Tag Archives: Hungarian music

Enticing Hungarian Trad Fusion

Kerekes Band – Fel a Kalappal (Szerzoi Kiadas, 2008)

Fel a Kalappal (Hats On!) is an excellent release by innovative Hungarian act Kerekes Band. The five musicians deliver an exciting combination of traditional Hungarian folk music, funk and electronic music.

Throughout the album flutes and fiddles are intertwined with electronic bagpipe and electric koboz supported by an irresistible rhythm section.

The lineup on this album included Fehér Zsombor on flute and electronic bagpipe; Námor Csaba on koboz and electric koboz; Csarnó Ákos on fiddle; Konya Csaba on bass; and Fehér Viktor on drums. Guests: Mike Finnigan on organ and Pély Barna on vocals.


Sounds from Hungary, First Hungarian Music Showcase at SXSW

Sounds from Hungary will present the first Hungarian music showcase at the influential SXSW event. Four acts, representing various musical genres will appear in Austin at the 2018 edition of SXSW.

The bands all represent different genres, the common ground is their ambition to be seen on an international level – and SXSW is a perfect forum,” says Aron Romhanyi, Artistic Director, Music Export Budapest. “This year four bands got selected from Hungary, and the official “Sounds from Hungary” showcase on the 16th of March will be the first ever Hungarian showcase at SXSW, and we’re hoping it will put Hungary on everyone’s sonic map.”

Sounds from Hungary – Palm Door on Sabine

Friday, March 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Sounds from Hungary performers:




Belau: an exploratory audio-visual duo. Belau have performed at key European festivals like Reeperbahn.

Bohemian Betyars: Named for the Robin Hood-like bandits of the 19th century, the band plays something described as speed punk freak fol with Hungarian folk Romani stylings.

Boggie: Boggie writes and sings in French, English, and Hungarian, drawing on the best song traditions of all three.

The Qualitons: Soul with a Hungarian heartbeat.

Rackajam: A Magyar remix of urban folk, rock, and blues.

The shows are supported by Music Export Budapest, the Hungarian National Trading House, the National Cultural Fund (NKA), the Embassy of Hungary in Washington and the Hungarian Cultural Center in NY for their support.

03/16/2018 – Palm Door on Sabine, Austin, TX at 8:00 p.m.
$10 (free with SXSW badge/wristband)


Hungarian Ensemble Meszecsinka Completes 2017 Russian Tour



Hungarian world music band Meszecsinka is back from its Russian tour. The group performed in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Dubna and Sergiev Posad from November 2-5, 2017.

In Bulgarian, Meszecsinka means a “small moon” and comes from vocalist Annamari’s favorite Bulgarian folk song. Annamari Oláh sings in seven languages (Hungarian, Russian, Bulgarian, Finnish, English, Italian and Spanish) and one of their own. The group itself comes from two countries (Hungary, Bulgaria) and leads listeners into a wonderland, where Bulgarian and Hungarian folk lives together with Latin music and funk, Eastern and experimental.



This was my second time in Russia. I only was in Moscow 3 years ago so now I could see more details of Russia,” said Annamari Oláh to WorldmusicCentral. “Sometimes I felt I was in a movie or at home or like ’Hedgehog in the Fog’. I loved to travel between cities. The worst thing was that we hadn’t enough time for sightseeing but I got a lot of hugs, energy, unforgettable moments and words and shining eyes, gifts, and it was an incredible surprise when a couple who live in St. Petersburg, but they missed our concert on Nov. 2nd, traveled to Sergiyev Posad to see us (it’s in the Moscow region). I totally filled up with energy and this trip was inspired me a lot”.



Meszecsinka’s members are Annamari Oláh on vocal, Biljarszki Emil on guitar, Krolikowski Dávid on percussion and Vajdovich Árpád on bass guitar.



