English Table of Contents 2011/4
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].