|English Table of Contents 2009/6
Portraits of two musicians. Sadly, two members of the Kalamajka band – cymbalom player Petrovits Tamás (1948-2008) and viola player dr. Dövényi Péter ’Döf ’ (1950-2009) – have passed away over the last two years. After more than 30 years playing, working, travelling the country and the world with them, Kalamajka’s double bass player remembers them as only a close friend and colleague can. By Nagymarosy András.
Complaint by Rimóczi Hajnalka folk costume maker from the town of Kisberény who entered the 2009 competition for the nationally recognized title of Young Master of Folk Arts awarded to exceptional young folk artists in several categories of folk arts. She was not given the title this year and feels that her work was unfairly judged. Also printed here is Beszprémy Katalin’s (co-director of the Folk Arts Education Department at the Hungarian Heritage House) response. She reminds us that “lack of artistry cannot hide behind a mask of authenticity. The Young Master of Folk Arts title goes to the most outstanding folk artists. [...] a craftsperson must enter their most beautiful works [...] each of the five pieces entered must be faultless in terms of craftmenship and artistry”.
New recording: Ágoston Béla with Frank London: “Tikmonka”. Traditional Hungarian music a’ la Ágoston Béla spiced with Frank London’s (leader of the Klezmatics, Klezmer Brass All-Stars, etc) klezmer and jazz trumpet. See announcement in Hungarian for more details and other musicians on the recording. Interview with Ágoston Béla by K. Tóth László – Béla tells about how he met Frank London when they were both teaching at a music course in Austria. The acquaintance eventually led to this recording and a concert together in Budapest.
Greeting heard at a special performance organized on the 35th anniversary of the death of Rábai Miklós – the first director of the Hungarian State Folk Dance Ensemble. The performance was held at the Hungarian Heritage House on November 11th, 2009 and was made by Mihályi Gábor present artistic director of the State Folk Dance Ensemble. Speech by Erdélyi Tibor, dancer in the State Ensemble when Rábai was director, choreographer, folk artist.
Miháj. A story about the village cowherder in the rural Gyimes region of Transylvania. Miháj’s mother was killed by a Russian soldier in 1945 when he was only a few days old. His father and grandfather never returned from the war. His impoverished life never really got any better. He died at the age of 58 after being trampled by some of his herd one day. A sad story, told in a matter-of-fact but somehow beautiful style by Simó Márton.
About the tambura bands in the city of Győr. For the most part we associate tambura bands with southern Hungary and points south of the border – but it turns out that there was a lively pub and cafe scene in the city of Győr in Northwestern Hungary between say 1900 and the mid 1950’s that favored tambura music. There were several bands, one of the musicians was also an instrument maker. The bands were also hired to play for local weddings and other holidays and celebrations. Printed here are some of the musicians’ recollections from recent interviews. By Barvich Iván.
Part 4 of Borbély Jolán’s life story. After her job at the Institute of Folk Arts was discontinued in the wake and political policies following the 1956 revolution, Jolán tells about her years teaching at the Arany János elementary and secondary school in Budapest, amongst other things, teaching also folk crafts and dance to her students, taking them to cultural events. After a time, she ended up back at the Institute of Folk Arts (which had since become the Institute of Public Education and which is today part of the Hungarian Heritage House) – where she still works to this day in the traditional textile folk crafts department. She tells about her second husband, the brilliant folk dance reseacher Martin György, about her participation in the dance collection trips, meeting and getting to know Kallós Zoltán when it became possible to do field work in Transylania. She also talks about Martin’s death in 1983 at the age of 51. Now 80 years old, she muses about her life. As told to Kóka Rozália.
Lajtha László – the folk music researcher: Part 6. Excerpts from the exhibition of photos and documents that was in the upper foyer of the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest, curated by Pávai István and recently published in book form. Lajtha (b.1892 - d.1963) was a composer and folk music researcher who began folk music collection work after 1910 working with Bartók and Kodály. Here are choice quotes from various years (1927-1963) wherein Lajtha comments on the nature of and differences between ’real’folk music and and composed folk-like music. For example: ”[...] Folk art artificiallly kept alive can be of great national value and importance, but it no longer has ethnographic value. [...] Folk song like all folk culture is alive as long as it is in continuous transformation.”
Contemporary Folk Dance – a performance of selected choreographies on November 6, 2009 at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest. This event is a showcase of works that show a new, contemporary or experimental approach to folk dance choreography. This series began in 1995 and is sponsored and organized by the Martin Association. Kocsis Enikő’s women’s dance choreography and ifj. Zsuráfszki Zoltán’s “Idéző 100962HA” and the Nyírség Ensemble’s performance of a choreography depicting carnival customs were especially mentioned. A review by B. Koltai Gabriella and commentary by Diószegi László (director of the event) are printed here.
A Critical History of Filmed Documentation of Traditional Transylvanian Dance – from the beginning to 1963. This is an overview of the early period of folk dance research and filmed documentation beginning with the work of Gönyey Sándor and Molnár István in the 1940s and continuing with the work of a group called the Hungarian Dance Work Community at the Institute of Folk Sciences, then followed by the work of the group of young dance ethnographers after 1951 at the Institute of Folk Arts. Also discussed is the lesser known work of Lugossy Emma and Gönyey Sándor on 39 verbunks. Martin György and his contemporaries’ extensive work collecting dances in Hungary and Transylvania, with mention of places where the main collection work was done in the period is also discussed. By Karácsony Zoltán.