English Table of Contents 1999/2
Halász Péter writes about Hungarian folk music and the media, citing statistics on the amount of program time Hungarian folk music gets on the three major Hungarian TV stations, what is and has been considered folk music at all and discussing the necessary struggle to uphold tradition first within ourselves, our family, our immediate surroundings and then we can talk more about the media.
Campfire. An excerpt from the book Muzsikás évtizedek by the late journalist and writer Bankó And rás. This many layered selection from the book which was published in Hungarian by the Kós Károly Foundation in 1994, touches on everything from the dance house movement, the Muzsikás, field work collections in Slovakia to politics and war.
Leatherwork has always been an important craft of the Hungarians, with the some of the oldest methods still in use today. Császi Erzsébet interviews traditional leather worker Horváth Tibor and his wife Horváth Csanálosi Katalin of Füzesabony, Hungary about their work.
With the help of Agócs Gergely, Hungarian musician and ethnomusicologist from Slovakia, K. Tóth Lász ló interviews a fiddler from village of Horhat in the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia and treats us to further information about traditional music of Slovakia; the area that the Hungarians refer to as "Felvidék", for example; the music of Horhat and the music of Szászcsávás (a village in Transylvania) can both be considered as belonging to the wider category of the music Carpathian Basin.
The Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography in Budapest's 5th district announces two special exhibits: 500 chairs from the museum's collection. On exhibit from May 21st through September 24, 1999. Indian (native american) and eskimo handcrafts from both North and South America. On exhibit from March 19th-December 31st, 1999. In November there will also be an exhibit of photos from Mexico.
Pávai István offers a description of the newly established "Hagyományőrző Műhely" (tradition preservation workshop). This is the in-house archive of the Hungarian State Folk ensemble which cooperates with the other Hungarian archival institutions and operates an up to date multimedia (audio, visual, digital) documentary data base. The library of the great Hungarian dance ethnographer, Martin György has recently been placed here.
Kocsán László writes a well documented article on the folk beliefs, superstitions, spells, folk tales and customs of the Jász people, an obscure ethnic sub-group of Hungarians which resides east of Budapest in the Jászberény area.
Music, dance and handicraft summer camps
Annual Festival of Folk Arts and Crafts, August 19-22, near the Palace on Castle Hill in Budapest.
14th Hungarian National Pottery Competition This competition encourages Hungarian potters whose work "upholds regional traditions while developing them in contemporary, new forms". The work of 37 potters from all over Hungary is on display in Kecskemét at the Museum of Folk Crafts from May 28th through October 2, 1999.
A little information about the tradition of braiding wheat straw on the occasion of an exhibit of woven straw handcrafts at "Tímárház" in Debrecen, Hungary. By Hubert Ezsébet, ethnographer.
Traditional music today in the southern Hungarian town of Mohács Part one of an in-depth study by Avar Anna (musician and student of ethnography) that gives the historical background of the Sokác ethnic group and the musical instrument they call "tambura".
The Alba Regia Dance Ensemble of Székesfehérvár just celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in April when many generations of dancers gathered together for the event. by Botos József.
An interview with the prolific and creative musician, Kiss Ferenc, about his newest CD "Nagyvárosi bujdosók" (the record notes are in Hungarian, but the Eng lish words "obscure organic music" appear somewhere on the cover), about the ups and downsof categorizing music, about a traditional jewish music CD which he has also been working on and about theatre music projects he is currently involved in, and so on. by K. Tóth László
Záhonyi András offers some thoughts on a new program of dances by the Maros Dance Ensemble of Marosvásárhely, Transylvania, Romania. This ensemble has drastically changed their style over the past few years, stepping away from the balletic Moysejev style in a more authentic direction.
Part two of an Anatomy of the Folkdance Festival in Szeged. Here Simoncsics János discusses the financial and organizational/direction aspects of this festival.
