Thoughts following the 2010 series of festivals for presenting and rating Hungarian amateur folk dance groups from Hungary and Hungarian communities in surrounding countries. Written by a long-time organizer of these events and a jury member at all three festivals held in 2010, this article takes a larger perspective. These festivals provide an excellent overview on the status Hungary’s amateur folk dance ensembles. Report by Diószegi László.
Commentary on Hungary’s system of rating amateur folk dance groups and the 2010 rating festivals. Three such festivals were held in the fall of 2010: one in Salgótarján and two in Budapest. 46 ensembles participated and their performances were rated by juries of professionals in the field. 16 groups were rated as “Outstanding”, 16 groups recieved a “Good” rating and 14 groups “Qualified” (as having particpated). The person reporting here attended all three festivals and has plenty of complaints and few compliments on rating system and performance of the groups. By Paluch Norbert.
Söndörgő Ensemble. An in-depth review of Söndörgő’s 15 year anniversary concert at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest on November 30, 2010 and of their latest recording: Lost Music of the Balkans (Budapest, 2010). Members of this band have literally grown up amongst and inherited the Balkan music traditions alive in Hungary today. By Barvich Iván.
Children’s column: This issue of MAG prints a tale from Ádám Valérián’s collection of Csángó Hungarian tales (from Moldavia). It is a story of King Hunyadi Mátyás ’the Just’ as a child, asking his father (Hunyadi János, 15th century military leader and landowner) questions like: Why do the people that work the hardest in this country, end up with the least? Questions are raised on the poor versus the rich.
Kóka Rozália’s series: Stories of Hungarian Women. Part two of the life story of Sister Csillag Etelka (born 1930). Etelka went to live in the small Tolna County village of Kismányok in 1957. The village is inhabited mainly by Swabian Hungarians and Székely Hungarians from Bukovina. She tells about the difficult life of a boy from the village that became a Catholic priest during the toughest years of Communism and also the saga of building a Székely Catholic church in the village.
Molnár Zoltán gives us a short introduction to Brazil’s Amazon region. In 2008 he had the opportunity to become acquainted with the ethnic groups living there and their life, traditions and celebrations. He also comments on the important role that the natural waters there play in the way of life and environment.
A woman from the Transylvanian village of Szék [Sic] in Romania, tells about some their beliefs and superstitions. In one situation, women at a spinning bee decide they’d like to communicate with the spirits, so one of them leads a session where seven of them lay their hands on a table... Another situation is about the ins and outs of stealing firewood when one has no money, no firewood and it’s cold very outside. As told by Kocsis Rózsi in January, 1997.
Tradition – Heritage – Public Culture. The role and future of Hungarian folk art in the Carpathian Basin. A conference held in Budapest March 26–27, 2010. Several Hungarian institutions that deal with various branches of the folk arts got together to discuss the present, past, future, problems and tasks of preserving traditional Hungarian culture. Printed here is a speech by ethnographer Balogh Balázs that was given at the conference as well as summary of the event by Diószegi László. A book containing some of the speeches from the conference is scheduled to the released in early April 2011 at the National Dance House Festival in Budapest.
New Publication: [Transylvanian Hungarian dance and dance research at the turn of the century] A collection of papers given at a conference in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca, Romania) on April 28, 2009. Edited by Dr. Könczei Csongor. Kriterion Press. Cluj-Napoca. 2010. Abstracts of papers can be found in English at: http://www.ispmn.gov.ro/uploads/ISPMN_2010_Tancmuveszet.pdf
New publication – Szalay Olga: Száz magyar katonadal. [100 Hungarian Soldiers’ Songs]. Balassi Kiadó. Budapest, 2010 – in Hungarian and German. Bartók and Kodály’s heretofore unpublished collection: a project which had been commissioned during the final years of World War I by the Military History Ministry in Vienna. This volume is the result of several years of scholarly research and preparation by Szalay Olga. Printed here is an introduction to this publication by Mrs. Bencze László dr. Mező Judit which appeared in A Magyar Kodály Társaság Hírei. 2001. I.
Writings From the Past: An article on Hungarian folk poetry written by Babits Mihály (the Hungarian poet, writer and translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy). Published in Pesti Napló on June 25th, 1918, it is a three part argument against the following statement made by Schöpfl in Aladár in relation to a collection of miltary folk songs of the time: “Folk song is drowning. The new folk poetry is, in essence, half-educated or the work of completely uneducated, uncultivated people.” Babits writes: “A city person has studied a lot about culture, but also lost and forgot so much, when he forgot the ancient traditional life of his own people. The ancient, ancestral primitive life, the ancient word and culture has been preserved by the village people. Folk poetry springs forth from this culture.”
Dreisziger Kálmán defends and applaus the dance house movement in an exposé referring to the ideas of philosophers: René Girard, Leopold Kohr, Ivan Illich.
Report on the Hungarian Heritage House. For ten years now the institution that is home to the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble, a folklore archive and other related organizations at Corvin tér in Budapest’s 1st district has been functioning as the Hagyományok Háza, under the direction of Kelemen László and Sebő Ferenc. Or in other words: the generation that started the dance house movement has been successfully managing the main urban institution that nurtures Hungarian folk life – for 10 years. Summary by Kiss Eszter Veronika.
