Tag Archives: Hungarian music

Artist Profiles: Edina Szirtes “Mókus”

Edina Szirtes “Mókus” – Photo by Gábor Nagy

As a virtuoso musician, Edina Szirtes Mókus is familiar with a variety of styles, still she has managed to develop her own, special sound both in singing and on violin. She has composed music for exhibitions and dramatic performances (Szeged Contemporary Ballet). These compositions merge classical, world music (ethno) and jazz styles. She has contributed in numerous well-known Hungarian groups and performers ((Muddy Shoes, TNT, Nyers, Rakonczai Viktor, etc.).

She is also regularly on tour in Europe with her own bands (Blues B.R.Others, Dafina, Hajnal, Ex-tri, Alex Paid Holiday, etc). A distinctive talent within Nomada, she plays the violin on a wide scale, without any stylistic boundaries, and she performs the Gypsy songs with deep feeling and emotion.


És A Fabula Rasa – Tesséklássék ‎(Sony Music, 2009)
Szerelmesezos (2012)
Ki Viszi Át – Who Carries Love Over (Magneoton, 2016)


Artist Profiles: Aladár Csiszár

Aladár Csiszár

Aladár Csiszár is one of the last great gypsy fiddlers from an area of Transylvania called Székelyföld [Land of the Secklers]. He is the most important informance from this region where folk music was preserved throughout the centuries. He was born into a Gypsy dynasty of musicians and has played all his life for communities surrounding his birthplace. His playing may be characterized by wild improvisations, commendable musicianship and charismatic style.


Marosszéki Muzsika – Dance Music From Marosszék, Válogatás Vavrinecz András Gyűjtéseiből – A Selection Of Tunes Collected By András Vavrinecz ‎(Hagyományok Háza, 2007)
Original Village Music From Transylvania’s Upper Mureș Region ‎(Fonó Records, 2010)


Artist Profiles: Ágnes Künstler

Ágnes Künstler had been singing and dancing in Wild Roses folk group for 18 years. In 1984 she joined the Hungarian gypsy folk ensemble Kalyi Jag (Black Fire) and achieved world-wide fame as their soloist. She also wrote lyrics and worked as a composer on the group’s albums that were accompanied by great international success. She worked as a composer and vocalist in collaboration with Szilveszter Jeney on the album called ‘Gypsy Bethlehem’. She performed throughout Europe, Japan, India,South Korea, the United States and Brazil. She was also invited to sing her songs in films produced in Hungary and abroad.

In 2005 she founded Etnorom ensemble with Jozsef Balog. Also in 2005 she worked as a composer and vocalist on the theatre play called ‘Nomad Passion – Ballad of the Snake’. The play presents pieces of gypsy life with traditional music and dance. The premiere took place 9th December 2005, in the National Dance Theatre in Budapest and was followed by several performances in Budapest and other cities of Hungary with great success.


Artist Profiles: Üsztürü


Üsztürü was founded in 1992 by young Hungarian musicians while attending university in Kolozsvár [Cluj]. They were born in Transylvania and had close connections to the communities where Hungarian folk music was still a living tradition. They witnessed first hand how authentic, traditional folk music, played on acoustic instruments, has disappeared from village life, having been displaced by electronic instruments and Western pop music.

The members of the Üsztürü were fortunate to learn and play with the greatest masters of Transylvanian music. Some of them have passed away.

Many years of playing with these folk artists and studying, collecting their music makes the members of the Üsztürü special bearers of Transylvanian Hungarian music. They are dedicated to assuring the continued survival of a folk art form, which can rarely be found even in its indigenous surroundings. The Ensemble is also at home in performing all Hungarian folk musical dialects from the Austrian border to the Eastern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains.

The band includes István Moldovan – violin; Levente Major – violin; Jozsef Szász – bracsa; and Lörinc Szász – bass.


Szárazfának Muzsikája – Transylvanian Village Music (Fonó Records, 1997)
Az Öregeké ‎(Folk Európa, 2004)
USA 2007 – Transylvanian Village Music (2007)
Kalotaszegi Kontrasztok – Contrasts Of Kalotaszeg ‎(2010)
Szászcsávasi Élményeink – Our Musical Impressions From The Village Of Szászcsávás ‎(2016)


Artist Profiles: Ando Drom

Ando Drom
Ando Drom (On the Road) Gypsy folklore group was founded in Budapest in 1984. Since the members come from different segments of the Hungarian Gypsy (Roma) population, the group presents a wide range of styles and variations within gypsy music and culture.

