English Table of Contents 2018/1     

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New Publication: Agócs Gergely: Pál István mesél. Hungarian Heritage House. 2018. Budapest. In Hungarian. The volume contains 18 folk tales collected between 1992 and 2015 by ethnographer, ethnomusicologist Agócs Gergely from his informant: Hungarian traditional shepherd, bagpiper, instrument maker, story teller Pál István (1919–2015) from Hungary’s Nógrád County. The publication also includes audio and video material.

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2018 is the 575th year since the birth of Hunyadi Mátyás and the 560th year since he was crowned king of Hungary. Printed here are excerpts from Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Endre’s (1886-1944) work entitled "Mátyás király” [King Mátyás]. Matthias Corvinus, also called Matthias I, was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458 to 1490. He was born in Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca, Romania) on February 23, 1443. Also in this issue is a folk tale about how he was crowned king. By Kóka Rozália.

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Mikecs László and the Hungarians outside of the Carpathian Basin. Mikecs was born in 1917 in the village of Bihardiószeg/Diosig, on the Hungarian-Romanian border in Romania’s Bihar County. He died a prisoner of war in a camp in Taganrog, Russia, on December 4, 1944. He was a teacher, historian, ethnographer and linguist. This study examines his short life, life-work, writings and publications. Mikecs was interested in relations between Hungarians and Romanians and, "…felt it important to stand up decisively against chauvinism and nationalism." One of the books he wrote was on Csángó Hungarians and other Hungarians outside of the Carpathian Basin. By Tampu Krisztián.

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Thoughts on placing pickups on a Hungarian hurdy-gurdy: a detailed technical discussion of the ups and downs of placing pickups on a traditional hurdy-gurdy whether for the purpose of amplification or recording. The instrument used as an example is one made by the traditional Hungarian musician, instrument-maker and ethnographic informant from Southeastern Hungary, Bársony Mihály (Tiszaalpár, 1915–1989). The author also brings up the question of whether or not it is (would be) ethical to alter an instrument made by Bársony in the ways suggested – towards use of the modern sound technology. The parting comment is that it’s too bad Bársony isn’t still around to ask, as he would certainly have had some creative input. By Bartha Z. Ágoston.

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Novák Ferenc writes about discussions around his dinner table with friends Csoóri Sándor Sr., Bodor Pál, Deák Tamás, Böjte József, Heleszta Sándor, Sütő András, Karikás Péter, Keserű Kati, Böszörményi Nagy György, Ablonczy László, Kallós Zoltán, Korniss Péter – back in the winter of 1985. People, nations, provincialism, cosmopolitanism, Hungary, and the overemphasizing, silencing, underrating and overrating of identity: were subjects of discussion – that often led to argument and anger….but, he reminds the reader later on, “our people, our culture could – and does have fantastic cementing force that keeps us together….” Originally published in Magyar Nemzet April 27th, 1991/then in Novák Ferenc Tata: Tánc, élet, varázslat… Hagymányok Háza, Budapest, 2016. pp. 194-198.

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Kocsis Rózsi’s – Stories from Szék. This is the story of the time Rózsi’s father wore a green shirt and the reaction of his close friend with whom he’d survived 4 years in Siberia as a prisoner of war. His friend said: “…brother…have you lost your mind?...We [survived], we came back from Siberia. We must uphold the pledge of our ancestors! I’m going to rip it off you! It brings shame to a village that wears white shirts…our ancestors left us the white shirt - we must carry it on…”: an illustration of the people in Szék’s relationship to their traditional costume, which also makes reference to their history. Excerpt from Kocsis Rózsi’s memoires (Szék 1932–1999) – from the Juhos Kiss Sándor/Juhos-Kiss János publication.

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Obituary. Albert Gábor (October 30, 1929 –December 8, 2017) was a Hungarian writer, member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, the Hungarian Writers Association; winner of the József Attila, Péterfy Vilmos, Arany János prizes, the Kossuth and Berzsényi Dániel awards, the Hungarian Knights’ Cross of Honour and the Hungarian Heritage Prize. He was buried in Budapest on January 4th, 2018. His most important works were short stories, novels, historical novels. An educational work of his published in 1983 entitled "Emelt fővel” had the power of ’historical reparation’ for the Bukovina Székely Hungarians. By Kóka Rózália.