Halmos Béla on the historical background on Budapest’s Táncháztalálkozó – the National Dance House Festival and Market. This huge festival – attended by literally tens of thousands of people – has been held every year since 1982. As told to K. Tóth László.
The 20th National Solo Dance Festival was held in Békéscsaba on January 21–23, 2011. Held every two years, dancers enter this festival in hopes of impressing a jury of professionals in the field of Hungarian folk dance. If so, they may be awarded the „golden spur” (for men) or the „golden pearl” (for women). Three time winners achieve the rank of eternal golden spur or pearl. Dancers compete by dancing compulsory material for couples or solo men’s dances (this year: magyar verbunk from Nagyecsed, men’s dances from Örgöngösfüzes, csárdás from Bag, couple dances from Bogártelke), as well as a dance material chosen by the dancers. Dancers get a limited time on stage. They train from archival films of traditional dancers and/or other dancers proficient in the specific dance material. See report in Hungarian for names of jury (zsűri) members and names of this year’s winners. A number of additional prizes are awarded by other organizations. Report by B. Koltai Gabriella.
The Óbuda Folk Music School is 20 years old. Actually this institution was established in 1975 by flute player and teacher, Béres János. The school recently marked the 20th anniversary of its „independence” (though still a government funded institution). In any case, several generations of Budapest dance house musicians have learned to play their instruments or sing there. Presently 220 children and young people are studying under a staff of 17 music teachers (some of which also teach at the Liszt Academy of Music). In general it is an after-school program. They also publish books on curriculum and methodology for teaching folk music, and records. By Halász Csilla (first appeared in Heti Válasz).
The Molnár Technique. Molnár István (Kolozsvár 1908 – Budapest 1987) was an olympic gymnast and avantgarde dancer in the 1930s and 40s. At the end of the 1940s he turned to folk dance for inspiration, filmed village folk dancers and went on to teach and choreograph folk dance. He was teacher and inspiration to great Hungarian dance researchers (Martin, Pesovár, Timár, Borbély, etc). Over the years he developed his own technique for dance and movement training in an eff ort to train stage folk dancers to capture the movement styles of the best peasant dancers. His technique is known amongst professional folk dancers in Hungary today and is seeing a renaissance. Over the years, Liszt-award winning dancer, Hargitai Zsuzsa “Lucika” has been teaching the technique to professional folk dance ensembles in Budapest. Dancer, choreographer, teacher Ónodi Béla, who has more recently become an expert on the Molnár technique, has produced a training DVD and is working on an accompanying book. Dance notation expert Fügedi János is professional advisor and consultant for the book. Strack Orsolya talks to Hargitai Zsuzsa, Ónodi and Fügedi.
Olsvai Imre: ethnomusicologist, researcher retired from the Hungarian Institute of Musicology, student of Kodály Zoltán in the folk music department at the Liszt Academy of Music 1951–1956. Writer, editor of countless books and articles on folk music. A summary of his life work and career upon his 80th birthday. By Mrs. Bencze László dr. Mező Judit.
Kóka Rozália’s series: Stories of Hungarian Women. Part I: Katharina Clemente /Tomcsányi Katalin – painter, mathematics teacher in Vienna. In this first part, Katalin tells the story of her childhood in Budapest. Born in 1952, she grew up in communist Hungary. She was born after her father, a school teacher, came home from seven years as a prisoner of war in Russia. This part of her story ends at the final weeks of secondary school, when Katalin meets the boy that will be the father of three of her children.
Superstition, folk belief and ghosts in Szék [Sic], Transylvania. Two tales of ghosts as told by Kocsis Rózsi in 1996, 1997. A story of a girl on the way home from a spinning party in the rain on a night of the week when it was not customary for the young men to come to the spinning parties or walk the girls home. She had to pass by the graveyard on her way, where she met two young men who walked her the rest of the way home. When she got home, her father told her he had heard that ghosts had been roaming near the graveyard. The other is a tragic story well-known in Szék: Mányi’s husband died leaving her with four little children. Mányi spoke to the ghost of her husband every night and soon died as well.
Pávai István’s lecture presented at a March 2010 conference in Budapest entitled „Tradition, Heritage and Public Culture – the present role and future of Hungarian folkarts in the Carpathian Basin”. Pávai’s lecture looks at history: Bartók, Kodály and Lajtha’s approaches to folklorism. Using original quotes from all three of these composers, folk music collectors and researchers – Pávai examines development and changes in their approaches to folklorism, and relationships between their approaches.
New Recording: Singer Bodza Klára has just released a new record of Hungarian folk ballads. Musicians playing folk and historical music join her on the recording. Bodza Klára: Fúdd el, jó szél, fúdd el. DialekTon 2011. Review by Sándor Ildikó.
Dance house musicians and Gypsy musicians in Hungary: a historical look at the musicians and bands of the urban dance house movement and at the movement itself from the beginning of the 1970s to the present. Interesting observations on the differences between the revival movement musicians, city Gypsy musicans, and traditional musicians from the villages. In the end, musician Árendás Péter (author of the article) asks the question: What has happened to the feeling, respect for; and humility in the face of our musical heritage? A reminder to today’s young generation of city dance house musicians. First published in Élet és Irodalom, LV. 8.
