Hungarian World Music Guide

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Published by: Halmos Bela Programme Edited by: Anna Fazekas, BalĂĄzs Weyer, Endre Liber English edit: Rita RĂŠvy Graphic design: Nur Mohammed This booklet is free of charge.




The Hungarian World Music Guide gives an overview of key contacts currently active in the field: artists, festivals, institutions, labels, production companies and venues. Although far from complete, it gives you a head start in exploring the dynamic world music scene in Hungary.

ABOUT US The Halmos BĂŠla Programme

With a special focus on promoting Hungarian folk music on an international level, our aim is to discover and mentor new talent, help promote performances for well-established artists in Hungary and abroad, as well as support Hungarian “dance house� events.


“Once upon a time, when we all travelled… I used to enjoy Hungarian music even in such remote places as India! However, the most proper place to hear the local bands and feel the music is Budapest itself, experience spiced up by regional food, wine and view over the Danube.” Martyna Markowska

“Hungarian bands make the Pannonica Festival even more special, every year since its beginning. I will never forget the virtuosity of Sondorgo, the touching voice of Monika Lakatos, the spontaneity of Babra or that unique dance house atmosphere brought to us by the Buda Folk Band.” Ula Nowak


Our very first WOMEX in 1994 was inspired by some hot Budapest tanchaz nights that summer: I remember coming back to Berlin and announcing ‘we must have that atmosphere!’. The call went out and The Ökrös Ensemble and Nikola Parov’s Bulgaria-meets-Hungary group arrived overland, driving the cimbalom and everything in their bus. Superb. Thank you! Now it’s our turn to drive to Budapest!' Ben Mandelson

WOMEX Founding Director

My absolutely best Hungarian live music experience was spring 2018 at the afterparty of the annual shepherd’s music gala in Budapest (Balaz/ Andras can say the name of the event). It was nonstop live music and dance in (or at?) the backyard of Fono. There I realized how the shepherd’s music is really a living cultural heritage in Hungary. I loved it and wish to get to see and hear that warm wibe of the people, music and dance again!" Riitta Huttunen

lecture at the Arts University, Helsinki 7

“Not just bands and concerts, but also exploration of musical links with Transylvania, Slovakia and further East. And not to forget courageous acts of resistance against those who tried to silence the music or replace it with ideology and propaganda." Petr Doruzka

“What I never forget? Ökrös band 1995 at Rudolstadt-Festival with fiddle music from Transylvania, going directly into stomach and heart. A Vás family gathering with Szászcsávás roma musicians, the voice of Bea Palya and bands like Meszecsinka, Besh o droM or Lakvar.” Grit Friedrich




Sziget Festival is one of the biggest multicultural gatherings in Europe. The week-long, non-stop event provides a complete festival holiday experience with 60 venues and 250 programmes daily, offering a vast selection of genres in music and the performing arts, including folk and world music at the Hungarikum & Global Village venues. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in August, Budapest ● ►

Valley of Arts

concerts - new circus - world music - contemporary dance - jazz - folk music and dance - sustainability programmes - classical music - theatre - exhibitions - workshops - tours - literary gatherings - craft fair - sporting events - film screenings

Hungary’s largest multi-genre festival attracted more than 200,000 culture lovers to the Valley in 2019 and more than 80,000 visitors bought daily tickets or passes to the festival. The Valley of Arts will be celebrating 30 years in 2021 and will have a stronger focus on environmentally conscious solutions and programmes. ⌂ Dates and location:

annually in July, Kapolcs - Taliándörögd - Vigántpetend

● ►


Örvényeshegy Picnic

concerts - world music - children’s activities - jazz - theatre - literary events - tours - craft fair - sporting events

A picturesque natural reserve on the edge of a forest, Zalacsány-Örvényeshegy is the ideal venue for concerts, theatre and literary events. Visitors get to experience the best of Hungarian culture, as well as get a taste of the local cuisine. Tickets are always sold out and nearly 3500 culture enthusiasts can enjoy exclusive cultural events in breathtaking surroundings. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in May, Zalacsány ● ►