Since February this year there have been two several week courses in Budapest by two extraordinary traditional flute players: Legedi László István of the village of Klézse, in Hungarian Moldavia, Romania and Tímár Viktor of Hidegség, Gyimes, Transylvania. Both of these courses offered the oppor-tunity to learn from these two musicians here in Budapest; a vast difference from the situation of just a few years ago when the only way to meet and learn from these people was to travel to them. By Benkő András
A critical review of four audio recordings released in 1998 specially in celebration of the 150th anniversary of 1848-49 Hungarian revolution. The recordings reviewed here by "Smirgli" are: Békés Banda: Huszárverbunk Egyszólam-Kalamajka: Megütik a dobot Jánosi Együttes - Kobzos Kiss Tamás: Kossuth izente eljött... Téka: Huszárgyerek, huszárgyerek
English Table of Contents 1999/3
Szigetvári János reacts to Tímár Sándor's thoughts on the importance of folk dance and children's folk games as a tool in education, and the need for conscious preservation of cultural heritage; especially in the face of the effects of world globalization and an increasingly commercial world. (An underlying theme here is that one can better face the greater world if one first knows and is proud of who they are. S.F.) As heard at the Válaszút Dance Camp in (Rasruci) Transylvania on August 17th, 1999.
Mrs. Holecz István Kanyó Margit recieved the state awarded honour of Master of Folk Arts on August 19th, 1999. This extraordinarily talented woman performs traditional dancers and songs of her native village of Rimóc in Hungary's Nográd County where she also leads a local singing group and has provided many years of inspiration and a host of information to a whole country of ethnographers and folk dancers and singers. By Kóka Rozália
On May 28th, 1999 an all afternoon meeting was held at the Almássy Tér recreation center in Budapest to discuss the present and future of the táncház movement. Directors of various sponsoring cultural institutions, leaders of dance houses and musicians got together to talk about ways to best continue this more than twenty-five year old social entertainment phenomenon (which itself is based on a centuries old rural social tradition). Afterwards of course, from seven in the evening til dawn, a ball was held which presented the whole spectrum of dance houses in Budapest and beyond.
An in-depth article about the musician family dynasties and the various bands who have played the "Gypsy - Sokac (Slavonian) flavoured" tambura music characteristic of the southern Hungarian town of Mohács. By Avar Anna
Basket weaver Baji Imre of Debrecen, Hungary recently won the title of "Young Master of Folk Arts". Report by Császi Erzsébet
Recalling the final Festival of Folk Arts of the century, the grand showcase and market of Hungarian folk arts and harvest celebration which was held in the Castle Hill area in Buda and lasted from August 19th - 22nd, 1999. By Szántai Eszter
Where is Eastern Slavonia today? Szabó Zoltán offers some historical and geographical information and statistics on ethnic distribution as clarification of the area along the southern border of Hungary and between the Danube, Drava, and Sava Rivers which, he says, is often times too loosly referred as Slavonia.
Táncház-es and folk clubs
The 75 year old Mihalkó Zoltán is a master hatmaker who is still making felt hats by the old traditional methods that he learned from his family. Article by Császi Erzsébet
Part three of an Anatomy of the Folkdance Festival in Szeged. Here Simoncsics János discusses the financial and organizational/direction aspects of this festival.
Thoughts after attending the II. folk dance camp in Külsőrekecsin, Moldva. By Záhonyi András At this camp, on beyond the Carpathian Mountains, held in one of the ethnically Hungarian villages in Romanian Moldavia, the participants stay in the homes of families and have the opportunity to peek into the traditional village lifestyle of this remote group of Hungarians. Dances were taught by local dance group leader, Szarka Mária and her dancers. Flute and singing classes were led by local residents, musicians had the opportunity to play with local traditional musicians. The 65,000 so-called "Moldavai Csángó" people of these villages form an island of devout Catholics amongst the otherwise orthodox catholic Romanians; their masses are held in Romanian. Their Hungarian ethnicity is today only upheld as an oral tradition, given that their geographic location to the east of Transylvania affords them fewer rights in Romania than Hungarians in Transylvania have.
