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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

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English Table of Contents 2018/2     

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Remembering Kallós Zoltán (1926. March 26. – 2018. February 14.) Transylvanian-Hungarian ethnographer and folk music collector: „...[Kallós Zoltán]’s flat was like a museum, he lived amongst the ceramics, handwoven textiles, embroidered leather vests and costume pieces [he collected]. After the changes of 1989 he reclaimed the large home in Válaszút taken from his family in the 1950s and restored it with support from the Hungarian government. [Today it is a museum where] one can see his collection of Transylvanian and Moldavian folk art and costume.... he’d been collecting folk art from the age of 13...Another dream he was able to realize was the founding of a school for Transylvanian Hungarian childen devoted to preservation of ethnic Hungarian identity...The folk music and dance camps held in Válaszút, the school and the museum place him amongst the immortal...” Ethnographer Péterbencze Anikó, and Papp Imre (founding director of the Jászság Folk Dance Ensemble) – founders of the Csángó Festival in Jászberény, Hungary.

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Remembering Kallós Zoltán (1926. March 26. – 2018. February 14.) “I was in awe of his memory - the way he precisely remembered the melodies, songs, objects he collected in the 1970s and 1980s. Because the [authorities would come and search people’s homes], he couldn’t keep everything he collected at home. He’d have ethnographic material taken across the border [to Hungary]. Many years later he remembered exactly what he’d collected and where each bit of material was. He even edited Hungarian publications of his material by heart…” Tánczos Vilmos - Transylvanian Hungarian ethnographic researcher, scientific organizer.

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Part II - Excerpts from Bajcsy Zsilinszky Endre’s (1886-1944) work entitled "Mátyás király” [King Mátyás]. Matthias Corvinus, 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. To be continued.

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Conversation with Szögi Csaba on the traditional women’s slippers from Szeged, Hungary. Csaba is not only an award winning dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, ensemble and theatre director, but he is also an activist for and expert on the Szeged slippers. The fact that some of his relatives were shoe and slipper makers in Szeged led him to search out active slipper craftsmen. He went on to form the Szeged Slipper Foundation, and is active in the process of getting these traditonal slippers onto the UNESCO list of Hungarian traditional heritage. Interview by Grozdits Károly.

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Borbély Jolán (Hajdúszoboszló, 1928. May 21.– Budapest, 2018. March 21.) Prima, Bessenyei György and Martin award winning ethnographic researcher, teacher. From its start, she participated in forming the mentality and technical background for the dance house movement. In addition to her work at the Institute of Culture, she was an active advisor and supporter of the ‘local tradition preserving groups’ movement. Up to the last year of her life she participated in public activities and maintained daily contact with dancers, musicians, folk artists, leaders of both movements. May she rest in peace. A lengthy interview with Borbély Jolán was published in folkMAGazin 2009/issues 3,4,5,6.

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List of those from our circles who receieved Hungarian state honours on March 15th, 2018.

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Sebő Ferenc’s speech given at Csillagszemű Ensemble’s 25th anniversary performance at Budapest’s MOM Cultural Center on January 29, 2018. He speaks on the dance house movement. The dance house method of teaching authentic village dance and music in an urban recreational environment is recommended by UNESCO for preserving intellectual cultural heritage. "Over the 45 years since it started, a lot of work has been necessary to bring the táncház movement to this point...” Sebő quotes the late poet Csoóri Sándor: "...there were two important moments in the history of folk dance: one is when it went up onto the stage, and the other is when it came back down from the stage to return to the earth...” Co-founder of the Csillagszemű Ensemble, Timár Sándor led the way in developing the ’dance house method’ of teaching improvisational traditional Hungarian folk dances.

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The “Dying” Folk Music – a largely theoretical discussion presented at a 1993 conference entitled “The Future of our Past” in Szolnok, Hungary. Presentations given at the conference were published by T-TWINS Kiadó – the volume is out of print. Amongst the issues discussed in this presentation were: A state of equilibrium that could be called ‘classical folk music’ exists; some features or components of folk music (in general: folk culture) can live beyond the death of classical folk music… and so on. By Dobszay László.