Dreisziger Kálmán criticizes the Csík Band’s widely popular fusion of Hungarian rock/pop and folk music as a „sellout”, cop-out and capitalistic money-hungry venture. Dreisziger would prefer that the band stick with the pure authentic folk style – urging them „not to make deals with the enemy”. The article also offers information on marketing practices of large western record labels.
Eulogy for Karsai Zsigmond 1920–2011
Given by Felföldi László at the funeral on March 26, 2011
Karsai Zsigmond, who was born in Transylvania and came to Hungary in the early 1940s, was a folk artist with extraordinary talent. The dances, songs, music and memories of the folk culture he brought with him from his native village of Lőrincréve have been well documented and became well-known largely because of his generosity and charismatic personality. He was also an acclaimed painter. In Karsai’s words: „We have been given this life as a gift....We know and like what is good, and respect those people whose lives are a show of that.”
World Music From Hungary
A description of the WOMEX World Music Expo trade fairs held yearly, Hungary’s participation in the past and hopes for this year’s WOMEX to be held in Copenhagan, Denmark. Hungary’s Hangvető folk/world music distributor partnered with Budapest’s Palace of the Arts hopes to win a competition to be able to present Hungary at the opening gala of WOMEX this year. Hungary’s gala would present their foremost folk and world music artists. Report by Tóth Melinda of Hangvető. [Hungary did indeed open WOMEX with their gala on Oct. 26 in Copenhagen S.F.]
Open letter to Diószegi László
This letter responds to Diószegi’s article on Hungary’s system of jurying and rating the performances of amateur folk dance groups (in 2011/1 folkMAGazin). Apparantly Diószegi intimated that juries of the past could be persuaded to give an ensemble a high ranking if the ensemble showed particular hospitality to the jury at the time of the juried performance. This author objects to this remark at length, listing groups that recieved highest rankings from juries of the past that could not possibly have been persuaded in such manner. By Szigetvári József.
1992 conversation with Kallós Zoltán
Kallós has been a key figure in the dance house movement from the beginning. He is from, and still lives in, Transylvania and has collected folk art, songs and music all his life. He has published books and released recordings from his collections and established organizations to house his collections and foster preservation of local tradition. He is also a traditional singer. Born in 1926, this year Kallós Zoltán celebrates his 85th birthday.
Here Kallós answers questions on: the status of the dance house movement; dance houses forbidden in Kolozsvár before the 1989 revolution; whether the dance house movement has larger meaning in Transylvania or not; his native Mezőség region and traditional bands there. Includes biographical information from Kallos.org.ro website.
By K. Tóth László.
Choreographer Novák Ferenc „Tata” is 80 years old. Novák is a key figure in the Hungarian folk dance world, he was artistic director of the Honvéd Dance Theatre for many, many years; the Bihari Ensemble and a long line of grandiose folk dance and music spectacles are connected to his name. At his 80th birthday party at Budapest’s Vígszínház on March 28th, 2011, Hungary’s President awarded him the Hungarian Golden Cross. In this tribute, a longtime friend and colleague commends his avid support of the Hungarian dance ensembles in Slovakia over the years. By Takács András.
Concert on Palm Sunday (2011) in the city of Pécs by the Muzsikás Ensemble with Petrás Mária, Farkas Zoltán and Tóth Ildikó. Muzsikás pleases audiences in the world’s most prestigous concert halls and clearly they please audiences in Hungary as well. This review aptly describes the kind of unforgettable music and dance moments that draw a person back to their concerts time and again. By Szávai József.
Review of the Szőttes Chamber Ensemble’s new program recently performed in their hometown of Bratislava (aka: Pozsony) at the „Nová Scéna” Theatre in the spring of 2011. The program of dances included authentic style material from Hungarian communities in Slovakia and Transylvania, performed by Szőttes dancers, with participation of the junior Szőttes group, Hortobágyi Gyöngyvér, Németh Ildikó, Szabó Szilárd, Végső Miklós and poetry recited by actor Gál Tamás. The entire program is commended as well as the accompanying band. By Takács András – ethnographer.
Kóka Rozália’s children’s column:
The tale of how shepherd Juhász Andris became an outlaw. It all started when Andris knew he should stay awake all night and watch his flock, but he was so tired from the previous days work, that he fell asleep. When he awoke his flock was gone. He found that they had eaten themselves to death in an alfalfa field. Because of this he was too severely punished by the estate lord’s manager and was forced into the life of an outlaw. Andris felt as if the manager had killed him. Finally, rather then killing the manager when he had a chance, he only robbed him and then split the money amongst his outlaw friends. See end of tale in Hungarian for source information.
Magtár – the literary column
A poem by Ferenczes István: [With the wonders of the dance house fluttering behind it...]
Born Ferencz Salamon István in Csíkpálfalva (Transylvania) in 1945 – this writer is one of Transylvania’s leading literary figures and is founder and editor of the cultural journal Székelyföld. The poem printed here was first published in a volume entitled „Megőszülsz mint a fenyvesek” by Kriterion Press in 1986.
Kóka Rozália’s series of stories of women’s lives.
Part II – painter Katharina Clemente’s life story
Katharina takes us through the events of her first marriage, describing the squalor of life in Budapest before she, her husband and two children defected to Austria. The family went back and forth between Austria and Canada several times (during which time she had a third child) before they finally divorced. She mentions selling her work in Canada to get money to go back to Austria. Katharina preferred Austria, supporting herself and her children as a mathematics tutor. Later on she married again and had two more children. Now she is married to an Austrian and enjoys success in showing and selling her work and describes her life as a happy one.