Russia is a special story for me,” says Emil Biljarszki, “ because I grew up there. I took up its music, culture and still swear in Russian sometimes even if I left it in 1982 (I was born in Bulgaria and since 1984 I’ve been living here in Hungary). I met old and new friends in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Meszecsinka tours regularly in Europe, we’ve been twice in America and it was our second time in Russia. Recently we started playing mostly in Eastern Europe and the reason is that it’s more interesting and the audience is better. Maybe we’re paid more in Germany but in Bulgaria, Russia and Poland I always feel that we’re loved. There is a short video from our Saint Petersburg backstage:
https://www. facebook. com/meszecsinka/videos/10159899375605393/

Annamari Oláh (Meszecsinka)


Our organizers Daryana, Maria and Yuri worked as magicians, they organized concerts 2 weeks before our coming to Russia exactly on dates and places we needed. For example there was a sold out concert in nuclear city of Dubna, we played for the atom workers!

Meszecsinka has performed in the biggest venues of Hungary like Millenáris or Palace of Arts and at many festivals in the country and almost all European countries.

The band tours frequently in many European countries. They visited the USA and Canada, recorded video on the Red Square in Moscow and a Balkan road movie. Their art video “Kinyílok (I open up) reached the sixth place on the video chart of World Music Network (UK) and fRoots Magazine (UK).

Meszecsinka is one of the 12 best Hungarian world music bands according to the WOMEX edition of Dal+Szerző magazine.

More about the band:


Artist Profiles: Téka


For more than thirty years now, Téka has been amongst the leaders of Budapest’s new wave of folk music. In 1977 they received the nationally recognized title of “Young Masters of Folk Art” and have gotten many other awards since then.

Téka has been hosting regular ‘dance houses’ in Budapest since 1977 – evenings of live folk music, dancing, and singing, where people come to learn or just to socialize; popular meeting places for Hungarians and ethno-tourists alike.

The attractiveness of the Téka Group can be explained by their individual intonation, original performing style and brilliant knowledge of singing. The members of the Téka Ensemble are also active music teachers, dedicated to passing on the traditional Hungarian music to younger generations.

Their concerts on world music stages across Europe and beyond, delight audiences with the warmth of their performance and their ethnic playing style. Over the years they have worked continuously with and included professional folk dancers in their programs.

Sixteen LPs of their music released abroad (in the USA, Germany, Switzerland), along with the Hungarian released LP-s and CD-s, comprise their impressive discography.

In the rooms of old peasant houses in Hungary there used to be a small wall-cupboard, the “téka”, containing the family valuables: documents, money, the Bible, salt and brandy.

As the cupboard teka, the group collects, preserves and passes on to others the treasures of Hungarian folk music.

The members of the Téka band:

Ökrös Csaba – fiddle
András Soós – fiddle, viola
Beatrix Tárnoki – voice, lute
György Lányi – viola, bagpipe, lute
Pál Havasréti – double bass, hurdy gurdy


Mestereink/Our master’s – Bársony Mihály (2001)
Mestereink: Magyar dudások/Hungarian bagpipers (2004)
Padkaporos bál Dél-alföldi táncmuzsika/Our master’s – Dusty bench ball (2005)
Vadvirágok – Wildflowers (2009)
Égig érő fa – Sky-high promising tree (2011)

Web sites: www.tekazenekar.hu


Artist Profiles: Romano Drom

Romano Drom

Romano Drom, which in Romani language means ‘gypsy road’, presents the musical tradition of the Olah Gypsies from Valachia, traditionally horse traders and traveling salesmen who entered Hungary in the middle of the 19th century.

For Romano Drom the power of the Olah Gypsies’ traditional music is in its voices and vocal games. Living in Budapest where east and west flow together, the inspirations are many and various.

The sudden death of cofounder and lead vocalist Antal Kovacs in 2005 took a toll on the band, but they have continued to play under the direction of Antal Kovacs’ son, Antal Kovacs Jr.

They use household utensils as instruments, such as a milk jug and wooden spoon, along with their unique vocal stylings to create a more modern urban sound through the introduction of guitar, double bass and drums.


* Ando Foro (Daqui, 2002)
* Andre Lindri (Daqui, 2004)


The Passion and Virtuosity of Khamoro Budapest Band

Khamoro Budapest Band – Hungarian Gypsy Music (ARC Music EUCD2708, 2017)

Preparing to direct the 1970 film, “Little Big Man,” director Arthur Penn decided to use country blues for the soundtrack rather than Native American music. He called Columbia producer John Hammond to discuss the matter, stating that he wanted “the sound of oppression.” Hammond played him some of the music of Robert “Hellhound On My Trail” Johnson, and Penn said, according to Hammond’s autobiography, “My God, that’s just what I want. I hope we can get him.”