A report on the Ördöngös Folk Music Camp in Kiskunhalas, Hungary. This was the second time this children's music camp has been held. They were fortunate to be able to invite Hodorog András, traditional flute player from the Hungarian village of Klézse in Moldavia, to add to their staff of folk music instructors and celebrated guests. By Navratil Andrea and Bakó Katalin
Záhonyi András' thoughts on two camps that were held this summer in the Szekelyföld region of Transylvania: the first Folkarts Camp in Jobbágytelke (Simbrias) and the dance camp in Vajdaszentivány (Voivodeni) (1999 Aug. 15-22).
A few nostalgic words about the 8th Méta Camp in the village of Köveskál, Hungary. Between July 3rd and July 11th, this year 40 fiddlers, 10 bass players and 20 viola players were there to study traditional Hungarian music, dance, talk, hang out and have some fun with members of the Méta Ensemble and their friends. By Csontos Gabriella
A list of the Hungarian State honours awarded on August 20th, 1999. The Tree of Life award, Cultural Award, Master of Folk Arts and Young Master of Folk Arts. See the list in Hungarian for names of those who recieved these awards.
The memory of the Hungarian Martyrs of Arad How our history is reflected in folklore, part IX. October 6th will be 150th anniversary of the cruel executions of 13 Hungarian Army officers by the Habsburg Army during the war for independence of 1849. Szabó Zoltán lists some examples of how this tragic and famous event in Hungarian history has been reflected in folklore, song, painting, graphic arts by Hungarians and other ethnic groups living in the region as well.
English Table of Contents 1999/4
An interview with Eredics Gábor as the Vujicsics Ensemble celebrates it's 25th birthday. By K. Tóth Lázsló.
Kocsán László describes some of the folk customs and beliefs of the December and New Year season from the Jászberény area, 60 km east of Budapest. Here are sayings, incantations, greetings and customs for pig killings, Lucia day, Christmas, and the New Year.
Szánthó Zoltán reacts to a statement written by Tímár Sándor in the previous issue of folkMAGazin. Here the theoretical question is whether or not it is "correct" to mix Hungarian and Gypsy dance motifs during a dance, point in case: Kis-Küküllő/Szászcsávás. Of course the answer from any upstanding dance researcher from these parts or well informed táncház movement dancer, would be that it is okay to do so, if they dance(d) it thus in the village or area in question. (Once again we see how easy it is for those on the outside to point the finger of authenticity and call the "ethnic police" on each other. All anyone involved in the "business" of imitating the music or dance from a certain place is trying to do, is presumably be as ethnically correct as possible while trying to recreate some magic in the material that originally inspired them. There will be eternal problems in this endeavor and eternal arguments. S.F.)
The "Masters of (Hungarian) Folk Arts" as sources for the folklore revival movement; dance personalities. Part 1 of a series. By Gombos András.
Report on the 1999 International Seminarium of Young Ethnochoreologists in Guilford, England at the Surrey University. By Gombos András.
Táncház-es and folk clubs
Kiss Ferenc, active composer, record publisher, musician gave 20 performances in colleges and universities across the US this fall with singer Szvorák Kati and a new band called Kőfaragók. "We fulfilled precisely that dual task of, both introducing Hungarian traditional music - it's regional differences (the "dialects") and the instruments - and (showing) how today's composers use this music". In this interview by K. Tóth László, Kiss Ferenc also tells of the many projects he is working on in music, theatre and new and planned releases of recordings from his record label Etnofon.
The Szászszorszép Dance Ensemble from the town of Martonvásár (located 35 km south of Budapest) celebrates its twentieth birthday with two performances: one in Martonvásár on Dec 11. one in Budapest at the "FMH" on Dec. 12th, 1999. Announcement by artistic directors Németh Ildikó and Szabó Szilárd.
Report and personal commentary on the 19th Folk Dance Festival in Szolnok, Hungary. by Szigetvári József. This bi-annual festival is one of Hungary's largest and most well known competitive juried festivals of adult folk dance groups. This year's festival was held on November 20-21.
A book in memory of the well respected composer and conductor Vass Lajos was published early this year entitled "Vass Lajos emlékezet", written by Bónis Ferenc.