Henics Tamás’ photographs and description of a small adobe, thatched roofed stable in the village of Visa in the Mezőség region of Transylvania. It had been built in the 1870s by a Romanian family named Albon. The final owner of the stable, Albon Valer, died in 2009. Tamás photographed the stable and its owner between 1999 and 2009. By 2010 the stable had disappeared from the surface of the earth...
A theoretical-philosophical-intellectual exercise examining the usage of folk music in Hungary – particularly in the dance house movement. Words of the great master Bartók Béla are used as the point of departure. The writing is organized under the following headings: (dance house) history; subjective axioms; stage craft – community culture; original – arranged; clichéd – artistic(original); personal – general; the folksong as the basic form for every arrangement. The Nox band’s use of folk material is critcized. Parting advice: „...take a deep breath and reach back once again to our roots and our master, Béla Bartók...” By Kelemen László (director – Hungarian Heritage House, director – Final Hour village folk music collection project, musician, composer, record producer).
Published by Juhos Kiss Sándor – written by Kocsis Rózsi (1986):
Fire! in Szék
True stories – recollections from the „old times” (sometime before 1986) – when fires broke out in this Transylvanian village: fires that tragically destroyed the wheat harvest and people’s homes. Family members or farm animals also perished when such fires broke out.
Embers and soot
This is a story told – for the most part – by Széki Soós János’ mother. A story about the old ways in the Transylvanian village of Szék – how it was in the dance houses, how they worked in the fields and what they took with them for lunch, how they processed the flax to make the linen they wove with, how they made the bread, and how they knew if the outdoor oven was the right temperature. These are the kinds of things most of us don’t know today – there is a whole special vocabulary that belongs to each process – a vocabulary disappearing in today’s society. By Széki Soós János.
This article provides historical information about the culinary habits of the average Hungarian in the first half of the 20th century, then goes on to give some recipes for spring dishes using greens that can be found growing wild in Hungary. By Báti Anikó.
Széki Soós János’ column
An account of young girls going to the salt bathes on a summer night. Written by Kocsis Rózsi who was born into a peasant family in Szék in 1932 (she died 1999). Despite the fact that she had only a 4th grade education, she began writing about her life in her old age (from: Igaz Szó Évkönyve – Marosvásárhely, [Romania] 1984).
Report on the March 13th performance of tradition preserving ensembles at the Új Színház in Budapest. At this yearly event, the Muharay Association presents groups from villages that perform simple stagings of their local folk traditions. The first half of the 2011 program was entitled „In the church – in memory of our grandparents”, the second half was dedicated to folk traditions of Carnival through Easter and Pentecost. In all, groups from nine different villages performed. This is a wonderful opportunity for people who live in the city and wouldn’t otherwise have access – to folk traditions and dances from the countryside. By Antal László.
The Kaláka Festival is held every year on the second weekend of July. This year was the 32nd Kaláka Festival. The festival presents folk groups from all over Hungary and a host of related activities. Unfortunately this year’s festival shall be the last one held in the dramatic location of the castle ruins at Diósgyőr (outside the city of Miskolc), due to planned restoration work on the castle. Go to www.kalakafesztival.hu for new location and news on the 2012 festival. By K. Tóth László.
Wedding in Rajasthan
Musician Barkat Khan describes the main events, process and musician’s role during the traditional three day wedding. Musician Rehmat Khan Langa (from Barnawa, Rajasthan, now lives in Delhi) also gives a description of his life and music. A short description of the main instrument of the Rajasthan langa musicians – the sarangi – is also included. Photos and text by Ábrahám Judit.
Folk dance research in Dévaványa today
This is the story of how a folk dancer from a neighboring village became interested in researching the traditional dances of Dévaványa – a small town in eastern Hungary (population approximately 8000). Thanks mainly to the work of ethnographer dr. Bereczki Imre (1912–1997) from Dévaványa and the museum there that houses his collections, the author of this article has been able to continue researching the dances of this village – though information from the archives of the National Institute of Musicology has also proved helpful. Reprinted here is also an article written by Berecki that appeared in Kis Újság on April 28th, 1949 – an account of the local verbunk. By Mahovics Tamás.
Beliefs and customs of Spain (Part I.) – Catching a man/courtship
In Spanish traditional society people turn to Saint Anthony and Saint Rita in such matters. Here is a listing of various practices used for finding a husband. By Valter Linda.
Szabados György (1939 – June 10, 2011). Composer, pianist, 2011 recipient of the Kossuth Prize, founding figure in Hungarian improvisational jazz.
Dobszay László (1935 – August 26, 2011). Music historian, scholar, former director of the research department of the Hungarian Institute of Musicology, president of the Széchenyi Academy of Literature and Art 2008 – April 2011.
New recording: Szokolay Dongó Balázs and Bolya Mátyás: Tánclánc
Selections from music they wrote to accompany the Duna Ensemble’s dance performance entitled „Örökkön-örökké”. „...sometimes barbaric, sometimes meditative, other times with the wit of wandering musicians, or with the artistry and propensity for improvisation of court musicians, and at times having the raw sound of peasant music.” Review by Kiss Ferenc.