Ördögkatlan Festival

“When we dream alone it is only a dream, but when many dream together it is the beginning of a new reality.” (Friedensreich Hundertwasser) The Ördögkatlan Festival is about building a community space bridging political and language barriers, as well as country borders, to create an undeniably remarkable artistic event. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in August, Nagyharsány ● ► // +36 70 312 7073


Kerekdomb Festival

Churches, courtyards, castle halls, mansions and vineyards of the Tokaj wine region turn into festival venues for a few days every September in Tállya. Four days, 17 wineries, one distillery, nine event venues and nearly 100 events await visitors at the Kerekdomb Festival, where last year the number of visitors hit a record with over 4000 festival-goers! ⌂ Dates and location: annually in September, Tállya ● ►

Budapest Folk Fest

Budapest Folk Fest continues to be a hub for artists who acknowledge the ancient power of folk music, either transcribing it for the 21st century, or relaying its timelessness and beauty in its original form. This is what our festival celebrates: proving over and over again that Budapest is the folk capital of the world! ⌂ Dates and location: annually in May, Budapest ● ►


Five Churches Festival

Five days, five churches and five religions, all on one street in Győr. This festival is a celebration of community, tolerance and cultural diversity. The programme includes classical music, folk music, religious and art history presentations and theatre performances providing a culturally dynamic experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in May, Győr ● ► // +36 20 332 6475

VIDOR Festival

Combining comedy and carnival the VIDOR Festival not only showcases the best in Hungarian comedy theatre but also provides entertainment in many different forms of art, including street performances, puppet theatre and fine arts. It also holds its places as one of the most prominent world music festivals in the region with a mix of musical genres, tastes, ethnicities and cultures promising an authentic experience. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in August, Nyíregyháza ● ►


“Heritage” World Music Festival Starting out as an ethno, folk and folk rock festival in 1996, over the years this festival has evolved into a versatile series of events encompassing a broader array of art forms. With a promenade on the banks of the river Tisza as the backdrop for two stages hosting local and international talent, there is something for everyone including various musical genres, dance performances and fine arts programmes. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in August, Szolnok ● ► // +36 20 995 1135 15


Over 40 concerts and 100 films, plus a plethora of community events makes Mediawave one of Hungary’s biggest little underground art synthesis festivals. The festival keeps its alternative vibe going by inviting musicians, visual artists and filmmakers who fly in just under the radar but can easily hold their own on the international music and film scenes. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in April, Győr ● ►


Babel Sound Interactive World Music Festival Looking back on 10 years of bridging cultural and musical borders across continents, Babel Sound is a world music event and artist residency that aims to be a dynamic meeting point for a spectrum of art. Artists get the opportunity to grow their professional network as well as connect with their audience. The audience gets to experience a cultural blend of music, dance and gastronomy in a family-friendly atmosphere on the shores of Lake Balaton. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in July, Balatonboglár ● ►


World music has been a strong focus of this cultural festival since its start in 2004. After a couple of years without it, world music will once again be a part of repertoire in 2021. Not only will there be fado and other world music, but three stages will give space to a wide range of genres including jazz, R&B, classical and pop concerts from internationally acclaimed artists, as well as local headliners. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in July, Veszprém ● ► // +3688 444 454


Paloznak Jazz Picnic

Located on the north side of Lake Balaton, this idyllic little village becomes a jazz capital for a weekend providing a charming setting for a host of talented musicians performing on four stages and 30 concerts. The Jazz Picnic is a real treat for music lovers who can enjoy the sounds of soul, blues and jazz while tasting delicious local wines and cuisine. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in August, Paloznak ● ►


Bánkitó Festival

Situated in a picturesque village on the shores of a beautiful lake this small underground, non-profit music festival has strong social, political and cultural philosophies. Four stages host concerts from local and international performers and more than 150 civil/ cultural programmes including workshops, lectures, panel discussions and theatre performances. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in July, Bánk ● ► // +36 20 992 8449