Announcement of a new book by Paksa Katalin : Magyar Népzenetörténet (Hungarian folk music history). Book price 1800 HUF. The 2 CDs which accompany the book may apparantly be purchased seperately.
About the "Betlehemes" custom of Christmas pagent-plays amongst the Bukovina Székely people now residing in the town of Érd just south of Budapest.
English Table of Contents 2000/1
Should professional dancers be allowed to perform at festivals for amatuers? Szigetvári József thinks not, except if the festival (juried competition) is strictly one for choreography. This has become more and more of a question of late amongst dancers, dance groups and organizers of such dance festivals in Hungary. Opinions, arguments and further discussion on this matter are invited and will appear in the next issue of folkMAGazin.
In Dec. '99, Budapest's Bartók Ensemble went to Brussels to perform in series of performances with a Belgian group called the Hourvari Ensemble. A dancer from the Bartók Ensemble, Gordos Anna, offers a few thoughts from the experience. The hosting Belgian group danced Hungarian dances, but none of the dancers were Hungarian. Anna remarks about the group "...they take such an enthusiastic interest in the customs of another nationality...... accepting everyone as equals.. ..instead of looking for things that make them different, they look for things that bring people together...". She goes on to say "...this Western European attitude, born of tolerancy is something we still have to learn...".
Conversation with musician and music teacher Kobzos Kiss Tamás about his five day study trip to Scotland in the fall of '99. During his stay in Edinburgh he was able to collect quite a bit of information on how traditional and folk music is taught in Scotland, learn more about revival type movements there, and attend some social music and/or dance events (ceilidh, as sembly rooms, pubs). By Záhonyi András
By the end of March, the Tükrös Ensemble will have released a new CD of Hungarian traditional music of Szat már County from the 1900's. On this CD the band plays their favorite tunes from this particular part of Northeastern Hungary: tunes they have learned directly from musicans there, as well from field recordings of the great village musicians of that area. Árendás Péter's record notes are printed here. (This táncház band from Budapest specializes in traditional village music from Szatmár and Transylvania.)
Peter Amick interviews three members of Gázsa's band, the band that accompanied the Budapest Dance Ensemble on their recent tour of the U.S. and the Ensemble's manager. On foreign soil, in moments of reflection on what they do; some good information and insight on Hungarian music that rarely reaches the printed word, surfaces in this article. I highly recommend looking for it in English (here it has been translated into Hungarian)... See the Hungarian article for website address and name of the publication that the article originally appeared in.
The Bartók Béla Music Conservatory in Miskolc, Hungary is chiefly a music teachers training coll ege. At this school students may choose to specialize in any one of 18 different classical instruments, ecclesiastical music, solfeggio/music theory, or folk music. This is the first year that Hungarian traditional music has been added to the possible areas of specialization. Announcement by Lenkey Csaba, director
"Az Aranykert muzsikája" written by Ág Tibor is the 20th book in a series called the "Csallóköz Library". This most recent volume is on children's folklore and the songs and melodies connected to holidays and customs of this part of south-western Slovakia with a significant Hungarian population. Dance researcher, Takács András recommends this book.
A tale of Fehér Viktor's first attempts at collecting songs in his grandparent's village of Fedémes, trying squeeze a tune out of an old gentleman in a pub....
A book in memory of the well respected composer and conductor Vass Lajos was published early this year entitled "Vass Lajos emlékezet", written by Bónis Ferenc.
Bagpipe, wooden flute player and maker Tobak Ferenc, (who for the past 9 years has been living in the U.S.), has made two trips to Hungarian villages in Romanian Moldavia searching for bagpipe players. These trips have not only uncovered musicians and instruments (Romanian and Hungarian), but an enormous amount of information and lore about this instrument in this part of Romania. Interview by Juhász Katalin. (Names of Hungarians here are left in their native order with the family name preceding the given name.)
English Table of Contents 2000/2
Should professional dancers be able (allowed) to perform in amateur folk dance festivals? – Part two – It seems that Szigetvári József has got ten plenty of responses to the above ques tion he posed in the spring issue of folk MAG a zin. There is general agree ment at the moment that some official decision should be taken on the matter and some rules be made by the entities which or ga nize and sponsor such juried festivals and competitions. Any thoughts, opin ions and arguments are still invited on the matter.