The koboz debate
Bolya Mátyás voices his complaints about a volume published by the Hungarian Heritage House at the beginning of 2011: Koboziskola (by Horváth Gyula). The book is a study of the koboz (or coboz) – the plucked instrument used both by traditional musicians in Moldavia and by musicians of the Hungarian traditional music revival. The publication includes a DVD and bases lessons for learning to play the instrument on the playing styles of two traditional Moldavian musicians.
Németh László, who wrote the introduction for and edited the above-mentioned Hungarian Heritage House publication, Koboziskola (by Horváth Gyula, 2011), responds to Bolya Mátyás’ complaints on pages 6–8. folkMAGazin has included great photographs of traditional koboz players with both these articles.
Kóka Rozália’s children’s column
Myths of Hungary’s King István, the Nyitra Castle and the King’s nephew Vászoly. Nyitra, once part of the royal Hungarian territories, is located today in Slovakia. From a book by Szombathy Viktor, printed in Bratislava, 1979.
The Transylvanian village of Szék received the Hungarian Heritage Award on June 18th, 2011. Because of its unique Hungarian traditional culture, its history and role in the dance house movement, this village has become a kind of pilgrimage destination. Printed here is Sebő Ferenc’s June 18th laudation for Szék.
Literary column: Vári Attila: On Szék as if it were a bedtime story (published in: Székelyföld, August 2011). A memoir that begins nostalgic and thoughtful about the days when his relatives that lived in various Transylvanian cities employed servants – young girls from nearby villages. He goes on to describe Klári a servant girl from Szék, and the time in 1970 when he made a film in Szék and in the meantime found out that the most well-to-do farmer in the village had been shot by the securitate – basically because he didn’t want to join the collective and no one in the village would join the collective until he did. The parting thought: „The motto of Romania’s dictatorship should have been: Proletariat of the world unite – or we’ll shoot!”
Kóka Rozália’s series on women’s life stories
Part 1. Szőnyi Zsuzsa’s life story
Born in 1924, daughter of Szőnyi István, the painter/graphics artist. Her maternal grandfather – Bartóky József had worked in the Ministry of Agriculture. Zsuzsa spent her young childhood in Zebegény (north of Budapest on the Danube) listening to her parents’ conversations with their friends who were artists and intellectuals. The family moved back to Budapest when it came time to enroll her in school. She married Triznya Mátyás in 1944 – right when the Germans entered Hungary during World War II. Zsuzsa and her new husband decided to try to escape to Austria. They were caught at the border and put in jail. When they were finally released, they went back to Budapest and immediately began to plan their departure from Hungary. To be continued.
An adventure in Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains
Stuber György’s report on a festival in the village of Borino in Bulgaria in the spring of 2011. He made recordings at the festival which can now be found in the archives in the Hungarian Heritage House. His article makes the point that the Rhodope Mountains are one of the few places in Bulgaria where pentatonic melodies can be found. He talks mainly about bagpipe music, touches on the singing style, and also provides some information on how Bulgarian traditional music fared under the communist system. Text and photos by Stuber György.
Tradition – Heritage – Popular Culture
Part 1: A discussion of the role of traditional folk music in Hungarian contemporary music. An examination of traditional tunes that have become „hits” and have been used over and over again. An example is the song „Tavaszi szél” – which has been arranged in a many different ways: from Bárdos Lajos’ to Boney M’s versions and even T-Home’s (the Hungarian telephone company) – who used it to advertise their internet package, and then sponsored a competition where anyone could enter their own version. Another tune, „Gyere ki, te gyöngyvirág” is also discussed. Versions of this tune have appeared in the repertoire of many, many bands (both traditional and world music bands). The writer’s experiences sitting on the jury of a recent world music song contest also add to the subject matter, along with his critiques of some of the entrants. By Kiss Ferenc.
Hungarian Americans visit the old country
A group of special Hungarian scouts – the so-called regös scouts – arrived from Cleveland, Ohio this summer. One of the goals of the regös scouts (a movement that began in 1908) is for young [Hungarians] to spend time in villages learning about the customs, traditions and life there. This group of Cleveland teenagers came to visit the mother country and also spent several days in the village of Kazár in Nógrád County – Palóc country. They were treated to a full circle of activities from pig slaughtering to the local dances, costume and history. Report by Pigniczky Réka – former member of the Cleveland Regös Scouts/ resident of Hungary for the past 10 years.
Beliefs and Susperstitions in Szék
The first tale is about a tiny man that „Auntie” Kisó had seen sitting under a tombstone in the cemetery. The little man was unhappy, had no clothes and felt neglected, and he said he could help stop the Plague. The village was experiencing a horrible epidemic of the Plague at the time and people were dropping flies. Finally Kisó and another woman decided they had better make peace with the little man. They spun, wove and sewed him some clothes, took the clothes up to the cemetery and left them there for him. Within a week the epidemic was over.
The other story is about a lady in the village who was a healer. Such healers had frogs. The healer women with frogs couldn’t die until they had passed on the healing powers and the frogs to someone else. The frogs were said to be devils in the form of frogs. ”...When I was a child I heard about the funeral of one of those healer women and how the frogs came hopping right along after the funeral procession...”
From the writings of Kocsis Rózsi – published by Juhos Kiss Sándor and Juhos-Kiss János. Kocsis Rózsi (born: Szék 1932/ died 1999) began writing down memories of her life in her old age.
