Conversation with Diószegi László, president of the Martin György Folk Dance Association, regarding history, development following the governmental changes of 1989 and present status of the rating system for amateur folk dance groups. It was agreed that in light of changes and course of development of the movement, it is time for some changes in the system. Next general meeting of the association is May 9th, 2009. By Ónodi Béla
Announcement: Documentary fi lm on Transylvanian musicians ’Életek éneke’ [’Song of Lives’]. Director: Bereczki Csaba. Now available on DVD. 101 minutes. In Hungarian with English subtitles. Shot on location in Transylvania. The film version was made from a longer series for Hungarian TV, which is also available on 3 DVDs (285 minutes). See announcement in Hungarian for names of the musicians included in the films. More information in English at website http://www.eletekeneke.hu/
Koboz Instruction DVD – Fábri Géza. Produced by the Mester Tanoda Foundation, Szeged, 2008. 100 minutes. In Hungarian. An instructional DVD for learning to play the plucked instrument known as koboz – a Moldavian lute. It uses arrangements of traditional music for this instrument and includes 8 beginning exercises for producing chords, learning the rhythmic plucking and accompaniment for 12 songs, as well as 3 dance melodies. A website has also been established dedicated to making material available to koboz players (http://www.koboziskola.hu/). Review by Bolya Mátyás
In the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania there is a village called Magyarvalkó, which seems to have inspired PhD student, environmental landscaping engineer Eplényi Anna and PhD student in Hungarian and aesthetics Kardeván Lapis Gergely to embark on a project of ’open space design’ in that village. The project is an intellectual excercise referred to as ’landscape poetry’ and/or a ’literary garden’ related to Magyarvalkó’s cemetary and the poetry of Jékely Zoltán.
National solo dance festival – January 2009. Held for the 19th time in Békéscsaba, Hungary. Th is is a serious three day event. Contestants arrive from all over the Hungarian speaking territories (mostly from Hungary itself ) to compete for the title of ’Golden Spurred Dancer’ (for the men) and ’Golden Pearled Dancer’ (for the women) – a nationally accepted designation of excellence as solo folk dancer. There is compulsory material and material of each dancer’s (or couple’s) choice – to be danced in front of a jury of five distinguished ’older’ dancers– professionals in the field. Dancers competing here have already successfully competed at regional preliminary competitions. Report by B. Koltai Gabriella (see report in Hungarian for names of the winners).
In the wake of history Kóka Rozália’s series: life stories of Hungarian women. Most of the stories include the period the of WWII and the displacement of people during that period. The story in this issue is of nationally recognized Master of Folk Arts, traditional singer Mrs Illés Imre, Erdős Ágota, who was born in the village of Hadikfalva in Bukovina in 1929. She learned her songs there from her great-grandfather. She and her family were expelled from Bukovina in 1941 along with most of the Bukovina Hungarians. They relocated in Northern Serbia and but soon had to leave in the wake of events of WWII. Then they settled in Hungary’s Tolna County. Today she lives in the town of Érd near Budapest and sings with the Bukovina Székely Folk Song Circle there.
City Baroque – Paths and detours in the art of Hungarian folk dance. After a short course in the history and development of the Hungarian folk dance movement starting in the 1930’s, it turns out that this is a scathing review of a new piece in the repertoire of the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble: ’Labyrinth’ – Part two of their Bartók Trilogy. The review particularly criticizes the main choreographer of the piece: Kovács Gerzson Péter – who is also an active artist in Hungarian alternative contemporary dance. „....this piece has no relation, either in form or content, to the folk art that Bartók was immersed in and which he lifted across to art. In Kovács’ work the name Bartók is merely a point of reference, nothing more than a useful false signpost...” While Sáry László’s music was praised, the way it is used in this piece was not – and so on. Review by Diószegi László – first published in Magyar Nemzet Magazin 2008 Nov. 29.
Savanyú Józsi – Hungarian outlaw – Part II. In 1881 a robbery took place in Csabrendek (Hungary). It was the most famous robbery connected with Savanyú Jóska – the legend is preserved in a ballad. Here information from the press at the time, is presented along with legend, giving us a detailed look at information available on this famous Hungarian outlaw. A ballad about another famous outlaw, Patkó Sándor, is also discussed. By Vas János ’Panyiga’
Dance notation symposiums in Hungary. In 2008 two symposiums on dance notation were held at the Institute of Musicology in Budapest: one in June sponsored by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and one in November sponsored by the Hungarian Academy of Dance (soon to have university status). Both of the symposiums were held comemmorating the 80th anniversary of the introduction of kinetography (at a dance congress in Germany), along with the 50th anniversary of the death of Rudolf Lábán, the Hungarian who formulated the system. Individuals active in dance notation in Hungary were the participants and presenters at the symposiums. Methods of teaching dance notation to dance students and children, a computer program for writing notation and an internet database including dance notation were mentioned here. The opportunity for communication in the field inspired the participants to organize more such symposiums in the future. Dance notation has been taught in Hungary since the 1940’s. Report by Fügedi János.
