USA-Kanada turné 2012
01 Apr 2012 |

Forgatós [EN]

Magos Folk Band – Forgatós

Authentic Hungarian folk music from the river Sajó area to Székelyföld

During the recent years we have devoted our attention to understanding, acquisition and stylistically appropriate interpretation of music related to diverse regions of Székelyföld, as well as the villages along the rivers Sajó and Maros. We have compiled several line-ups that present the unique beauty of folk music belonging to these rural areas.

The material recorded on our CD aims at presenting an extremely colourful musical world ranging from slow-moving, lyrical love songs to tensely throbbing dance melodies. Our goal is to perform these types of not widely known, partly unexploited music diversely and authentically in order to entertain and delight the audience with the help of our favourite folk music collections, as well as our own experiences.

The folk music from Magyarpéterlaka has become our trademark, the most significant and customary part of our repertoire for the last 10 years of our performances. Nowadays no Magos concert or dance house event can be imagined without Uncle Aladár’s péterlaki music .

We  take our audience on a journey starting from the river Sajó area through Székely-Mezőség and Felső-Maros area to Udvarhelyszék and the area of the river Nyárád hoping that by the end of this ’roaming’ everybody will feel like dancing a ’Forgatós’.

1. On the Road…

Fast, slow ’csárdás’ and fast ’fordulós’ from Teke (Nagysajó, Zselyk- the river Sajó area)

Nagysajó is situated in the  south-eastern part of the region close to Beszterce, in the river Sajó area. In 1965 Zoltán Kallós made the first recordings with musicians from Nagysajó working in road constructions in Gyimes valley. In March 1991 additional recordings completed by Árpád Toni cimbalom playing were made based on 1965 collections at Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Musicology. These recordings were published by Kallós Archives.

It was listening to these collections that we fell in love with music from Sajó. Our aim was to convey the peculiarity of this emotional music by using three- and four-stringed violas simultaneously.

In the compilation/line-up lyrical songs from Zselyk are also performed as Béla Gáspár and his band were often invited to perform in the neighbouring villages, for example Zselyk among others.

2. Across Korond to Szováta

Verbunk, szöktetős (skipping) and marosszéki from Sóvidék

’Across Korond to Szováta’- this is how Oszkár Mailand started his notes in the introduction of his first collection conducted in Sóvidék in 1901 and published under the title: ’Collection from Székelyföld’ in 1905.

Sóvidék lies in the valley of Kis-Küküllő and Korond-vize, mainly in Udvarhelyszék, slightly reaching across the neighbouring Marosszék area. The bands playing here primarily used the violin, the cimbalom and the double bass, the villagers did not know any instrument specialized in harmony. All the three instruments played the tune/melody. Among the accompanying instruments the accordion music also played a role in this dance sequence. The accordion is not an organic element of the band line-up in Sóvidék, only after the 70’s could it be heard in a few recordings. However the performance technique is remarkable, as János Paradica Jr. is one of the few Transylvanian accordion players who play the melody. The double bass was used as a percussion instrument in faster dances: it was hit by a stick or palm in the case of ’marosszéki’ dance, in other cases the so-called fast’dűvő’ drawing was used.

The compilation on the CD was made based on music played by the band of Mihály Paradica ’Nyicu’ from Felsősófalva, collected by István Pávai and Antal Fekete.

3. Swiftly!

Korcsos (’turning’), székely verbunk and szapora (’swift’) from Magyaró

The area along the river Upper Maros comprises the Hungarian villages situated on both banks of the upper reaches of the Maros, on the edge of Mezőség. Magyaró is one of the most significant settlements of the region as regards folk music, preserving a more archaic tradition.

János Jagamas, one of Zoltán Kodály’s students, recorded very valuable songs and flute melodies during his fieldwork in the 1950’s.

The string band line-up completed by the cimbalom appeared in collections made by György Martin in 1969 and István Pávai in 1979. In this line-up we recall the inspiring music of the virtuoso lead violinist, István Moldován ’Stefi’ and his band from the above mentioned collections.

4. „We could have survived even on a rock”

Tunes from the river Nyárád area based on Béla Bartók ’s collection (Marosszék, Székelyföld)

The tunes in this vocal-flute compilation were collected by Béla Bartók in Nyárádköszvényes and Ehed (the river Nyárád area) in the spring of 1914. These melodies are representatives of the ancient, once widespread tunes that had been recorded in the very last moment before the soon broken out world war and the following chaotic period wiped everything out of community life.

The first melody was originally sung by Ferenc Kiss M. from Nyárádköszvényes, this is followed by Ignác Nagy’s first turning from Ehed. Ignác Nagy was 70 years old at the time of Bartók’s fieldwork, so he was born in 1844. The next song has numerous variations and is popular in revival dance house as one of the best known fast turning tunes from Székelyföld and the Upper Maros area. We perform the earliest documented version from Nyárádköszvényes on the CD. A lament from Ehed is the final melody of our compilation that recalls  Bartók’s fieldwork in Székelyföld.