Krizsán András, Somogyi Győző: Traditional Architecture of the Upper Balaton Region. [Cser Kiadó, 2009 ISBN: 9789632781136]
A conversation with Krizsán András about the book, the architecture and history of the region. The Káli Basin – part of the Upper Balaton Region – is especially known for this kind of archtiecture. Concerted efforts have been made there over the past decades to preserve houses with this style of architecture. Krizsán András talks about establishing workshops for learning and preserving the trades needed for building this kind of building. By Grozdits Károly.
Food and Tradition – Old Hungarian fish recipes
Some history on fish in Hungarian cusine. Recipes for: pickled fish, fish baked in clay, fish on a skewer, small fish cooked on bed of reeds, layered fish and cabbage. By Juhász Katalin.
Thoughts and writings from the past
Magyarvista. By Márai Sándor, 1942. Márai (1900–1989), one of Hungary’s greatest writers, describes a Sunday in Magyarvista – a village in the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. Amongst his parting thoughts: „...Kalotaszeg is one of the greatest and most Hungarian of the living museums. An unfathombly beautiful thing. It has been handed down to us from our forefathers. But if we don’t take care of it, we’ll lose it, and this is something that is irreplacable...”
Kalotaszeg. By Kós Károly, 1912. Kós Károly (1883–1977) was an architect, writer, graphics artist, publisher, teacher and politician, who spent most of his life in Transylvania, and much of it in a village in the Kalotaszeg region. “…with its ancient culture in its centuries-old isolation the old Kalotaszeg is going to ruin with new times being formed by a new world. We here in Kalotaszeg know very well that we cannot stop this process...[but] we want the new Kalotaszeg to be Hungarian, cultured and ours. It should be a continuation of the old, as we are continuations of our fathers, we want to salvage what can be saved, and protect ourselves from being left with nothing, after throwing out the old…”
The Fülep Márk Project – Contemporary music, folk music, improvisations
Report and review of the June 10th concert at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest. The concert featured Fülep Márk (flutes), Lukács Miklós (cymbalom) and Borbély Mihály (saxophones), with guests: Bognár Szilvia (voice), Sipos Mihály (violin) and dancers Farkas Zoltán and Tóth Ildikó. The concert was a successful meeting of contemporary classical, jazz and folk music and musicians. It was the brain child of Fülep Mark who was artistic director, organizer and producer of the program. By Barvich Iván.
Listings of dance houses, workshops, classes, folk clubs and shops [mainly in Budapest].
Téka Ensemble celebrates 35 years
Conversation with founding member of the band, Lányi György. „...thirty-five years seems like a short time when I think back over the all the experiences, learning, adventures, tours and amazing people we’ve met...how rich its been...”. Over the years Téka has hosted wildly popular dance houses, camps and workshops. They have been dedicated to passing on their knowledge to younger generations. There was a concert and party at the Fonó in Budapest on October 22nd, 2011 in celebration of Téka’s 35th. Téka today: Havasréti Pál (double bass), Lányi György (viola, bagpipe), Ökrös Csaba (violin), Soós András (violin) and Tárnoki Beatrix (voice). By Török Ferenc.
Lőrincz János (1916–2011) was born and lived most of his life in the village of Szépkenyerűszentmárton [Sânmartin] in Transylvania’s northern Mezőség region. „He knew the traditional dances of [his home region] – his favorites were the fast tempoed men’s dances which he danced with the energy of a young person.” He was over 70 years old when the dance researchers discovered him; he received the title „Master of FolkArts” at the age of 90. For the most part amateur video recordings were made of his dancing. Includes list of documentation on him that can be found in the archives of the Hungarian Insititute of Musicology. By Misi Gábor.
Beliefs and Customs of Spain – Part II.
Courting customs. A listing of various ways in which young men began courting or asked her parent’s permission to court a young woman in traditional society in various locations in Spain. Since these are related in the past tense, it is probably safe to assume that these are not the practices today. In one case it is specified that a custom was practiced before 1936. By Valter Linda.
Kóka Rozália’s children’s column
One about a village that had a very stupid judge and stupid villagers that followed his orders. If the judge hadn’t died, the villagers would still be just as stupid.
The other tale is about Lazy Jankó – a very, very lazy boy who had something to eat as long as his parents were alive. After they died he still refused to go to work. Getting hungry, he decided it was time to steal. He stole a chicken, a goose, a clock, a wheelbarrow and when he was in the midst of stealing a pig, he got scared about getting caught. He started running away and he’s still running.
Collected by folklorist Nagy Zoltán, from his book „Az ikertünderek” Akadémiai Press. Budapest, 1990.
Special exhibition on Transylvanian churches at the Hungarian Museum of Ethnography in Budapest. Photographs, watercolors and pen and ink drawings documenting the wooden churches of the Kalotaszeg, Mezőség and Szilágyság region, the so-called „castle churches” of Székelyföld and the fortress churches in the Saxon area of southern Transylvania. The exhibition is open until March 18, 2012. Report by Tasnádi Zsuzsanna.
Széki Soós János’ beautiful descriptions of Szék [Sic]– its landscape, working in the surrounding fields, on leaving Szék in hopes of a better life, those who have returned to spend the rest of their lives there and on the kind of social rules that made its close knit community.