Hammond told him Johnson had been dead for more than thirty years, but that his son, John Paul Hammond, played just like him. That is how now-renowned slide guitarist John Hammond got his recording career off to a fantastic start, courtesy of his father, and that is also an example of how “the sound of oppression” easily crosses cultural barriers to speak to us all.

Gypsy music parallels blues in many ways. It is the music of an ethnic group stuck in interaction with a bullying mainstream culture. One does not wish persecution on any culture. Music is, however, a means of expressing deep feelings and generating solace and joy. The music of an oppressed people has the extra task of replacing words in a climate where a dominant culture frowns upon or even bans said oppressed people’s verbal observations on their plight. The listener can share the solace and joy and admire the players’ abilities all the more when the music comes from such a source, and the players are more motivated and rewarded by being able to accomplish much with a restricted set of tools. This is what Khamoro Budapest Band brings us.

There is some mournful wailing. There is reliance on sad, minor keys. Instrumentation is not always what we expect. There is also an imparting of awe; how can these people still dance and laugh with all they’re letting us know with their music that they and their families have gone through? Khamoro (“little sun” in the Romani language) plays with passion, virtuosity and the enthusiasm that comes from their desire to share the experience and exuberance of their musical tradition with the world.

There is poignancy, pride and dignity in “Rovan More Jahka,” humor in other pieces, and beautifully supported celebration throughout the release.
They have done their homework and selected pieces from specific regions in which gypsy culture has bloomed best. As a plant grows tallest above the soil when its roots run deepest beneath it, their take on the music shares it articulately because of the study underlying their familiarity with the form. When one acquires this CD, one acquires not only the joy and strength inherent in the music, but also a deeper insight into the tradition that built it.

Buy Hungarian Gypsy Music


Artist Profiles: Péter Éri

Péter Éri

Péter Éri was born in 1953 in Budapest, Hungary. As a ten-year old child he won the first prize of a dance competition with dancing the Lads’ Dance of Kalotaszeg, accompanied by his schoolmate Andras Schiff, who is currently a world famous pianist.

His stepfather, Dr György Martin, a well-known ethnographer, brought young Éri to his trips where he collected Hungarian traditional dances and instrumental music and consequentially Éri as a child made his first connections with living musical and dance traditions.

At 14, Éri became the dancer of the Bartók Dance Ensamble where he was an active dancer for six years. His interest in the music continued. He became the bass player of the first Hungarian folk revival band, the Sebő Group. At that time the singer of this band was a young woman called Marta Sebestyen.

Meanwhile when the band Muzsikas was formed in 1973, Éri became the guest musician of the band. In 1978 he became a full member.

Éri graduated from Eötvös University of Budapest as an ethnographer and philologist of Romanian language and literature.

He plays the viola, the three-string “kontra”, mandolin and different types of flutes.


* Living Hungarian Folk Music I. Muzsikás (Hungaroton Gong)
* Kettő Hungarian Folk Music (Munich Records)
* It is not like it used to be (Hungaroton Gong)
* Márta Sebestyén and Muzsikás (Hannibal/Ryko, 1987)
* The Prisoner’s Song (Hannibal/Ryko)
* Blues for Transylvania (Hannibal/Ryko)
* Maramaros, the Lost Jewish Music (Hannibal/Ryko HNCD 1373, 1993)
* Morning Star (Hannibal/Ryko, 1997)
* The Bartók Album (Hannibal/Ryko, 1998)
* Live at the Liszt Academy (Muzsikás)


Artist Profiles: Parno Graszt

Parno Graszt

During the last decades the name of Parno Graszt (White Horse in the Roma language) became the equivalent of authentic Hungarian Gypsy music.

The band is based in Paszab, in northeastern Hungary. During social ceremonies music is shared between each one of the community: instruments are passed from one hand to another and practically everyone is a dance master. There is no band and there is no audience. There is one unified festive gathering. Whether they play in their backyard or on a festival stage for 10,000 people, the same spirit of cheerful delight vibrates in the air.

The sound of Parno Graszt is rooted in the traditional Gypsy songs of northeastern Hungary, representing a specific local dialect of Roma music. Their instruments are acoustic guitars, double bass, tambura, accordion, spoons, milk jug and ‘oral bass’ which is a continuous vocal improvisation made by the percussionist. Occasionally, the 10-piece group takes the audience for a time journey where the dancers, using an archive video projection, are performing parallel with their grandparents on stage.