5. ’County’ dance

Recruit song from Magyarpéterlaka, korcsos (turning), gypsy csárdás and fast turning (Upper Maros area)

Magyarpéterlaka is one of the most famous musical centres of the Upper Maros area. Aladár Csiszár, the lead violinist, from whom we have been learning a lot in the last few years, was born in this village. It was his outstanding performance and attractive personality that made him a real Master. Even his first recordings from 1965 made a great impression on us. The peculiar charm of music from Magyarpéterlaka can be found in the long drawn sounds of his violin.

The musicians from Magyarpéterlaka met the musical demands of villages lying along the river Nyárád where the tunes of fast turning were mainly accompanying the ’vármegye’ dance at the end of the dance programme.

6. To the Székelys (Seclers) from Mezőség

Table song and korcsos (turning) from Mezőkölpény, csárdás and korcsos (turning) from Mezőbánd (Székely-Mezőség, Marosszék, Székelyföld)

The székely settlements situated in Mezőség constitute a part of Marosszék, however the lifestyle and local culture of their inhabitants resemble those of the Hungarian villages of Mezőség. Their music bears characteristics typical of both Mezőség and the nearby region around the river Maros.

The most famous lead violinist of Székely-Mezőség was Viktor Szabó, who even as a child of 11 played at weddings thanks to his violonist father, Lajos Szabó’s conscious education. He became a professional musician working for Maros Ensemble at the age of 23, nevertheless, he preserved the characteristic features typical of village musicians.

In the slow csárdás and korcsos (turning) tunes we mix the playing of Ferenc Grittó and his band from Mezőbánd, that can be heard on recordings made by Zoltán Kallós in 1968, with folk songs from Kölpény.

7. Verbunkos (Recruiting)

Verbunk, gypsy csárdás and forduló (turning) from Marossárpatak (Upper Maros area/region)

Marossárpatak, which belongs to the southern part of Upper Maros area, could also boast with significant musician-dynasties. Samu Farkas’s family band played here, often joined by one of the best cimbalom players of the area:  Géza Virág from Mezőgalambod. The verbunk at the beginning of our line-up is a reminiscent of his playing.

After the verbunk the lead violinists ’resume the baton’ and amid a great’ duel of the bows and sticks’ they lead the band into playing a gypsy csárdás, then a fast turning.

8. „I told you, my darling, not to love me…”

Folk songs from Bözöd ( Udvarhelyszék, Székelyföld)

The tunes in the line-up were collected by László Lajtha from ’informant’ musicians invited to the Studio of the Hungarian Radio in 1941 during the recordings of Pátria folk music gramophone records. The peculiar, archaically performed songs originate from the repertoire of two outstanding singers from Bözöd (Udvarhelyszék): József Marosi and János Bágyi . The lyrical love songs are accompanied by flute and cimbalom.

9. As a remembrance from Zselyk

Korcsos (turning), wedding csárdás and bride accompanying tune (the river Sajó area/region)

Zselyk is situated between the valleys of the rivers Sajó and Dipse, with an entirely Hungarian, Lutheran population. The archaic traditions of the region – for example the special wedding customs and the tunes connected to them – were the most preserved here, that is why, similarly to Szék (Mezőség), the village can be considered a microland, an ’island village’.

10. ”Where even the ox drinks wine!”
– dedicated to Ponczi Gyula’s memory

Tune addressing János, fast turning, csárdás and korcsos (turning) from Magyarpéterlaka (Upper Maros region).

’Where even the ox drinks wine!’- answered Uncle Aladár when asked about his birthplace during a fieldwork ocassion.

Aladár Csiszár, János Ötvös and Gyula Ponczi – the legendary triumvirate from Péterlaka- constituted a real musical entity. Aladár’s music was beautifully complemented by Gyula’ unique viola accompaniment and János’s waving, stressed double bass playing.

The time spent with them, numerous conversations and common performances in folk dance camps during the past ten years have become priceless for all of us. We realise from year to year how much value they represent and how fortunate we are to be able to listen to and learn from them. These experiences motivate us to acquire this unique musical tradition as authentically as possible.

In the autumn of 2017 we, together with the Hungarian Heritage House and Fonó Music Hall, remembered the 20 – year – old collection series called ’ The Final Hour’ hosting Aladár Csiszár and his band. At the end of the event we managed to play together with Uncle Aladár and János. Luckily the ’tape recorder’ was on and the recordings will be preserved for the future generations.

Uncle Gyula has been playing his viola in the ’heavenly band’ since December 28th, 2017. The final number of our CD is dedicated to his memory.