Budapest Ritmo

Budapest Ritmo was created in the wake of Budapest’s emergence as a world music hub in the region. The capital’s biggest world music festival gives space to local and global talent and one-of-a-kind concerts on four stages for three days. ⌂ Dates and location: annually in October, Budapest ● ►


PONT Festival

Family-friendly and free-of-charge during the day, with world-class concerts at night, this festival offers something for everyone. Discover the living heritage of Hungary alongside featured guest countries. ⌂ Dates and location: annually at Easter, Budapest ● ►


organisations & institutions


Artisjus is the collective management organisation for the rights of composers, lyricists, literary authors and music publishers in Hungary. It represents 23,000 creatives and 530,000 domestic musical works. Artisjus also provides opportunities for professional development by organising events such as the DEX Songwriting Expo which is a networking and educational event for Central European songwriters. â—? â–ş // + 361 488 2666


Dance-house Guild

The Guild was founded in 1990 as a nationwide social organisation of the “dance house” movement and related branches of folk art. Among the Guild’s goals are to organise events such as the annual Dance House Festival and the Season Opener Dance House Ball, produce publications like folkMAGazin, research and collect folk materials, create educational projects and to cooperate with other institutions and organisations. ● ► // +361 214 3521

Forum for Folk Arts Foundation Forum Fund is the non-profit partner of Hangvető, organising international training programmes in the field of folk music and folk art from the Balkans, the Visegrad Group countries, and beyond. ● ► // +361 209 8828


Halmos Béla Programme

The Halmos Béla Programme is an exemplary statefunded programme whose main goals are to support folk and world music artists, as well as to help promote high-quality, authentic, traditional music in Hungary and abroad. ● ►


Hangvető has been centre stage in the CEE region since 2004 for cultivating world music talent, producing and organising events, consulting on and implementing cultural development strategies and creating training programmes for industry professionals through international cooperation. First in 2015, and once again in 2020, Hangvető is honored to host WOMEX - Worldwide Music Expo. ● ► // +361 209 8828




Hungarian Heritage House

The Hungarian Heritage House (HHH) is a cultural institution safeguarding and promoting the traditional cultural heritage of the Carpathian Basin. The activities cover all fields of folklore: folk music, folk dance, folk art and folk narratives. The institution produces arts programmes through performances of the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble, as well as other outstanding musicians, bands and dance ensembles of the vibrant folk scene. It is a co-partner of music festivals and operates a concert venue in a fully modernised historical building in the heart of Budapest. It organises applied folk arts programmes and provides a wide selection of courses and training possibilities at both professional and hobby levels, including adult education and craft workshops, as well as children’s programmes. HHH’s folklore documentation centre and its publications, with the services of its own library and archives, provide the materials for further research and education. While the Museum of Applied Hungarian Folk Art collects and exhibits items related to folk art in temporary thematic exhibitions. Cultural management and the development of a network throughout the Carpathian Basin to transmit the values of traditional culture is a new activity and a headline goal of the HHH. ● ► // +361 225 6097


Music Hungary Association

Music Hungary is an independent umbrella association which represents the collective interests of Hungary’s commercial music industry. The principal aims are to unify, support and boost the local music industry, as well as to improve circumstances for Hungarian musicians through financial, legal and community assistance.

Institute for Musicology

The Institute for Musicology in Budapest fulfils a triple role: 1. Research 2. Archiving of national collections, administration and supervision of data repositories 3. Organising professional events, conferences and concerts, of which – naturally – the load-bearing pillar is research. The Institute houses the Budapest Bartók Archives, the Central Archives for Hungarian Folk Music and Folk Dance and the Archives for 20th–21st-Century Hungarian Music, as well as musical instruments of historic value. ● ►



Fonó Records

The Fonó label has released over 300 records in the folk, world music and jazz genres which regularly make the international world music charts. Fonó Records is Hungary’s most active folk and world music label and has been named several times amongst WOMEX Top Labels. ● ► // +361 206 5300

Gryllus Ltd.