Interview: Eplényi Anna is an environmental landscape engineer, drawing and folk dance teacher from Budapest dedicated to ’rebuilding folk culture’ – especially in Transylvania. She is actively involved in several projects in Transylvania with goals of nurturing existing traditions in Transylvanian villages, while also developing local appreciation for the traditional culture. Interview by K. Tóth László excerpts from interview published in ’Magyar Nemzet Magazin’ 2008 June 28.
Hungary commemorates Benedek Elek – A great storyteller, journalist, poet, writer (1859–1929 Kisbacon, Romania) on the 150th anniversary of his birth and 80th anniversary of his death. By Szabó Zsolt
New children’s column: This issue starts children’s section with two short pieces from Kóka Rozália: one is a story about a children’s dance house in Szék (long ago) and the other a folk tale solving the question of: who does the moon belong to? – to the animals or the people? In the end it is agreed that the moon belongs to the young folks.
Ifjú Szívek Dance Ensemble, one of the professional folk dance ensembles from Pozsony [Bratislava], artistic director Hégli Dusan, premiered a new program in January – first in Pozsony, then in Budapest at the Hungarian Heritage House. The new program is a review of dances and music from various regions of the Hungarian language area, all meticulously based on and referring directly to locations where Bartók collected folk songs and music in the early 1900’s. This writing walks us through the sources and locations of Bartók ’s research that inspired this new program. By Árendás Péter
Folk Arts Camps and Workshops Summer 2009 in Hungary, Transylvania, Slovakia and more...
Cinkota Folk Museum. The area known as ’Cinkota’ is located in Budapest’s 16th District. The Cinkota museum of local folk tradition opened to the public in the fall of 2008. This museum is the result of years of effort and work by a group of local people and ethnographers who founded the Cinkota Folk Museum Foundation and the museum. See article in Hungarian for contact details, address. By Borka Elly
A salute to Transylvanian singer Kerekes Tóth Erzsébet – this year she celebrates her 80th birthday. Mrs Kerekes was solo singer in the professional folk dance ensemble based in the town of Marosvásárhely from its formation in 1956. She studied at the Academy of Drama in Kolozsvár, was a member of the Székely Theatre, sang in opera, folk theatre and folk performances alike, travelled the villages of Transylvania as well as the countries of the world with the Marosvásárhely Folk Dance Ensemble. She also learned from and sang with peasant singers from all over Transylvania and did collection work in the villages. Today she lives in Budapest. By Kiss Ferenc
In the wake of history Hungarian women’s life stories: Kóka Rozália’s series. Anna was born in 1935 in the village of Barcaújfalu, 18 km from Brashov in Transylvania, Romania. Her story tells about the hardships of the period after WW II when the farming collectives were formed. People had no choice: they had to give their land and livestock over to the collectives. Anna’s husband rebelled against this and was imprisoned for several years. During this period Anna learned to white-wash rooms and houses in order support herself and her two children. Her husband was released from prison after several years. After 1989 they got their land back and returned to farming their own land and running their own farm. She lives today with her son who white-washes rooms and houses in the same village. She has five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. As told to Kóka Rozália.
Part I of Endrődi Péter’s story about Transylvania, Romania, Hungary, the revolutions of 1956 and 1989, the first and second world wars, Hungarians that moved from Transylvania to Hungary and the Hungarian secret police.