Music, dance and handi craft summer camps
As a singer, story teller and ethnographer, Berecz András has an intimate relationship with a particularly rich side of the Hungarian lan guage and he offers some great exam ples bearing witness to the fact that language and intellectual creativity are not confined within the walls of cities and universities. Here are tidbits from his extensive travels talking to people, collecting and performing in the country side throughout Hungary, Transylvania and other areas where Hungarians live. Interview by Léka Géza
Upon release of a New CD: Dimó Dalai (Dimó's songs) Etnofon In a conversation with folk musician Éri Péter, the editor of this CD, we hear not only about the extraordinarily talented Gypsy singer of this recording, but also about the work of the great Hungarian ethnographer Martin György who made the field recordings that are being released here for the first time on CD. An enormous amount of recorded material has been left in the estate of Martin György, this recording is the first of a series which will present selections from the wealth of valuable material. Jávorszky Béla Szilárd – from the Budapest daily Népszabadság
Árendás Péter, kontra player of Budapest's Tükrös Ensemble reports on their month long tour to Australia in April. They were hosted by the Kengugro Dance Ensemble and the Transylvaniacs Band of Sydney. "Here at home when we go out to a táncház it probably doesn't even occur to us what a great thing we've got here, we can do this several times a week; we can hear and dance to live music. In Australia this is just a dream: an entire Hungarian band playing folk music... happened the last time 14 years ago..."
In dedication and celebration of dance, music, youth and fabulous display of ethnic variety. The speech that opened the Gala program of the National Táncház Festival in Budapest in March 2000. Dávid Ibolya, Hungarian Minister of Justice.
Commentary on the National Dance House Festival of March 2000. (Forthe first time in at least 15 years the annual dance house festival had to be held in a different place. The reason: the former location of the event, the Budapest Sports Hall, burned down in De cem ber 1999.) This year the event was held at the agricultural and commercial fair grounds in Budapest. As Vitányi Iván put it in his article, "not really the ideal place for a cultural event." But he goes on to say that neither he nor anyone else has come up with a better solution for where an event of such magnitude could concievably be held. The Sports Hall wasn't ideal either. This year the fair grounds of fered more fresh air and space, but the sound was atrocious (is it possible to engineer good sound in a place like that?) and the dance floor was asphalt. However it continues to be an enormously popular and well attended event both for those who have never seen anything like it and for those who have been involved in the folk dance and music scene forever and want to run into every one they have ever known.
Nyisztor György of Méhkerék (1922-1987) by Gombos András. A study on an extraordinary dance personality from the ethnically Romanian village in Békés County in Eastern Hungary. Largly a listing of this traditional dancer's achievements, entries on him in the archives, his students and existing written materials on this man's dancing, with some comment on the changes in the role of local dance traditions during the later portion of his life and on how his relative fame and resultant travels affected his life.
An elderly woman from the (at least in these circles well-known) Transylvanian village of Szék, talks about her life. In summary it is some thing like this: she was sent to the nearest city to be a servant at age ten because of her family needed money to feed the younger kids still at home. During her 11 years of work in the city she was only able to go home once. The woman she worked for in Kolozsvár had offered to sponsor her education to be an actress, but her mother wouldn’t have it because of the "bad morals" of the theatre life. She got married at age 21 and from 1931 to 1951 she bore ten children. All of which lived. She has 42 grandchildren and still lives in the vil lage of Szék in a house made of some thing like adobe. And after all that her comment on the future: "May the earthly peace be eternal, because there is room for everything in its flow that starts with love..." Written by Soós János
Avar Anna reports that for the first time, musicians from within the borders of Hungary were invited to be guests of the "Final Hour" collection project at the Fonó; a program involved in bringing tradition al village musicians to Budapest for four days to record their musical repertoires. These first "Hungarian" guests were traditional tambura musicians from Southern Hungary from the town of Mohács and the village of Lothárd in Baranya County.
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