Daniel Gryllus established this publishing company in 1990 in order to release his own music. In the last 29 years the company has become a popular record label for many other Hungarian performers of world music including Sebestyén Márta, the Sebő ensemble, Bea Palya, Miklós Both, Szilvia Bognár, György Ferenczi and the Rackajam, Romengo and Kaláka. Gryllus opened their own showroom, the Kaláka Music Shop, in 2002. Their published records offer a broad spectrum of music from traditional folk and world music to contemporary music and individual projects. ● ► // +3630 552 6956


NarRator Records

The role of values is on the decrease, and there’s always less consensus on the worth of each value. The main figures of public life have changed, and so have our considerations of right and wrong. This is where NarRator Records’ life began. So far, we’ve contributed 105 artists with 148 albums to show their value to the world. And the list keeps growing... ● ►

Music Hungary - FolkEurópa

The Music Hungary - FolkEurópa record label specialises in field recordings, having published more than 1200 digital field recordings to date. Music Hungary also creates sustainable contemporary models based on traditional music, with a Europewide network in both ethnomusicology and publishing. Additionally, the label is involved with education and curriculum development, producing shows for Bartók Radio and has also produced its first TV documentary about the “dance house” movement. ● ►




From temples of music and post-industrial obscurities, to historical pilgrimage sites and grassroots pop-ups, with capacity ranging from 100 to 1800, these are the best venues in Hungary for you to hear life-changing world music or to share your own music and change the lives of others.



Budapest VeszprĂŠm


Szeged PĂŠcs




Anchored on the banks of the Danube, the A38 Ship has been making waves as the cultural epicentre of Budapest since 2003. Hosting over 700 events annually with performers from all over the world, the ship’s programme is choc-a-block with concerts from an array of musical genres, as well as DJ parties, literary nights, exhibitions and workshops. ● ►



Müpa Budapest is one of Hungary’s best known cultural brands and one of its most modern cultural institutions. It brings together the many and varied disciplines of the arts by providing a home for classical, contemporary, popular and world music, not to mention jazz and opera, as well as contemporary circus, dance, literature and film. ●

Fonó Budai Music Hall

The Fonó is one of Budapest’s most popular concert and “dance house” venues. The ‘Final Hour’ village music collection project at the turn of this century was held here and musicians from those regions still perform here regularly. Fonó always has a jam-packed schedule of world music, jazz, ethno-jazz, and folk music events. ⌂ ► // +361 206 5300 36

Eötvös10 - Tázló Club

Located in the heart of Budapest Eötvös10 Cultural Institute is a community gathering place for the arts, from concerts, exhibitions and theatre to conferences, workshops and children’s programmes. The institute also has a focus on preserving cultural heritage, for example hosting a regular Moldavian folk “dance house”. The various rooms and halls are all available to rent. ● ►

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla is one of the original ruin pubs. Always a trendsetter, Szimpla’s indoor/outdoor courtyard bar sprawl is a bastion of world music club life, with performers arriving from every corner of the globe to give free concerts. It is also an epicentre of community gatherings hosting regular jam sessions, a weekly folk “dance house”, a Sunday farmer’s market and many other fundraising and cultural events. ● ►


Hungarian Heritage House

The HHH is home to a regular “dance house” club every Saturday from 7 pm. People interested in learning Hungarian folk dances can participate in a class which focuses on one region for an entire season and is held at the beginning of each “dance house”. The Season Closing Ball has become a popular and unparalleled event where musicians, dancers and experts on folk traditions are invited from the region in focus to share their treasure of knowledge with the audience, followed by dancing till dawn. ● ► +361 225 6097


Kobuci Kert

KOBUCI Garden in Óbuda is the summer home for the folk and world music scene in Budapest. The charming courtyard of the Zichy Palace complements the festival atmosphere of the events held here, which include contemporary, folk and world music performances, a regular Hungarian folk “dance house” and children’s concerts. ● ► // +3670 205 7282



Cool drinks, striking views, good food and beach vibes make this a summer hotspot in Budapest. Located at the foot of the Chain Bridge on the Pest side, Pontoon guarantees the ideal backdrop for community gatherings, cultural events as well as DJ parties with dancing till sunrise. Enjoy the view, we’ll take care of the rest! ● ► // +3630 824 2818