National Solo Dance Festival 2009 – Békéscsaba, Hungary. Conversation with jury member, Hortobágyi Gyöngyvér (dance corps assistant: Honvéd Dance Theatre), of this folk dance competition. She mentioned the overall high level of technique in all the competitors, though compared those dancers whose performance was about showing off , with those who were able to execute the dances with personality, humility, skill, musicality, grace and knowledge and respect for the material. By dr. Nagy Zoltán
The Anthology of Children’s Folk Dance is a one day festival of choreographies for children’s performing groups – selected by the Heritage Children’s Folklore Association as the best from 2008. This year, 15 groups performed at Budapest’s Operett Theatre in February and most of the choreographies chosen for the Children’s Anthology were ’dance theatre’ style. Review by Trencsényi László
The primkontra is a stringed instrument used, in Transylvania, by the band from Szászcsávás [Ceuaş]. It is an accompaniment instrument used sometimes along with the Transylvanian 3 stringed viola (kontra in Hungarian) or sometimes by itself to accompany the violin. A primkontra can be made by removing the so-called ’e2’ string from the violin, and then flattening the arch in the bridge. On the basis of conversations with members of the Szászcsávás Band it seems that this instrument saw its heyday in the 1950–1960’s. One musician, Lunka Mózes (b.1932), said in 1999, „…when I was twenty, we got the viola,....after that we didn’t really use the primkontra, because the viola was easier...on the primkontra one nearly has to play the tune like the lead violin and one uses more fingerings (chords?) than on the viola, with nicer ornamentation…I haven’t played it in about 10 years....” Plenty of information on the playing style is also given here. See illustrations in article in Hungarian. By Szánthó Zoltán
In English – Review of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s piece ’Naplegenda’ Sun Legend – first published ’Time Out Budapest’ March 2009. By Sue Foy
Tamburabracs – A story about learning to play this instrument between 1974–76 by a musician who, at the time, was a member of the Deszk Serbian Tambura Band. Deszk is a village in the Southeastern corner of Hungary. His teacher was Nagy Károly, a Szeged musician who was originally from the town of Horgos [Horgoš] across the border in Northern Serbia. This article is chock full of information on tuning, playing chords, strings and stories about playing in tambura bands in the southern border region of Hungary in the 1970’s and before. By Barvich Iván – an active folk musician in Budapest today.
Balapan, les ailes de l’Altai’ – a documentary film directed by Hamid Sardar.
This film is about a Kazah village in the Deloun Valley of Western Mongolia, where respect for the wolf and the eagle are part of tradition. As a boy comes of age, he and his father hunt for an eagle’s nest, take a young eagle to raise as hunting partner for the boy, who after several years then sets the bird free. Review by Henics Tamás
Two reviews of the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble’s new show entitled ’Édeskeserű’ [Bitter-Sweet], choreographed by Farkas Zoltán „Batyu”, Mihályi Gábor and Orza Câlin. The show premiered this spring in Budapest. On one hand, Dreisziger Kálmán (of Montreal/Dubai) definitely didn’t like it, saying he had hoped to see something „good” reflecting the Ensemble’s illustrious past and presenting the simple, though highly developed world of peasant tradition with dignity; rather than a„contemporary interpretation of folklore” and „bold application of theatrical devices”. On the other hand, the Budapest critic, ’sisso’, [Magyar Narancs: year XXI. issue 23] whole-heartedly recommends this [program of] folk dance which is not national anthropology preserved in a glass case [in a museum, for example].
In the early spring of this year, new grave markers for five outstanding, highly respected traditional musicians (Halmágyi Mihály and Gizella, Zerkula János, Fikó Regina, Pulika János) of Gyimes [region of Transylvania] were dedicated in a ceremony at the cemetery in the village of Gyimesközéplok (Lunca de Jos, Romania). Their students played at the ceremony. The funds for realizing this project were raised at an event held in Budapest in October 2008, organized by the Hungarian Heritage House, the Fonó and the National Circle of Friends of Folk Dance. Report and photos by Hont Angéla
Children’s column. Two very short stories about Lake Balaton and one account of an unforgettable day in Transylvania.
On Szék’s Legendary Pálinka. Pálinka is the special Hungarian name for the fruit brandy made in this part of Eastern Europe. The strong pálinka made in the village of Szék [Sic] in the Mezőség region of Transylvania is famous in dance house circles. It is made from local plums picked in each family’s garden, the plums are then carefully stored and fermented until it’s time to cook [distill] the pálinka in the winter in special local stills in special buildings in the village. In Szék, pálinka is used like anyone else uses a good shot of schnapps, but it is also much more. It is an important part of the local economy, since it is used as payment (better than money) in many kinds of situations. It is also used as medicine, as presents, is offered to anyone who comes to visit, is hidden and sneaked in moments of need, fought over, lied about and overconsumed. It is a main character: at all weddings and celebrations and of many a tale. By Széki Soós János
Book review: Török Imre „Szanyi kincsestár” (in Hungarian). Szany is a village in Northwestern Hungary’s ’Rábaköz’ region, with a population of approx. 2500. This village has a lively folk culture and a long standing local tradition-preserving dance group that is known nationwide. The book tells about the history of local folk customs, traditions, songs and dances. Full bibliographic information is apparently not included in the volume. The book is only referred to, by its title, author and the fact that it is ’a product of the 20th century’. By Varga Lajos
Conversation with musician and composer, Kiss Ferenc upon completion of one of his newest projects: a piece he arranged and composed in celebration of the 500th anniversary of Jean Calvin’s birth – a work commissioned by and performed during the 2009 Budapest Spring Festival. Almost all of Kiss Feri’s work is either inspired, based on or draws from traditional music. Kiss talks about another recent project of arranging the music for the Honvéd Dance Theatre’s new choreography which will also be made into a film. Kiss also talks about his roots in Debrecen and relatives in Transcarpathia. Finally ending with a few comments on the status of Etnofon, the record label he established in the beginning of the 1990s, saying that the practices of illegal downloading and copying music have also affected the traditional music market. Nevertheless, Etnofon perseveres with its aim of popularizing original folk music from the Carpathian Basin and contemporary music that draws on it. Expanded version of an interview by K. Tóth László, first printed in ‘Magyar Nemzet Magazin’ 2009 Jan 3.