World music radio stations discovered Parno Graszt after the breakthrough of Hit the piano (Rávágok a zongorára) in 2002, which was the first Hungarian record in history reaching the Tot 10 of World Music Charts Europe. The much anticipated second album In my world (2004) featured Kalman Balogh, a world-class Hungarian Gypsy cymbalist.

Since then Parno Graszt has played throughout Europe in venues and festivals like Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Couleur Café Festival (Belgium), Paleo Festival (Switzerland), Tribu Festival (France) and Sziget Festival (Hungary).

As a recognition for their work in preserving Romani culture and heritage, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC produced a music documentary about Parno Graszt. The movie was selected for the Official Film Screening at WOMEX 2008 and was screened worldwide via IMZ World Music Films on Tour.

In 2007, the band celebrated its 20th anniversary. On that occasion, DJ Gaetano Fabri (remixer of Taraf de Haidouks, Kocani Orkestar, Mahala Rai Banda) made his debut remix for Parno Graszt’s Gelem Gelem.

In 2008, the Paszabi Gypsies were invited to India where they spent two weeks in Rajasthan, the alleged motherland of the Roma people, meeting and playing with local musicians, tracing their roots, looking for familiar faces, customs and melodies. The result of this unique musical exploration was a DVD.

Band Members: Jozsef Olah on vocals, guitar, tambura; Viktor Olah on vocals, guitar, dance; Sandor Horvath on vocals, spoons, dance; Janos Jakocska on vocals, guitar; Maria Varadi on vocals, dance; Maria Balogh on vocals, dance; Krisztian Olah on accordion; Janos Olah on double bass; and Istvan Nemeth on oral bass, milk jug.


* Hit the piano (Rávágok a zongorára) (Fono Records, 2002)
* In my world (2004)
* Ez a világ nekem való – This World Is Made for Me (2007)
* Reggelig mulatok – Don’t Stop Till the Break of Dawn, CD+DVD (2011)
* Paris Budapest Caravane (Fremeaux & Associes, 2013)


The Now Sound of Budapest Showcase on January 5 in New York City

The Now Sound of Budapest will showcase some of the new talent in Hungary’s capital tomorrow, on Thursday, January 5 at Drom in New York City. The showcase will coincide with the influential international performing arts presenters’ conference APAP.

The lineup includes world music act Meszecsinka (“Little Moon”), described as Eastern European Psychedelic ethnic fusion; the tango-influenced improvisations of Armenian-born Hungarian musician David Yengibarian; and the folk and world jazz sounds of Mihály Borbély’s Polygon trio.



8:00 p.m. David Yengibarian
8:45 p.m. Borbély Mihály Polygon
9:30 p.m. Meszecsinka

DROM, 85 Avenue A, NYC (212) 777-1157


Méra, New World Music Festival in Transylvania

Méra, the World Music Festival of Transylvania will take place July 29–31 2016 in Méra – Szarka-Farm. The Méra World Music Festival will be the very first international world music festival held in the Kalotaszeg region, and will take place in the village of Méra, in the estate known locally as Szarka-telek. Behind Méra’s carved-wood gates, barn-stages will host orchestras familiar with the world’s most famous venues.

For this first edition of the festival, organizers have invited Central Europe’s internationally famous folk and world music orchestras to its barn-stage. The musical program was composed in accordance with two major principles: maximum diversity and the highest possible musical level.

Artists include Góbé Orchestra, János Csík and the Esszencia Orchestra, the Tárkány művek, Nikola Parov, Ágnes Herczku, Tcha Limberger, the Buda Folk Band, Nadara, the Palatka Gypsy Band, the Szászcsávás Gypsy Band, the Kalotaszeg folk-musicians, and the dance and music show of the ‘Fölszállott a Páva’ TV show.

There will be a ’Barn Studio’ for movie and theater fans, a ’Small Barn’ for kids, and round table discussions for the critical minds.