BMC-Opus Jazz Club

Jazz and beyond: the Opus Jazz Club presents the most innovative European artists and bands from Tuesday to Saturday each week at the Budapest Music Center. With its unique concert programme, acoustics, and gastronomy, Opus has rightfully earned its place among the top jazz clubs for music lovers looking for fresh sounds. ● ► // +361 216 7894


As the musical and cultural heartbeat of Budapest, Akvárium makes for a dynamic and diverse events venue. With four separate halls that can be used individually or collectively, along with the sprawling terrace outside, it is the perfect multifunctional space for concerts, festivals, conferences, workshops, press conferences and more. ● ►


Dürer Kert

Within the walls of this former 19th century boarding school is one of Budapest’s most unique clubs. Sprawling spaces, art galleries, various-sized stages and halls, and a spacious courtyard for warmer months, Dürer Kert is a cultural enclave capable of holding many events at once, or just one huge one. Be it cult figures or fresh talents, from abroad or local, the performances held here cover every genre on the spectrum, from rock, hip-hop and electronic to jazz, folk and world music. ● ► 42

Várkert Bazár

A unique jewel in the crown of Budapest’s Castle District, the Várkert Bazár combines a rich history with distinctive architecture and nature’s beauty to create a gorgeous backdrop for concerts and cultural events. ● ► // +361 225 0554


Delightfully dilapidated and gleefully gritty this eclectic venue high on bohemian vibes has been the backbone of the Budapest multiculti scene since 2001. This muchloved neighborhood hangout serves as a concert hall and art gallery hosting free live performances almost every evening including Hungarian folk, jazz, Gypsy, klezmer, rock and Balkan music. ● ► // +361 269 1050


Lumen Café

A favorite hangout for local artists and international students alike, the best part of this gastro-bar, known as ‘Big’ Lumen, is the adjacent concert hall. The venue hosts regular live events including jazz, Hungarian folk and indie music, as well community events and independent theatre productions. ● ►

Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Established in 1875 by Franz Liszt, the Liszt Academy is considered a sanctuary of music and is also an impressive example of Art Nouveau architecture. The academy offers a full spectrum of music education, including folk music, and the two concert halls regularly host world-class performances. ● ► // +361 321 0690


OTHER CITIES Bugócsiga Acoustic Garden, Sopron Búgócsiga operates as a bustling community space and alternative cultural melting pot hosting a plethora of events including concerts, art exhibitions, craft fairs, theatrical performances, film clubs, and Hungarian folk “dance house” events. ● ►

Fonó Club Szeged

The first permanent venue of the Fonó Budai Music Hall outside of Budapest, Fonó Club Szeged operates as a folk music hub and cultural centre. Striving to represent the same artistic ideals and high-quality events as its big city counterpart, the programmes on offer include jazz, folk and world music concerts, regular “dance houses” and workshops. ● ► // +3630 288 8057


Great Forest Water Tower, Debrecen Renovated in 2014, this functioning water tower surrounded by forest is an impressive multifunctional event space. During the day nature-lovers can hike, or rent bikes and electric rickshaws to explore the surrounding forest. At night the H2O Gallery is perfect for exhibitions, conferences, company and private events, as well as concerts and parties. The Tower Garden stage can host open-air performances, film and sports event screenings. â—? â–ş


The Leskowsky Musical Instrument Museum, Kecskemét This museum is one of a kind in Hungary with about 2000 musical instruments from around the world. Visitors are allowed to touch and play most of the instruments on display. The museum also operates as an event space hosting world music workshops, concerts and festivals year-round. ● ► // +3676 486 616

Nappali, Pécs

Nappali is a cozy bar and club in the pedestrianised centre of Pécs. There’s a large outdoor seating area surrounded by trees and inside there’s a small stage used for live concerts, DJ sessions and a monthly folk dance club. Friendly service, a nice selection of local wines and a welcoming vibe - no wonder it’s known as the Heart Chakra of Pécs. ● ► // +3672 585 705


