Artist Profiles: István Balogh

István Balogh ‘Pacala’ was born in Nagyecsed, a village in North-Eastern Hungary where Gypsy children dance and play music from their childhood. The Hungarian Gypsy community agrees that the best Gypsy dancers come from this region (Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg County). Pacala, who is said to be the best ‘oral bass’ performer in Hungary started his career in the famous Romany group, ‘Romanyi Rota’ and later joined ‘Romano Kokalo’ as well. He played on numerous Gypsy music albums and performed throughout Europe and the world. He joined Etnorom ensemble in 2006.

He plays the ‘milk jug’, which is a traditional percussion instrument of the Romany people, darbuka, cajon, and performs the traditional Gypsy ‘oral bass’. ‘Oral bass’ is performed mostly by men – by creating rhythms with the mouth with a special technique. From concert to concert Pacala attracts the audience with his unique personality: being an authentic, highly intensive artist with a great sense of ‘Gypsy humor’, he adds a special color to our performances.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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