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Hungary is a small country in Central Europe, roughly the size of Indiana. Its population is approximately 10 million, but another 2.5 million Hungarians reside within the seven countries that surround its borders (Austria, Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia) and another 2 million Hungarians live in other parts of the world. These people speak Hungarian - known as Magyar (which is also the word that refers to a person of Hungarian ancestry). The Magyars' unique language helped them survive as a cohesive ethnic group and also to develop a distinctive identity and culture.
Throughout its thousand years of history, Hungary has been a multiethnic country, drawing and incorporating new peoples and traditions. The territory has been an area of contact in Europe's geographic center, welcoming influences from all directions. The resulting culture expresses itself in a rich and diverse heritage of music, dance, costume, arts and crafts, gastronomy, speech, and even the conventions of naming (Hungarians place the family name before the given name).
In the 1970s, popular interest in folk music and dance traditions was revived by the so-called táncház (dance house) movement. This urban grassroots movement reinvented the institution of the village dance in urban settings. Young people were searching for traditions that were "true" and "authentic," and their interest focused on learning dances that were varied, improvisational, and performed to live musical accompaniment. They strove to understand the original techniques, performing styles, and contexts of the dance and the accompanying vocal and instrumental music. Their teachers were remarkable personalities in rural areas of Hungary and neighboring countries who had been able to preserve these traditions in spite of twentieth-century modernization.
A similar motivation to preserve traditional Hungarian handicrafts has provided a boost to a flourishing crafts revival. The táncház and the crafts revival provided refreshing alternatives to the mandated, ideologically controlled Socialist youth movement and forms of entertainment of the time. Their practices became not only an act of protest, but also a new channel for the expression of collective memory and identity.
Thanks to the transmission of traditional knowledge from these "last preservers" to the succeeding generations, 2013 saw a rich repertoire and high standard of dance, musical, and crafts knowledge throughout the country. What had started as an amateur movement thus revolutionized the methods and concepts of choreographed stage performances, thereby creating new sensibilities and possibilities for both contemporary and traditional dance. Recent experiments in music, design, and fashion are reshaping the boundaries and meanings of tradition.
The Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival program at the Festival demonstrated not only the diversity of these contemporary traditions, but also the worldwide significance of the Hungarian folk revival movement. Featuring highly skilled masters and apprentices from rural areas, as well as musicians, dancers, and artisans from more urban settings, the program highlighted the vitality of this culture, as well as the strength it derives from the reinterpretation of traditions.
James Deutsch and Ágnes Fülemile were Program Curators and Zsuzsanna Cselényi was Program Coordinator. The Curatorial Advisory Board included: Miklós Cseri and Eszter Csonka-Takács, Hungarian Open Air Museum; László Diószegi, György Martin Folk Dance Association; Gabriella Igyártó, Festival of Folk Arts and Crafts; László Kelemen, House of Traditions; and János Tari, National Museum of Ethnography.
The program was produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in partnership with the Balassi Institute, Budapest. Major support was provided by the Hungary Initiative Foundation and National Cultural Endowment of Hungary. Additional support was provided by the Hungarian American Coalition, American Hungarian Federation, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Hungary in Washington, D.C., Center for Humanities of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Ferenc Liszt University of Music, Hungarian National Tourist Office, William Penn Association, Hungarian American Cultural Association, City Council of Karcag, Hungarian Communion of Friends, and Tisza Ensemble Washington.