Hangvilla, Veszprém

The Hangvilla Multifunctional Community Space is a gathering place for creative innovation and a cultural resource for the city of Veszprém. This large arts complex hosts a plethora of programmes ensuring access to high quality cultural entertainment including educational workshops, conferences, civic events, theatre and concerts. ● ► // +3688 889 180

Papírkutya, Veszprém

‘Paper Dog’ is a ruin bar, an elegant drinkery, a rum mecca, a Mediterranean-Oriental restaurant, a modern bistro, an exhibition space and a concert venue, and a cultural meeting point located in the heart of Veszprém. ● ►

Kodály Centre, Pécs

Since its opening in 2010 the Kodály Centre has steadily gained a reputation as one of Hungary’s, and Central Europe’s, finest concert venues. Violinist and conductor Maxim Vengerov dubbed it an “architectural Stradivarius”, referring not only to its aesthetic appeal but also to the exceptional acoustics. ● ► // +36 72 500 300 48


Ági Szalóki

#female, #vocal, #WOMEX2011

The winner of numerous recognitions, including the Liszt Award, Ági Szalóki has been active on the Hungarian world music scene since 1999, singing for bands like Ökrös and the world music band Besh o Drom. 16 years ago she began to write and perform children’s music incorporating her repertoire rooted in the diverse musical and cultural traditions of Hungary, Africa, India and the Roma. ►


Ágnes Herczku and Nikola Parov #female, #vocal

You’re bound to bump into Ágnes Herzcku and Nikola Parov on the world music scene. Their longstanding musical partnership has consistently created exciting and colourful music rooted in traditional folk melodies fused with mainstream sounds. The albums from their joint project “Ági Herczku & Band” regularly land at the top of world music charts. ► // +3620 383 0533



#HHH #Balkan #female #tamboura

Babra breathes new life into the manifold musical heritage of the South Slavs. The band’s vibrant personality is determined by the unity of the tamburas, the harmony of the clarinet and the accordion, and the unique appearance of the tambura bass played by the only woman in the group. Their mission is to infuse this rich musical tradition with youthful energy and unique interpretations. ● ►



#HHH #dancehouse #instrumental #stringband

The band’s combined use of violin, viola, bass, cimbalom, accordion and all the members’ voices creates a truly dynamic sound. Bajkó regularly takes their energetic performances to the concert stage, as well as dance houses. They strive to share only the most authentic music gathered from all corners of the Carpathian Basin. ● ►

Balkan Jazz Project #Balkan #jazz

The Balkan Jazz Project is led by multireedist Mihály Borbély. Their concerts showcase the collective energies of the Carpathian Basin, the Balkans and jazz creating powerful rhythms, elegantly transparent, lyrical melodies and frenetic dance tunes with great success. ● ► // +3630 382 0356


Bea Palya

#female #vocal #songwriter #WOMEX15

As a distinctive figure on the Hungarian world music and songwriting scene Bea intertwines traditional influences from Hungarian, Bulgarian, Jewish and Gypsy folk music with a modern spin and her own emotional imprints to create an innovative world music sound. â—? â–ş // +3630 821 5405



#HHH #dancehouse #instrumental #stringband

Formed in 2008, Berka band is one of the youngest and most spirited formations playing folk music from the Csángó people, ethnic Hungarians living in the Romanian region of Moldavia. Their repertoire includes well-known Moldavian tunes as well as some forgotten gems from remote villages, often described as evoking a medieval atmosphere. ● ►

Besh o Drom

#Fonó #Balkan #upbeat #party #WOMEX01

We have been in love with Besh o Drom’s unadulterated energy for 20 years. Masterfully creating a contemporary world music party from a variety of folk music influences, they keep you dancing till dawn. The musical munitions of this band, whose members live in three different countries are inexhaustible. ● ► // +3630 645 8510


Borbély-Dresch Quartet #ethnojazz #virtuoso #saxophone #clarinet

“This joint project featuring Hungary’s top ethno jazz reed players has created a new standard that’s hard to fit into the usual box of definitions. The quartet creates a musical experience characterised by unbound melodic flavours and rich emotion with elements taken from jazz as well as the Carpathian basin’s folk music motifs.” Fidelio Magazine ● ► // +3630 382 0356


