north eastern Hungary gather for everything from dance houses, concerts and lectures, to traditional holiday celebrations and pig slaughtering.
It seems that the generation of folks in Hungary who were around for the beginning and the golden peroid of the folk dance and táncház movements, are now crawling back to dance. After rearing families and establishing careers, people now have a moment to realize that life without dance just isn't the same. Groups referred to here as „senior együttesek” are forming, and Szigetvári József is calling for an association of these groups, to organize festivals and so forth.
Announcement for release on home video of a series documentary portrait films on traditional village musicians. Biomusic has already released the first of the series of one hour films by Szomjas György and Halmos Béla. Already released is the film about prímás Zerkula János. For release in the fall is the portrait of another Transylvanian prímás, Maneszes Márton. By Fogarasi Lajos.
Ethnomusicologist, Halmos István, gives an account of a funeral in the village of Inaktelke (Inucu) in the Kalatoszeg region of Transylvania in 1991. Here he gives a description of the funeral wailing – the ancient custom of singing – crying at funerals. Two women – two widows – did the wailing, which had both text and melody and went on in waves of sound for hours on end, during the more than one day celebration which characterizes village funeral rituals of that area.
Dance Personalities – Gombos András, Ács György of the village of Tápé in southern Hungary (1890–1967) Another example of an extraordinary man, who was only different from the rest of the residents of his village in that he happened to be a gifted dancer – dancing the local dances with such intelligence and talent that he was known both locally and by the end of his life nationally as well. There are photos and films of his dancing in the national Archives at the Academy of Sciences in Budapest.
Annoucement of a Macedonian festival at the Fonó in Budapest's 11th district to be held on September 23rd, 2000. There will be two guest musicians from Pirinska, Macedonia as well as four dance groups and two bands from Hungary involved in performance of Balkan material. Hosting the event will be the Martenica Ensemble of Budapest.
Bagpipe music style and performance in the practice of stringed instumental bands. An academic article by Agócs Gergely dealing with identifi cation of tunes that were once bagpipe tunes from the repertoire of music played on other traditional instruments. Agócs Gergely is a musician and ethnomusicologist originally from the part of the part of the Palóc region which lies on the Slovakian side of the border. He has voraciously collected music all over Slovakia and currently lives and works in the Budapest area.
Timár Sándor – choreographer, dance educator – celebrated his 70th birthday on October 2. 2000 Through an interview with Hollókői Lajos, we learn alot Timár's life. Here the concentration is on the early years leading up to the Bartók Ensemble and the begining of the táncház movement that he was a key figure in starting. Starting from a childhood in the farm area of Szolnok, he later got much inspiration and training from the great dancer Molnár István and then as a contemporary and friend of Martin György. A life long inspiration for Mr. Timár has been in teaching dance.
At the beginning of this month, the Hungarian Minister of Culture appointed Kelemen László to be commissioner of a project to start a „Traditions House” (Hagyományok Háza), which will function at Corvin ter 8 in Budapest until its permanent home is finished next to the soon to be built (long in planning) National Theatre. The „Traditions House” is intended to be archive and literature, audio and video library – with the goal of making authentic materials on Hungarian folk culture available to the public. (from an article by Hanga Piroska in the newspaper „Magyar Nemzet". 2000 Dec. 7.)
The Christmas Shepherd's dance Pesovár Ernő's lecture on dance movements or traces thereof, within the custom of Bethlehem pagent plays during the Christmas season. Traditionally groups of men went from house to house in the villages everyday until Epiphany (January 6th) reinacting the Christmas story. While Pesovár explores the dance movements occuring within these traditional skits often having a shepherd theme, we get a good look at the various formats of this tradition as practiced from western Hungary to Bukovina (near present day Ukraine in northeastern Transylvania).
Magyar Rádio Rt held a folk music competition for bands of young people between the ages of 15 and 25, the final round of which was on November 26, 2000. A jury of respected professionals in the field awarded the following: Söndörgő Ensemble I. prize; Csürrentő Ensemble II. prize; Ifjú Muzsikás Ensemble III. prize
Millennium „Sokadalom” – an old expression for market From June 23rd to Aug 20th, 2000, a series of celebrations was organized in 7 different provincial cities in Hungary and Transylvania with the grand finale at Heroe's square in Budapest during St. Stephen's day (a national holiday). The celebrations included folk music, folk dance, street theatre and crafts markets. Report by Stoller Antal.
Announcing release of a new recording of traditional music from the Kis-Küküllő region of Transylvania. Recommended by Könczei Árpád, the recording features Bárdosi Ildikó, the Téka Ensemble, Juhász Zoltán and Németh Ferenc.
Kiss Feri interviews Tóth István Zoltán, director of the newly formed Center for research on a national image. This center is involved in exploring both Hungary's self image and what the outside world thinks of Hungary and Hungarians. Amongst the many theoretical and philosophical subjects brought up within the scope of this conversation, were Hungary's presence at such world wide events as the Sydney Olympics, the Hannover World Fair and upcoming world exhibitions, ideas such as initiation of Hungarian restaurant chain and public opinion of the Hungary's Milleneium celebration and its budget, and much more.
Henics Tamás tells about the Hungarian Millenium celebration in Sydney, Australia, where musicians Dresch Mihály, the Csik Band and others were hosted by the local Kenugró Ensemble and Transylvaniacs Band. Apparantly it was a good party.
Dance Personalities Vén Ferenc of Drágszél, Hungary Vén Ferenc, now 80 years old, has all his life worked in agriculture or related jobs in the area of southern Hungary near Kalocsa. As a young boy, he was already recognized amongst his peers at village children's dances for his dance ability. His talent and affinity for the dances of his native locale has remained with him throughout his life. He has been a leading figure in every form of dance group of the area throughout the years and the various changes brought on by wars, history and the changing times. He earned the nationally recognized title of „Master Folk Artist” in 1980. Films of his dancing are on file in the National Archives. By Andó Ilona
Borbély Jolán's report on a festival held in the town of Végvár (Tormac) from September 24–26, 2000. In an area apparantly known as the Bánság, and in this town which lies in Temes County of Romania, near the south eastern corner of Hungary, this festival was hosted and organized by the local Hungarian Calvinist church. The outcome of this festival (both performances by, and dance workshops for children and young people of the area) is reported to be initiation of field work collection and professional cooperation in this previously nearly ignored area – to be lead by dance researchers from southern Hungary, Felföldi László and Gombos András.
A conference on folk tales was held in „Újvidék” (the area of northern Serbia with a heavy Hungarian population). Here three Hungarian ethnographers; one from Transylvania, one from Hungarian northern serbia and one from Hungary comment on story telling. Interview by Szántó Márta printed in a local Hungarian newspaper.
Bársony Mihály – media star. Letters written from all over Hungary which arrived to the late traditional hurdy-gurdy maker and musician after his appearances on Hungarian TV in the early seventies. At that time there was one television station in Hungary. Anyone appearing on it was imprinted on the mind of the nation. Letters arrived to this rural village instrument maker from old friends longing for a musical instrument, descendants of famous insturment makers, old neighbors,... By Szerényi Béla, Sue Foy – as usual all names of people except mine here, have been written „the Hungarian way", with the family name preceeding the given name.