Ágnes Fülemile, Andrea Navratil, Bob Cohen, Boldog Anna, Csiki István, Eszter Bíró, Fruzsina Cseh, János Mihaly Tari, Judy Olson, Kálmán László, Kálmán Magyar, Kiss Réka, László Károly Diószegi, László Orbán, Laura Götzinger, Lisa Overholser, Mary Taylor, Csaba Mészáros, Pál Richter, Simon Ervin, Sivo Marta, Szilágyi Gyula, Tekla Tötszegi, Váradi Viktória, Vendégh Gábor, Veress Janka, Zoltán József Juhász, Zsuzsa Seres
Mátyás Bolya, zither, Solymár, Hungary
James Cockell, 1971-, violin, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Bob Cohen, 1956-, violin, Budapest, Hungary
Anna Csizmadia, 1992-, vocalist, Budapest, Hungary
Péter Deáky, French horn
Elisabeta Dezső, 1950-, vocalist, Suatu, Cluj, Romania
Balázs Istvánfi, 1972-, bagpipes, Zebegény, Hungary
István "Dumnezeu" Jámbor, 1951-, fiddle, Ceuaș, Mureș, Romania
Martin "Florin" Kodoba, 1977-, fiddle, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Andrea Navratil, 1978-, vocalist, Budapest, Hungary
András Németh, 1984-, hurdy-gurdy, Pomáz, Hungary
Csilla Németh, drum
László Orbán, 1960-, fiddle, Sammamish, Washington
István "Gázsa" Papp, 1959-, fiddle, Budapest, Hungary
Bálint Schmidt, trumpet
Gábor Schmidt, trumpet
Jake Shulman-Ment, 1984-, violin, Brooklyn, New York
Áron Székely, 1984-, viola, Brooklyn, New York
Tibor Tillmann, trumpet
István "Kiscsipás" Varga, 1974-, fiddle, Huedin, Romania
ESZTER BÍRÓ AND BAND -- ESZTER BÍRÓ AND BANDEszter Bíró, 1977-, vocalist, Budapest, HungarySándor Födö, 1981-, percussion, Páty, HungaryMáté Hámori, 1986-, guitar, Budapest, HungaryPéter Papesch, 1973-, bass, Szentendre, HungaryNikola Parov, 1960-, clarinet, Nagykovácsi, Hungary
SZALONNA AND HIS BAND -- SZALONNA AND HIS BANDRóbert Doór, 1964-, bass, Gyermely, HungaryAttila Gera, 1978-, wind instruments, Nagytarcsa, HungaryTamás Gombai, 1970-, fiddle, Budapest, HungaryGyula Karacs, 1974-, viola, Veresegyház, HungaryIstván Pál, 1980-, fiddle, Budapest, HungarySándor Ürmös, 1976-, cimbalom, Budapest, Hungary
Dalma Bangó, 1990-, dancer, Gödöllő, Hungary
Zsófia Bartha, 1989-, dancer, Győr, Hungary
István Berecz, 1987-, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Dóra Cseke-Császár, 1990-, dancer, Lenti, Hungary
Péter Darabos, 1988-, dancer, Tordas, Hungary
Andrea Dobi, 1973-, dancer, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Péter Ertl, 1968-, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Tamás Farkas, 1984-, dancer, Kamut, Hungary
Annamária Fekete, 1995-, dancer, Gödöllő, Hungary
Dezső Fitos, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Kristóf Fundák, 1985-, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Richárd Hideg, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Brigitta Horváth, 1990-, dancer, Lenti, Hungary
Lili Kaszai, 1988-, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Kata Kádár, 1985-, dancer, Érd, Hungary
Kata Kovács, 1990-, dancer, Győr, Hungary
Zoltán Kovács, 1993-, dancer, Dunaföldvár, Hungary
Dániel Légár, 1991-, dancer, Zákány, Hungary
Máté Módos, 1991-, dancer, Győr, Hungary
Ahmed Moussa, 1990-, dancer, Gödöllő, Hungary
Zoárd Pálffy, 1986-, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Gergely Papp, dancer, Gödöllő, Hungary
Máté Papp, dancer, Gödöllő, Hungary
Rita Radics, 1964-, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Tünde Schnelczer, dancer, Budapest, Hungary
Mariann Temkó, 1984-, dancer, Szatymaz, Hungary
Communities of Tradition
GYIMES (TRANSYLVANIA, ROMANIA)
Csaba André, 1987-, dancer, Lunca de Jos, Romania
Irén André, 1995-, vocalist, Lunca de Jos, Romania
Lóránt Bodor, 1991-, dancer, Lunca de Jos, Romania
Henrietta Simon, 1996-, fiddler, Lunca de Jos, Romania
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Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.