July 15, 8 Pm, Gyerőmonostor, Protestant Church-Yard
For Starters: The Góbé Orchestra In Gyerőmonostor

The Góbé Orchestra
The Góbé Orchestra

The introductory concert of the festival will take place in the neighboring village of Gyerőmonostor/Mănăstireni, where, parallel to the festival, a folk dance summer camp will be organized for local children. The six musicians of the Góbé orchestra from Budapest will present free variations of the folk-music traditions of the Carpathian Basin combined with elements of jazz, blues, reggae and classical music.

July 29, All Day, Méra – Szarka-Farm
First Meetup of Kalotaszeg Folk Musicians

Kalotaszeg Folk Musicians
Kalotaszeg Folk Musicians

This year marks the very first edition of the General Meeting of Kalotaszeg Folk-Musicians. No formal concerts are on the agenda of the meeting, but a lot of improvised playing and dancing are to be expected. Admission is entrance fee.

July 30, 6 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Fölszállott A Páva Show


The Méra barn-stage will then host the most memorable dancers, singers, musicians and orchestras made famous by the Hungarian TV show Fölszállott a Páva. Adult and young performers will be coming from nearby regions as well as from the most far-away corners of the Carpathian Basin.

July 30, 7.30 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Tárkány Művek Concert

Tárkány Művek
Tárkány Művek

Tárkány Művek has its own sound-world, the secret of which is to be found partly in the combination of dulcimer, saxophone, viola, flute, gardon, clarinet and contrabass, and partly in the unique voice of its female singer. Updating old folk-songs with their own lyrics, they also associate archaic texts with modern sounds, achieving in both cases a surprising recontextualization of the traditional pieces.

July 30, 9 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Ágnes Herczku & Nikola Parov Quartet Concert

Ágnes Herczku & Nikola Parov Quartet
Ágnes Herczku & Nikola Parov Quartet

Ágnes Herczku and Nikola Parov became unavoidable figures of the Hungarian folk-music and world-music stage. Their concert combines songs from Ágnes Herczku’s folk-song albums Bandázom and Tüzet viszek with the common world-music compositions of the artistic couple Herczku-Parov, who have been awarded the Hungarian Golden Disk and several Fonogram prizes.

July 31, 5 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Nadara Concert


Without contest Nadara is today one of the best gypsy band from Transylvania. As the taraf of haidouks, the group Nadara was discovered thanks to Tony Gatlif’s movie Transylvania (Cannes 2006) the soundtrack of which they realized. The director again appealed to them for the soundtrack of his last movie Liberté (2010) where “Tocila” the leader of Nadara holds the role of 1st violin.

July 31, 6.30 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Buda Folk Band Concert

Buda Folk Band
Buda Folk Band

Since the members of the Buda Folk Band literally grew up surrounded by the musical traditions of Hungary and other Central European nations, to them, the presence of authentic folk-music within urban culture is only natural. In addition to folk-music, they also gleefully find inspiration in other musical genres, thus creating a unique and exceptionally colorful musical cocktail.

July 31, 8 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Tcha Limberger & Benjamin Clement Concert

Tcha Limberger
Tcha Limberger

Tcha Limberger could be described as a genial loner of the international world-music stage. Born in Bruges in a family of Sinthi Gypsy musicians, this 38 year-old fiddler, violinist, guitar-player and singer developed strong affection for Hungarian folk-music in general, and the Kalotaszeg repertoire in particular.

July 31, 9.30 Pm, Méra – Szarka-Farm
Esszencia Concert


Esszencia is one of the youngest formations of the musical scene in Hungary, though its members are already individually famous in different musical fields (folk-music, jazz, classical music): János Csík (fiddle, voice), Mihály Dresch (sax, fuhun), Kálmán Balogh (dulcimer), András Bognár (contrabass), Tamás Kunos (bratsch), Róbert Lakatos (alto violin, violin), Borbála Kacsó Hanga (voice).


Kalotaszeg is a region of inner-Transylvania uniting 42 villages and a small town, characterized by the centuries-old, multi-ethnic culture of neighboring Hungarian, Romanian, and Gypsy communities. Thanks to major professional and amateur ethnographers like Mrs. Zsiga Gyarmathy, Denis Galloway, Károly Kós or György Martin, Kalotaszeg is nowadays a well-known name from the USA to Japan, as an epitome of folk-music, folk-dance, folk-costume, and vernacular architecture.

More information at: www.meraworldmusic.com