Kiss Ferenc: Magyar Kancionale – Hungarian Cantionale. This new recording celebrates the 500th anniversary of Jean Calvin’s birth and draws on the religious music, hymns and psalms from the Hungarian Calvinist Church. Review by Sándor Ildikó
Lajtha László – the folk music researcher: Part 3. Excerpts from the photo and document exhibition in the upper foyer of the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest, curated by Pávai István. Lajtha (b.1892 – d.1963) was a composer and folk music researcher who began folk music collection work after 1910 working with Bartók and Kodály. These excerpts are about collection methods and problems of transcribing music collected in the field. „...I did the first draft of the transcription. Then we would sit down and go over the work together...It was easier with two people checking and double checking. When a person does it alone, one day you hear it one way, then the next day you hear it another way.....sometimes we would argue heatedly about it too...about how it really sounds... ”(from Sebő Ferenc’ 1985 interview with Rajeczky Benjamin about working with Lajtha)
Literary column: MAGtár. Poetry, beautiful in its simplicity, by Beretvás Blanka, born in Budapest in 1991. Blanka is a student at the Budapest Austrian Gymnasium, where her work is often published in ’Operencia’, the school newspaper.
2009 National Dance House Festival (April, 3, 4, 5, 2009 – Budapest). Todd Wagner’s report on the festival was also recently published in „Let’s Dance! – The Magazine of International Folk Dancing”. Todd lives in California and has been coming to Hungary a couple times a year for the last 20 years or so. His article is printed in English, along with a Hungarian translation of the same article, with 3 pages of photos by Kárpáti Zsuzsanna.
In the Wake of History. Part 1 of ethnographer, dance researcher Borbély Jolán’s life story – as told to Kóka Rozália. Borbély Jolán and her twin sister Róza were born in 1928 in the town of Hajdúszoboszló in northereastern Hungary. Jolán tells the story of her childhood living with her grandparents and the World War II years, when the family fled to Austria. They lived in war prisoner camps until the end of the war and then finally went home on the first train back to Hungary. Amazingly the twins twere able to take their high school exams in the makeshift post-war circumstances. In 1947 Jolán went to Budapest to apply for entrance to the University, and Róza married her medical student suitor.
Füzér’s Mounted Escort. Füzér is a village in the mountainous Zemplén region of Northeastern Hungary right next to the Slovak border. When the bishop comes to the village at Pentecost or for confirmations and the like during the late spring or summer monthes, according to the local custom, a mounted escort greets the bishop and accompanies him to the parsonage, and then to the church. Over the years anywhere from 16 pairs of horses to 5 horses have taken part. According to some accounts, there should be 7 mwn on horses representing the leaders of the seven tribes of Hungarians that first arrived to the Carpathian Basin in 896. The horsemen dress in regional holiday costume. One of them the leads the other horses in pairs behind. This is still practiced in the village. Some of the participants have been doing this for 35–40 years. By Darmos István – who has been documenting traditions of this village since the 1990’s.
30th Annual Kaláka Festival. The Kaláka Festival was held this year for the 30th time in the castle ruins at Diósgyőr just outside the city of Miskolc in Hungary. Usually an international festival, this year the organizers concentrated on bands only from Hungary, showcasing an amazing array of talented folk musicians from this small music-loving country. The 3 day festival is always held in the second weekend of July. A line-up of some 20 groups were mentioned in this article by K. Tóth László.