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Conversation with choreographer Novák Ferenc about "Continuing Memories" [Folyamatos emlékezet] photographer Korniss Péter’s recent exhibition celebrating the photographer’s 80th birthday and life work. Novák places Korniss’s work in parallel with the work of Bartók, Kodály, Illyés Gyula, Martin György, Kallós Zoltán and more – Hungarian artists that became researchers through their interest and work with folk arts. "...Korniss’s work is fine art. He doesn’t simply document...." The exhibition was shown at the Hungarian National Gallery from September 2017 through February 2018 and will travel this year to Bucharest, Prague, Bratislava and Rome. By P. Vas János.

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New Recording: Kiss Ferenc: Elment az én rózsam [My rose has gone] Kiss’s best music from the last 45 years with Kolinda, Vízöntő and Etnofon Music Consort. The compilation of 11 tracks embraces all of Kiss’s phases: fresh revoluntionary city folk music – a marriage of acoustic and electric sound of the 1970s-80s, Gypsy influences, Hungarian poetry put to music, music he wrote for contemporary folk dance productions, and his more recent thematic works based on folk music. Kiss Feri: the godfather of Hungarian world music. Moiras Records KAR LP 012, 300 copies. Vinyl. Review by Marton László Távolodó.

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New recording: Herczku Ágnes – Hozomány – Erdélyi népzene régen és most [Transylvanian folk music then and now] – Visa. A double album released by Fonó. The first record has field recordings collected in the village of Visa in Transylvania’s Mezőség region in 2005. The second record contains compilations of music from the same village – fresh recordings of good musicians from Budapest’s revival movement. On the revival record: Koncz Gergely, Hegedűs Máté – violin; Fekete Antal „Puma” , Fekete Márton „Kispuma” – viola; Molnár Péter – double bass; Németh Ferenc, Herczku Ágnes – voice

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List of Hungarian folk dance, music and crafts camps for summer 2018

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New recording: Szlama László: Ahogy régen...Traditional coboz music. Released by Dialekton Folk Music publisher. Budapest 2017. 12 tracks of traditonal Moldavian music. The band: Szlama László - coboz, voice; András Orsolya – voice, hit cello; Bergics András – Hungarian bagpipe; Kerényi Róbert – wooden flute; Mihó Attila – violin

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Celebrating her 60th birthday, award winning folk singer Szvorák Katalin will release 4 CDs this year. A double album, to be released this spring, entitled "Hazagondolás" [Thoughts of home] presents songs, tales, myths and beliefs from the Palóc Region. Szvorák Katalin was raised in Pinc/Pinciná and Fülek/ Fiľakovo in the Banská Bystrica Region of Southern Central Slovakia. Today she lives in Hungary.

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Bukovina, Bukovina – Part VIII. Excerpts from Kóka Rozália’s book The story of how Kóka Rozália founded Érd’s Bukovina Székely Folk Singing Circle, her choice of repertoire and the process of gathering Bukovina Székely women in the town of Érd to form the group. Their first performance was in March 1972 at the Érd Secondary School. In August of the same year they performed at the Erkel Theatre in Budapest, then later on Hungarian television, and so on. From “Bukovina, Bukovina”, Fekete Sas Kiadó, Budapest, 2017.

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The traditional Hungarian kitchen – Palacsinta – Hungarian crepes part 1.
Many forms of Hungarian crepes, pancakes and griddle cakes, both sweet and savory, are covered here – that is: “pancake-like foods made from a poured batter”. Though this is a mainly an unleavened food, variations are described that use leavening. The method of making and uses of wafers are also discussed here. Recipes provided are: the oldest Hungarian crepe, simple old-style wafer, newer style wafers, griddle cakes “cooked on a rock”, “cooked on a leaf”, Hungarian crepe with leavening, standard Hungarian crepe and cottage cheese filling. By Juhász Katalin.

Sue Foy