They perform on a high artistic level and present the traditional music and dances of the Gypsy people in an authentic, at the same time modern way. They also make arrangements and new compositions in order to introduce the feelings and life of today’s Gypsies, representing therefore a living and original folklore. The songs are sung in Gypsy language, accompanied by guitar, mandolin and tambura: for percussion they use spoons, jugs, wooden through and oral bass.

The group generally performs with 6 members, but for their concerts they also often invite young talented Gypsy musicians as special guests. Between 1987 and 2005 they visited many European countries and participated at many international festivals.

At the beginning of 1996 they participated at the opening ceremony honoring Copenhagen (in 1998 in London) as that Year’s “Cultural Capital of Europe”. In 1998 Radio France broadcast the one-hour long concert of Ando Drom. That same year the Italian chanel TV1 and the BBC made and broadcast a program about the group. It is the second year that Ando Drom has had a successful concert series at the Worldfestival in Edinburgh.

In addition to their concert tours abroad, they often perform in Hungary, where Ando Drom is considered to be one of the most renowned Gypsy folklore groups. They were honored two times with the prestigious Hungarian Nivo musical award. They also won first and second prizes at several international festivals (Germany, Sweden).

In 1992, French label Planett released the first cassette and CD Chants Tziganes de Hongrie. One song from the CD written by band leader Jenő Zsigó can be heard in the movie Latcho Drom and on its CD as well. In 1994 they participated in the recording of a CD of the group Chico and the Gypsies as special guests.

In 1995, Ando Drom released a second CD titled Kai Phirel O Del which was selected, best Hungarian CD in world music of the year 1995 by a popular Hungarian weekly magazine. Since the beginning of 1997 this CD was released and distributed in the US by North Pacific Music under the title Gypsy Life On the Road.

Also in 1997, German label Network Medien released another CD by Ando Drom titled Phari Mamo, with guest musicians from the French group Bratsch. Songs from the CD Phari Mamo can be heard on the compilation Gypsy Caravan released by Putumayo, on the Gypsy Road album by Alula Records and the gypsy collection called Road of the Gypsies by Network Medien.

In 1998 Ando Drom participated in the successful album by Bratsch.

The group released Live ’99 in 2000 then took part at a two-month long tour in Japan. In the same year a biographical film was made about the group.

Under the guidance of Jenő Zsigó, Ando Drom recreated Gypsy music. The group served as an incubator of talented gypsy musicians. Several well-known Gypsy acts came out of Gypsy Drom: Mitsou, the members of Romano Drom, Romano Glaso, Lindri, Rom Som, and The Szilvasi Gypsy Folk Band.

In November 2005 Ando Drom released the fifth CD, titled Muro Nav.


Chants Tziganes De Hongrie ‎(Planett, 1992)
Kaj Phirel O Del ‎(Ando Drom Foundation, 1995), available in North America as Gypsy Life On the Road
Phari Mamo ‎(Network Medien, 1997)
Live ’99 (2000)
Muro Nav (2005)


Artist Profiles: Ágnes Herczku

Ágnes Herczku – Photo by Hajdu András

Ágnes Herczku is a young folk singer sensation and upcoming star on the Budapest folk revival scene. Her beautiful voice and authentic presentation of Central European folk singing tradition is exciting.

She is also a professional dancer and a member of the well-known Honvéd Ensemble of Budapest. As a singer, she collaborated in numerous projects with well known and respected World and Folk music artists which resulted in several published recordings.


Bartok: Hungarian Folksongs For Voice And Piano
Guarding Fire (Hangveto)
From Mouth to Mouth, with Agi Szaloki and Szilvia Bognar
Arany És Kék Szavakkal ‎(Fonó Records, 2002)
Megéred Még, with Nikola Parov ‎(Tom-Tom Records, 2009)
Bandazom (Hangveto, 2015)
Live At WOMEX Budapest ‎(Fonó Budai Zeneház, 2016)


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