Savanyú Józsi – the last Bakony outlaw. Part 4 of this chronicle on the life of one of Hungary’s legendary outlaws, tells about his capture, sentencing and death. Savanyú ’worked’ in western Hungary in the so-called Bakony region. His last robbery was in [Balaton]akali in February of 1884. He was finally captured in May of the same year. His trial was held in Szombathely in May of 1886 and he was sentenced to life prisonment with eight days in a dark cell for his disrespectful behavior in court. In probably 1906 at the age of 64, he was released and went to live with his brother near the village of Tótvászony. In 1907 his health declined as a result of frostbite gotten during his outlaw days, and there was talk of having to amputate his foot. Then on April 9th he tied himself to a chair and shot himself in the head. Local talk had it that his suicide was partly because Savanyú found it so unbearable having to report in weekly to the police. By Vas János „Panyiga”
National Solo Dance Festival 2009 – Békéscsaba, Hungary Part II. Conversation with jury member Kökény Richárd (dance corps director: Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble). His overall comments on the competitors and dancing: there was a high level of technique in all the competitors, but something was lacking in performance. He rated the dancers on 3 basic points. 1: Musicality (how much is the dance is in synchronicity with the music, how does the movement fit the music, how much is the movement and music in harmony), 2: Relationship in the couple (the stability of the man and the woman both separately and working together – which of course also relates to the music). 3: Performance style (was a feeling for the dance stronger or was the performer trying to show himself off using the dance as a tool). By dr. Nagy Zoltán
Dancing in Decs – a village in Tolna County (Dunántul region). A well-known traditional dancer from Decs, Mrs Farkas László – Pál Erzsebet (Bözsi néni), talks about dancing. Amazing comments from the inside – about the dances, their figures, steps, posture. Dances here include verbunk and csárdás. Some names of figures: mártogatós , lippenős, forgás. As told to Busai Norbert. Transcribed by Busai Zsuszsanna.
On the legényes [Transylvanian men’s dance] competition held in Budapest, April 25, 2009. This year’s was the 12th International Legényes Competition organized by the Budapest Cultural Center in Budapest’s 12th District. Winner of the competition was Kádár Ignác. The compulsory material to be learned by the competitors, then performed at the dance competition, were men’s dances from the village of Ördöngösfüzes (Fizeşu Gherlii) in the Mezőség region of Transylvania – specifically the dance of two men from the village: Hajdú Ferenc (born 1921) and Réti János (born 1929), both of whom were present at the competition. Here both men comment on the dances themselves, the time when Martin György and Kallós Zoltán went to the village to film the dancers, and what it was like at the time when they learned the dances. As told to Busai Norbert
A philosophical discussion on time spent on education (Part 1)
The headings in the article are as follows:
I. Definition of the passing of time
II. Time as a historical phenomenon
III. Time as definition of future events
IV. Time, and questions of when events occur
By Lévai Péter – professional folk dancer, choreographer and senior lecturer at the Hungarian Academy of Dance. Article includes bibliography.
October 6th is the day when Hungary remembers the Arad Martyrs. In 1849 at the end of the Hungarian revolution, thirteen Hungarian offi cers were executed by the Austrians. Printed here are excerpts from military offi cer, writer Count Teleki Sándor’s memoirs on the event, along with some facts about Teleki’s life.
Kóka Rozália’s Children’s Column: Folk Tale Day will be celebrated on September 30th, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Hungarian writer Benedek Elek’s birth (b: September 30th 1859 – d.1929). Printed here are: an excerpt from Benedek Elek’s [My Sweet Motherland] and two of his tales „The Golden Fish” and „The Castle Builder And The Fairy”.
The 16th Csűrdöngölő Folk Dance Festival was held in Csíkszereda [Miercurea Ciuc], Transylvania on May 29th, 2009. 42 dance groups from 26 communities in Hargita County, Romania, some 1300 participants – aged 3 to adult – performed. This festival is held in conjunction with Pentecost and the famous annual pilgrimage to Csíksomlyó just outside of the town of Csíkszereda. The festival plays an important role in upholding Hungarian tradition in the region. This event and the ongoing work in the local dance groups year-round is supported by the András Foundation, the Hargita Székely Folk Ensemble, City of Csíkszereda, Hargita County and the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture. By Balázs Réka Blanka
The Angyalföldi Vadrózsa Folk Dance Ensemble performed during the summer at Saint Stephen’s park in Budapest. New directors, Hortobágyi Ivett and Fundák Kristóf, have been able to breathe life into the dancing of the group, while also put together a pleasant line up of choreographies in the program, with music by Gázsa’s band. Report by B. Koltai Gabriella
Nagy Albert 1941–2009. Born in the town of Gyoma, Hungary, Nagy Albert had been the director of the Szeged Folk Dance Ensemble since 1972. Since then, he brought up and inspired generations of folk dancers. Well known all over Hungary, he will be missed. One of his students, Juhász Zsolt wrote a few words in his memory.
Listings of dance houses and folk clubs in the region for the 2009–2010 season – which opens with a one day festival on September 12th at Petőfi Csarnok in Budapest’s city park.