The other writing is a poem about setting out on foot from the castle ruins in Bonchida [Bonțida] over the hills „toward the black and red of Szék – the blood and mourning – woven into fiddle strings and melodies of Szék...”. By Kovács István (reprinted from Székelyföld 2011 August issue).
Kóka Rozália’s series on women’s life stories
Part II. Szőnyi Zsuzsa’s life story
In this section of the story we hear about how Zsuzsa and her husband got across the border into Austria in 1949 and why they ended up in Italy. Her husband, the artist, Triznya Mátyás had the good fortune to get work right away on the set of Vittorio De Sica’s film „Miracle in Milan” and then continued working in the film industry. Zsuzsa worked for Italian Radio for 40 years, retired, then worked 7 more years at Vatican Radio. Her mother and father were finally able to visit them not long before her father passed away in 1960. To be continued.
The Kallós Foundation Museum in Válaszút [Răscruci], Romania.
Kallós Ethnographic Museum opened its doors in 1998 in the building that had been the Kallós family home, in Kallós’ home village. In 2011 photographer Korniss Péter took photographs of the newly refreshed exhibition from Kallós’ collections and now a book on the exhibition including Korniss’ photos has been released. Ethnographer Andrásfalvy Bertalan’s introduction from the book is printed here with some of Korniss’ photographs.
Part II: Traditional folk music’s role in Hungarian contemporary music. „What works and what can be tossed”. Discussion of various projects (and advertising campaigns) embarked upon of late by Hungarian star folk musicians/singers who have branched out into other genres of music: mentioned here are singers Szalóki Ági, Palya Bea, Herczku Ági and the Csík Band and many others. Also described is a sample CD that Songlines Magazine produced for its March 2011 issue – a selection of world music by various Hungarian musicians. 25,000 copies of the sample CD were released and are being distributed in 70 countries. A nice summary of the present status of folk and world music in Hungary, makes note that the cymbalom is back in style and that perhaps live restaurant Gypsy music is making a come-back. By Kiss Ferenc.
Listing of folk dance performances between November 19th and December 31st at two Budapest venues: Palace of the Arts and the National Dance Theatre.
Food and Tradition – Corn in Hungarian cusine
Corn came to Europe – and the Hungarian language region – from America. It began to be used in Hungarian kitchens from the beginning of the 17th century. Hungarians, especially in Transylvania, have been known to cook it and serve it similar to the northern Italian polenta. It is often found in recipes for foods eaten when meat isn’t being served during certain religious fasting periods. Traditional corn recipes included here: Moldavian corn soup, cabbage stuffed with polenta and pumpkin seeds, Moldavian corn cake, Szilágyság style cabbage stuffed with polenta. By Juhász Katalin.
Report on a concert of folk choruses from the Budapest region. The concert was judged by a jury and the best choruses were given awards. The writer questions the choice of material given the average age of the people in the choirs: most of whom are senoir citizens. Quite often the songs depict thoughts of youth during the time of choosing a mate, courtship, love. By Trencsényi László.
Sebestyén Márta’s concert in Pécs, October 24, 2011.
A concert in memory of Franz Liszt. Márta performed with Gombai Tamás (violin), Havasréti Pál (double bass), Balogh Kálmán (cymbalom), Andrajszki Judit (voice, cemballo) and Company Canario Dance Ensemble. Report by Szávai József.
List of folk artists that were given the title of „Master of Folk Arts” in 2011. This title is state-level recognition for traditional singers, dancers, story tellers, instrument makers and other folk artists.
Hungarian Heartbeats – was the name of the opening gala concert at the WOMEX world music trade fair in Copenhagen on October 26, 2011. Conversation with Liber Endre one of the managing directors of Hangvető (the Hungarian folk and world music distributor) and a producer of the gala. „...It’s a great thing to have the chance to do the opening gala, because amongst all the WOMEX participants, the entire Hungarian folk and world music palette gets the spotlight and then the whole WOMEX is sort of about Hungary...” By Strack Orsolya.
Two writings from 1970 on Bartók:
Bartók’s path: A look at the genius of Bartók’s work twenty-five years after his death. By Vermesy Péter.
To Say Bartók: preparations for an evening of Bartók – an attempt to create a picture of Bartók and to conjure up the depth of his personality, work and artistry – by reciting him, quoting him and quoting others on him. By Banner Zoltán.
Slovak Folk Songs – publication of Bartók’s manuscripts on his collection of Slovak folk songs. This publication has become a several decade long project. This article gives us some history on Slovak – Hungarian relations, Bartók’s Slovak folk song collection, the manuscript and the project of getting it published. Edited by: Käfer István, Sztakovics Erika. Germanus Press, Szeged, Hungary 2011. Article by Käfer István.
Beliefs and Superstitions in Szék (Sic)
From the writings of Kocsis Rózsi – published by Juhos Kiss Sándor, Juhos-Kiss János. Kocsis Rózsi (born: Szék 1932/died 1999) began writing down memories of her life in her old age.
A story about a salve made by an old Romanian healer/sorceress woman that could make a selected person grow tired of someone else’s company.
Another tale about a certain piece of church drapery that had such bad luck that none of the ladies in the village would take on the job of mending it.
The Rákóczi March is one of Hungary’s most well-known tunes. Liszt, Erkel and Berlioz all did arrangements of this tune which originates from the Rákóczi song that has been found in 17th century codexes. The written music for Berlioz’ version is part of a special exhibit at the Music Collection rooms of the Széchényi National Library until December 22nd, 2011. Article by Mikusi Balázs.