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Martenica Bulgarian Folk Dance Ensemble celebrated its 35th anniversary with a full length performance at Marcibányi Square Cultural Center in Budapest on October 22nd, 2017. For the special performance Martenica invited guest musicians and choreographers from Bulgaria, dancers and musicians who worked with the group throughout the years, with the present group also performing. This amateur ensemble is based in Budapest and supported by Bulgarian communities all over Budapest and the surrounding area. The performance was supported by the Hungarian Human Resources Ministry and Support Commission. Director of the ensemble: Deli Levente. Printed here is a report on the anniversary performance and surrounding events by Nagy Timea; and the speech given by Doncsev Tosó at the event.

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Comments on the history of the Šokci and Bosnian minorities in Southern Hungary’s Baranya County. These Roman Catholic groups arrived in the region during the second half of the 17th century/beginning of the 18th century from eastern Slavonia and Bosnia’s ’middle section’. Names of communities inhabited by these ethnic groups are listed in the Hungarian article. Though ethnically Bosnian, these people are, "not in any way to be confused with the Muslim Bosnians of today’s Bosnia and Hercegovina...” Barics Ernő from the publication: Baranyai horvát népviseletek. Pécs. 2017. pp. 177-178

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Interview with musician Lázár Zsigmond on his relationship to folk music. From first grade onward, he attended the elementary school for singing and music in Dunaújváros, Hungary. Later on, his violin teacher registered him in the first dance house musician training course in Győr taught by Halmos Béla, Virágvölgyi Márta and members of the Téka band: at that point he knew nothing whatsoever about authentic folk music, Transylvania or the dance house movement. He describes the moment he became ‘infected’ by traditional folk music: playing music from Szék with others attending the course on the train on the way home from Győr. His first composition work was for a choreography by Szögi Csaba performed at the Zalaegerszeg Dance Festival in the 1980s. Today he composes, directs and plays music for theatre, is leader of a men’s chorus, conductor for the Dohány utca Synogogue, plays keyboards in a rock band, teaches music in a program for young people called ‘Second Chance’, and plays in formations such as Odessa Klezmer Band, Etnofon Band and with Nádasdy Ádám. He mentions a point at which he realized he’s not a folk musician, but rather a musician that also plays folk music. By Grozdits Károly.

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Hungarian Museum of Folk Crafts 2018 January 19 – March 14: Exhibition of weavings and handwork by three generations of women from one family of Bukovina Székely Hungarians: Mrs. Lőrincz Aladár, her daughter Lőrincz Etel and granddaughter Kontár Veronika. Mrs. Lőrincz Aladár was 9 years old when her family left Bukovina, she learned to weave at home from her own family members. Her father was a loom-maker, her husband also made looms; but she also completed the course for decorative arts and won numerous local and national awards recognizing her work. She was given the title: ’Traditonal Master of Folk Arts’. Both she and her daughter have taught weaving in their area. The 3rd generation continues the family tradition. Printed here is Beszprémy Katalin’s speech opening the exhibition at 1011 Budapest, Fő utca 6.

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Bukovina, Bukovina – Part VII – Excerpts from Kóka Rozália’s book. In this issue we read about the author’s return to her home village, Felsőnána, Hungary in 1968 to do folklore collection work amongst her relatives and neighbors – Hungarian Székely people originally from Bukovina. Also in 1968, Rozália met the historian, ethnographer Domokos Pál Péter (1901–1992) who introduced her to the history of the Bukovina Székely Hungarians. She also describes her first trip to Bukovina in 1970 to visit the village her father and his family had been deported from in 1941: Hadikfalva/Dornești – today located in Northeastern Romania’s, Suceava County on the Ukrainian border. From “Bukovina, Bukovina”, Fekete Sas Kiadó, Budapest, 2017. 343 pages. In Hungarian.

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The role of vegetable oils in the Hungarian peasant diet: traditionally Hungarians use animal fat – mainly pork fat – to cook with. However there is a custom of using vegetable oils in the kitchen during the Lenten season. Oils used were/are made from seeds found in the region: flax, linseed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed. Nut (walnut/almond) oils, beech nut and poppy seed oils are also mentioned. There is a history of using homemade oils for healing. Traditional methods for making oil (cooking, pressing) are described; and fasting during Lent which varies according to the religion (the types of Catholicism; and Calvinism) and levels of observance. In general, pre-Easter fasting means leaving meat and meat products out of one’s diet for 40 days, hence the use of vegetable oils. By Juhász Katalin.

Sue Foy