Lajtha László – the folk music researcher: Part 4. Excerpts from the photo and document exhibition in the upper foyer of the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest, curated by Pávai István. Lajtha (b. 1892 – d. 1963) was a composer and folk music researcher who began folk music collection work after 1910 working with Bartók and Kodály. Here are selections commenting on the difference between village Gypsy musicians and city Gypsy musicians: “…The musicians in Gypsy bands in small villages don’t read music and play in villages far from the cities entertaining peasants who not that long ago could hardly read and write. They are very different from the Gypsies that play in the restaurants of the big cities and often can read music…”(Lajtha 1962). There are also Lajtha’s summaries on the nature of Hungarian traditional dance, such as „...the most characteristic attribute of traditional Hungarian folk dance is that there is no strict, final, set order for a program of dances [suite of dances]. Like all living spontaneous folk art, improvisation plays a decisive role… “(Lajtha 1936), and mention (from 1948) of his participation in the International Council on Traditional Music (and Dance) the ICTM.
Katanga Blues – Short story of leaving the village as a young man to work in a nearby city in Romania, his parents disowned him, how he found Magdalena, his first unlucky try at getting hired for black construction work at Budapest’s Moszkva Square, and then hearing about his own funeral. By Széki Soós János
Report on the 2009 Europeade an international folk dance festival held in Klaipėda, Lithuania. This year’s was the 46th annual festival. 4000 participants and 166 groups participated in July. This year Hungary was represented by 6 ethnic German dance groups and one Hungarian group. Next year’s Europeade will take place in Bolzano, Italy. By Mikulai Csaba
Borbély Jolán’s life story – Part II. Jolika, Joli néni is an extraordinary figure and undisputed specialist here in Budapest’s dance house and folkart, folk dance movements. She tells her life story with the same kind of frank, outspokenness that characterizes her whole life. A rare personality. Here she tells about arriving in Budapest in 1947 for university, her university years, Hungary’s tough times, including the cut-throat political atmosphere and poverty after the war, the 1950s, her first marriage and the birth of her son, Éri Péter, and some events leading to her marriage to the renowned dance researcher Martin György. As told to Kóka Rozália
Savanyú Jóska: Conclusion (part 5) Entitled „Characteristics of the Outlaws’ Activities and the Outlaw as a Historical Phenomenon”; conclusive thoughts on the life and work process of Savanyú and other legendary Hungarian outlaws. Also includes comments on: the idea of ’the outlaw’, to whom is the outlaw is an outlaw, and why there is a romanticised and not entirely pejorative connotation to the the word outlaw. Examines also ’the Robin Hood effect’ and cites the 1969 work by Eric J. Hobsbawm examining social bandits in China, Spain, Hungary and the USA. By Vas János „Panyiga”
Talented glass blower Pattantyús Gergely has written a study familiarizing us with various glass forms through history, tracing possible origins and infl uences which formed the Hungarian national glass.
’Édeskeserű’ [Bitter-Sweet], choreographed by Farkas Zoltán „Batyu”, Mihályi Gábor and Orza Câlin. More discussion on the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble’s controversial program which premiered in the spring of this year. This review with more specifi c commentary and description of the actual piece, concludes with thoughts such as: „...Édeskeserű is an exploration in form and style, which in my opinion is ground breaking and may lead to new directions, though perhaps not yet entirely developed, with only partial solutions, rough in some places...„ By Sándor Ildikó
Commentary on Hungary’s network of public arts schools for school children. Amongst other art classes, this is where folk dance, folk music and folk crafts are taught in after school programs. According to this
commentary, there have been incidents where public funding for these arts programs has
been misused. Now the writer urges parents of children in these programs to join together in effort to stop misuse of public funds, so that this important program can continue.
By Darmos István
Five minutes of folk news on Hungarian Radio “MR 1” – Kossuth Radio. Since June of 2009 the Hungarian Heritage House has been creating five minute radio programs aired every Friday morning just before 8 a.m. on Hungarian Radio. These short programs provide news on folk music, dance and culture, usually focusing on upcoming folk events or reports on recent events. Report by Mohácsy Albert
Könczei Csongor brings up the question of ultra-nationalism and a distorted view of Hungarianness that has evolved in certain stratas of the dance house scene. Since
Csongor lives in Transylvania, he writes his impression and reaction to this element when
it shows up there at dance house events, festivals, camps. (He lives in Kolozsvár [Cluj],
where he is active locally in the dance house movement and as a dancer, musician, teacher, ethnographer, and events organizer.)