Gadányi Pál – Master of Folkarts – bagpipe player and maker. Mr. Gadányi was born in the southern Hungarian village of Tótújfalu (Somogy County) in 1932. He is of Croatian descent. As a young man he became a carpenter, then began making instruments for the tambura band in his village. He also played in the band. In the late 1950s he began learning to make and play the bagpipe from his neighbor, Kovács Pávo. He has made more than 50 bagpipes. His bagpipes are a transitional type – between the Hungarian bagpipe and bagpipes found in the Croatian language area. This kind of bagpipe is found in a 100–150 km zone on both sides of the Dráva River. Mr. Gadányi was named „Master of Folk Arts” (a national recognition) in 2011. Report by Szabó Zoltán.
Book review: Fügedi János: Tánc-Jel-Írás. L’Harmattan kiadó-MTA Zenetudományi Intézet, 2011 Budapest. ISBN 978-963-236-410-0. In Hungarian. A guidebook for notating solo and circle dance forms of Hungarian folk dance using Lábán dance notation. This review gives us information on history of dance notation in Hungary, then acquaints us with Fügedi János’ (an internationally recognized expert in this field) research and teaching background. Fügedi studied under Szentpál Mária and Lányi Ágoston – both of whom were esteemed experts in this field in Hungary. The reviewer acquaints us with Martin György’s theory behind his use of dance notation in his famous work on the Transylvanian dancer Mátyás István “Mundruc”, then ends voicing the hope that Fügedi will continue with another volume on notating couple dances and implement dances. By Karácsony Zoltán.
Hungarian Customs – Saint Lucia Day (December 13th) and Christmas. Hungarian tradition includes a variety of customs that were practiced on Saint Lucia Day. Also described here are Christmas Eve (December 24th) and Christmas Day customs etc. By Kóka Rozália.
Artistic Director of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble (a.k.a. MÁNE) Mihályi Gábor speaks about the ensemble. For ten years now MÁNE has been operating under the wing of the Hungarian Heritage House. This year the ensemble celebrates its 60th anniversary, while the Hungarian Heritage House its 10th. The professional ensemble presently has an active repertoire of eleven diff erent shows – some of which are traditional dance material; some are contemporary choreographies based on folk material (which have inspired plenty of controversy). Mihályi’s comment: “We don’t dance for the politicians, or for the profession – we dance for the audience”. Interview by Serfőző Melinda.
Celebration: The teaching methods based on ethnographic research that have been consciously developed within, and are an integral aspect of, the Hungarian dance house movement have been added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. See: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/index.php?lg=en&pg=00011. “Programmes, projects and activities for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage considered to best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention”. “Táncház method: a Hungarian model for the transmission of intangible cultural heritage.” The táncház movement is very proud. Report by Csonka-Takács Eszter.
Kóka Rozália’s series on women’s life stories. Part III. Conclusion: Szőnyi Zsuzsa’s life story. Zsuzsa (born: Budapest 1924) and her husband, the artist Triznya Mátyás, lived in Rome for five decades (1949–2007), where their house became a regular meeting place for Hungarians passing through or living in Italy. Many well-known literary figures, artists and scholars came to the informal gatherings in their home. Zsuzsa tells stories about their friendships with Fitz Jenő, Pilinszky János, Kerényi Károly, Márai Sándor, Cs. Szabó László, Békés Gellért, Peskó Zoltán – only a few of the people that passed through their lives and their „Triznya pub” evenings.
Some additional information on the background of two traditional dancepantomimes: „Bene Vendel’s Dance” and „The Savanyó Play” – in memory of dance researcher Pesovár Ernő. These pantomimes were done at weddings mainly in southwestern Hungary. Both of which are connected to legendary outlaws and said to be linked to archaic death dances. Both of these little dance-plays are done later on during the wedding feast around midnight or thereafter. This writing cites actual history on these outlaws, drawing links to the stories acted out in the dance-pantomimes. Includes bibliography. By P. Vas János.
Beliefs and Customs of Spain – Part III. The engagement. A listing of customs from various parts of Spain on asking for a girl’s hand in marriage, and then what was to be done – or not done – by the betrothed couple and their families during the engagement period. By Valter Linda.
Interview with Szokolay Balázs „Dongó” and Bolya Mátyás. These two musicians are very active in the Hungarian folk and world music scene these days. They play on four different records released over the last year. Here they talk about a new CD of their own compositions entitled Kindoflute (Dialekton). Also discussed: their creative process, other projects and recordings, Bartók, music copyright issues, music business in Hungary. See end of article in Hungarian for relevent web addresses. By www.kulturpart.hu – a Hungarian cultural website.
Traditional Dance Culture of Baranya County – Southern Hungary. There has been a renaissance of dance research in Baranya County. A new generation of inspired dance researchers that live in the region are involved in review of the material in the national archives, collection of new material and comparison of today’s status of traditional Hungarian dance in the region with the archival documentation. This report is summary of a conference held in the town of Hosszúhetény. Papers were given discussing the above-mentioned research. Presentations were critiqued by senior dance researchers Andrásfalvy Bertalan and Felföldi László, with Varga Sándor. The conference was organized by the two dance ensembles in the region. By Molnár Péter.