2nd Fiddlers Contest – Kecskemét, Hungary. This juried event sponsored by the
Hungarian Heritage House and Erdei Ferenc Cultural Center (Kecskemét) was held during
the 22nd Kecskemét Folk Music Festival on September 18th, 2009. Nine fiddlers
competed. First prize went the Soós András. Report by Mohácsy Albert
Report on a 2009 folk arts competition sponsored by the Budapest based Pro Renovanda Cultura Hungariæ Foundation. Works by weavers from Hungarian communities in northern Serbia were chosen by the jury. By Raj Rozália
Verbunk Contest. On August 28 and 29, 2009 a juried verbunk (men’s recruiting dance) competition was held in the village of Halászi in the northwestern corner of Hungary. The competition focused on the verbunk dance of Neuberger Ferenc an excellent dancer from the village of Halászi. Footage of Neuberger’s dancing is housed in the national folk dance archives and was documented in the1950’s by Martin and Pesovár. The event turned into a meeting of dancers from the whole region, including Slovakia. Report by Takács András
Interview with the late Nagy Albert – director of the Szeged Folk Dance Ensemble from 1972 till his death in early June of this year. Main themes covered in the interview: the situation of folk dance ensembles and process for changing directors in Hungary in
the early 1970’s, his dedication to authentic style of teaching and choreography in folk dance material, his and the Szeged group’s work teaching dance in Hungarian communities in regions of Romania near Szeged, folk dances from ethnically mixed
areas, today’s society’s general lack of respect for and understanding of folk arts and one’s own cultural heritage. Interview from May 2009 by Szerdahelyi Mátyás and Zoltán
“Feketetó” (actually Körösfeketetó [Negreni]) is the name of a town in Transylvania along the main road between Nagyvárad [Oradea] and Kolozsvár [Cluj]. Every year in the beginning of October there is a huge market in this town. The market is held from Thursday through Sunday. Like all markets, this is a meeting place where all kinds of business transpires and all kinds of goods are bought and sold. They say the market
has been held here at this time of year “for centuries”. The animal market held afterwards
on Monday is described here by Henics Tamás.
A short history of the Bányász (Miners) Folk Dance Ensemble. The group was founded in 1949 – at the beginning of the 40 year period of communism during which many folk dance groups in Hungary were supported by local trade unions. This group was supported by the miners union in the western Hungarian town of Tatabánya. Now after 60 years, countless performances and awards, the group is still going strong. Present director is Gémesi Zoltán. There are two affiliated groups: Cinege Children’s Group and a group of “old” dancers.
Borbély Jolán’s life story part 3. In parts 1 and 2 we heard about Borbély Jolán’s childhood years and then about her first years in Budapest in university. Part three is about the years when she began working at the Insititute of Culture and Folk Arts. She was still a university student. From 1951 until 1956 she worked in the department of ethnography and in this status went with groups of researchers to collect folk dances, song and music in Hungarian villages. There are great stories here about when she was sent to collect in Slavic communities along the southern border of Hungary. Her diploma project was on the dance of Lakócsa and nearby villages in the same region. After the revolution of 1956, the team of famous dance researchers were all fired from their jobs. Jolán went to teach school. Thanks to the two people who were not fired from the institute at the time, the accumulated documentation was saved. As told to Kóka Rozália
The 24th Kállai Kettős Folk Dance Festival was held in Nagykálló, Hungary on October 9, 10, 11, 2009. The festival was organized by a non-profit Ltd in Nagykálló and the Martin [Folk Dance] Association. At least 14 dance groups were chosen to perform at the festival. The performances were rated by a jury. Twelve of the ensembles and several individuals received awards for their work. Report by Demarcsek György
20th Szolnok National Folk Dance Festival (May 30–June 1, 2009) – conversation with president of the jury dr. Felföldi László. This festival for amateur groups – one of the ’classics’ of the folk dance festivals – was held this year for the first time in 10 years.
Many memorable choreographies were presented here over the years and great intellectual debates on folk dance grew out of the juries’ rating sessions. Felföldi mentions choreographies from this year by Furik Rita, Varga János and Taba Csaba along with the work of the Gödöllő and Jászság dance ensembles as particularly noteworthy. Interview by dr. Nagy Zoltán
Portraits of two musicians. Sadly, two members of the Kalamajka band – cymbalom player Petrovits Tamás (1948–2008) and viola player dr. Dövényi Péter ’Döf ’ (1950–2009) – have passed away over the last two years. After more than 30 years playing, working, travelling the country and the world with them, Kalamajka’s double bass player remembers them as only a close friend and colleague can. By Nagymarosy András.
Complaint by Rimóczi Hajnalka folk costume maker from the town of Kisberény who entered the 2009 competition for the nationally recognized title of Young Master of Folk Arts awarded to exceptional young folk artists in several categories of folk arts. She was not given the title this year and feels that her work was unfairly judged. Also printed here is Beszprémy Katalin’s (co-director of the Folk Arts Education Department at the Hungarian Heritage House) response. She reminds us that “lack of artistry cannot hide behind a mask of authenticity. The Young Master of Folk Arts title goes to the most outstanding folk artists. [...] a craftsperson must enter their most beautiful works [...] each of the five pieces entered must be faultless in terms of craftmenship and artistry”.
New recording: Ágoston Béla with Frank London: “Tikmonka”. Traditional Hungarian music a’ la Ágoston Béla spiced with Frank London’s (leader of the Klezmatics, Klezmer Brass All-Stars, etc) klezmer and jazz trumpet. See announcement in Hungarian for more details and other musicians on the recording. Interview with Ágoston Béla by K. Tóth László – Béla tells about how he met Frank London when they were both teaching at a music course in Austria. The acquaintance eventually led to this recording and a concert together in Budapest.
Greeting heard at a special performance organized on the 35th anniversary of the death of Rábai Miklós – the first director of the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble. The performance was held at the Hungarian Heritage House on November 11th, 2009 and was made by Mihályi Gábor present artistic director of the State Folk Dance Ensemble. Speech by Erdélyi Tibor, dancer in the State Ensemble when Rábai was director, choreographer, folk artist.
Miháj. A story about the village cowherder in the rural Gyimes region of Transylvania. Miháj’s mother was killed by a Russian soldier in 1945 when he was only a few days old. His father and grandfather never returned from the war. His impoverished life never really got any better. He died at the age of 58 after being trampled by some of his herd one day. A sad story, told in a matter-of-fact but somehow beautiful style by Simó Márton.
About the tambura bands in the city of Győr. For the most part we associate tambura bands with southern Hungary and points south of the border – but it turns out that there was a lively pub and cafe scene in the city of Győr in Northwestern Hungary between say 1900 and the mid 1950’s that favored tambura music. There were several bands, one of the musicians was also an instrument maker. The bands were also hired to play for local weddings and other holidays and celebrations. Printed here are some of the musicians’ recollections from recent interviews. By Barvich Iván.
Part 4 of Borbély Jolán’s life story. After her job at the Institute of Folk Arts was discontinued in the wake and political policies following the 1956 revolution, Jolán tells about her years teaching at the Arany János elementary and secondary school in Budapest, amongst other things, teaching also folk crafts and dance to her students, taking them to cultural events. After a time, she ended up back at the Institute of Folk Arts (which had since become the Institute of Public Education and which is today part of the Hungarian Heritage House) – where she still works to this day in the traditional textile folk crafts department. She tells about her second husband, the brilliant folk dance reseacher Martin György, about her participation in the dance collection trips, meeting and getting to know Kallós Zoltán when it became possible to do field work in Transylania. She also talks about Martin’s death in 1983 at the age of 51. Now 80 years old, she muses about her life. As told to Kóka Rozália.
Lajtha László – the folk music researcher: Part 6. Excerpts from the exhibition of photos and documents that was in the upper foyer of the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest, curated by Pávai István and recently published in book form. Lajtha (b.1892 – d.1963) was a composer and folk music researcher who began folk music collection work after 1910 working with Bartók and Kodály. Here are choice quotes from various years (1927–1963) wherein Lajtha comments on the nature of and differences between ’real’folk music and and composed folk-like music. For example: ”[...] Folk art artificiallly kept alive can be of great national value and importance, but it no longer has ethnographic value. [...] Folk song like all folk culture is alive as long as it is in continuous transformation.”
Contemporary Folk Dance – a performance of selected choreographies on November 6, 2009 at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest. This event is a showcase of works that show a new, contemporary or experimental approach to folk dance choreography. This series began in 1995 and is sponsored and organized by the Martin Association. Kocsis Enikő’s women’s dance choreography and ifj. Zsuráfszki Zoltán’s “Idéző 100962HA” and the Nyírség Ensemble’s performance of a choreography depicting carnival customs were especially mentioned. A review by B. Koltai Gabriella and commentary by Diószegi László (director of the event) are printed here.
A Critical History of Filmed Documentation of Traditional Transylvanian Dance – from the beginning to 1963. This is an overview of the early period of folk dance research and filmed documentation beginning with the work of Gönyey Sándor and Molnár István in the 1940s and continuing with the work of a group called the Hungarian Dance Work Community at the Institute of Folk Sciences, then followed by the work of the group of young dance ethnographers after 1951 at the Institute of Folk Arts. Also discussed is the lesser known work of Lugossy Emma and Gönyey Sándor on 39 verbunks. Martin György and his contemporaries’ extensive work collecting dances in Hungary and Transylvania, with mention of places where the main collection work was done in the period is also discussed. By Karácsony Zoltán.