Branka Trio

#Fonó #Balkan #female #vocal

A vibrant young Hungarian-Serbian folk singer and musician, Branka Básits completed her folk music studies at the Hungarian Academy of Music. Her passion for Balkan traditions comes alive on stage with the help of an accordion player and jazz guitarist, creating new dimensions of world music. ► // +3620 501 4650

Canarro #ethnojazz

The band skilfully fuses the gypsy jazz style of Django Reinhardt, also known as manouche swing, with turnof-the-century Budapest coffee house melodies, a pinch of Paris, the improvisational freedom of jazz and a melange of world music styles for a wholly original musical experience. ● ► // +3630 485 8554



#MoroccoHungary #gembri #gnawa

Chalaban was formed in Budapest by Moroccan musician Said Tichiti. The band creates a dynamic musical fusion from Morroccan roots with Central European, Balkan and Gypsy styles. Celebrating 20 years in 2020 the band has released six albums to date and frequently tours Europe and beyond. â—? â–ş



#cimbalom #jazz #virtuoso #duo #WOMEX15

Cimbalomduo is a meeting of two master cimbalom players Kálmán Balogh and Miklós Lukács who, over the past few decades in their separate careers, have elevated the global profile of this emblematic Hungarian instrument. Together they create a whole new level of virtuosity by combining their cross-genre experiences and shared knowledge of Hungarian traditional music. ● ► // +3670 538 8975



#HHH #acapella #female #WOMEX20

A cappella trio Dalinda sings stories about the journey of womanhood through the medium of traditional and modern sounds. Their three voices interwoven electrify the audience with uplifting feminine energy. “Dalinda is the optimistic future of Hungarian folk singing, they not only possess folklore knowledge, but they bring depth to it, enabling them to share their love of folk songs with a wider audience.” (Balázs Weyer) ● ►


Dresch String Quartet

#Fonรณ #instrumental #ethnojazz #virtuoso #WOMEX11

The name Mihรกly Dresch is legendary. He creates a unique musical world by blending jazz and Hungarian folk music. In this newest formation, however, the other members are young, virtuoso folk musicians instead of jazz musicians. Their music is unconfined and goes beyond the boundaries of musical genres. โ บ //+3630 2206352


Edina ‘Mókus’ Szirtes #female #violin #loop #solo #WOMEX18

A true force of nature, Edina’s effortless and energetic blend of her innate talent and classical music background with powerful emotion and the rich diversity of world music creates a stunning original sound. Her unstoppable exploration of eradicating boundaries between musical genres has led to a prolific and award-winning output. ● ►



#dancehouse #stringband #Transylvania

The Erdőfű band was founded by well-known figures on the Hungarian folk “dance house” scene to give a comprehensive picture of the diversity and idiosyncrasies of string folk music in the Carpathian Basin while focusing on the particularities of given regions. Their mission is to create an authentic folk music experience by sharing this extensive knowledge. ● ► // +360 485 8554

The Esszencia (Essence) #dancehouse #stringband #Transylvania

Ancient and modern, female and male, cheerful and melancholy, traditional and progressive… This is The Essence. The members of this band are all well-established on the Hungarian music scene and together they play a joyous mix of authentic folk, jazz and classical music creating a unique world music sound. ● ► // +3620 454 0407


Fanfara Complexa #Transylvania #upbeat

They may look like your typical folk and world music ensemble, but the members of Fanfara Complexa have a secret plan to create a global phenomenon from the articulation technique unique to Moldavian brass players. And when they’re in a really good mood they can blow you away like a full-on Balkan brass band. ● ►

Félix Lajkó

#Fonó #violin #virtuoso #instrumental #WOMEX12

The unique music of this violin virtuoso and composer from Voivodina is captivating whether he’s solo, in a band, or collaborating, for example, with VOLOSI. He has composed music for film and ballet, has led world music charts, as well as Songlines magazine’s ‘Top of the World’ list, and has received both the Hungarian and Polish Fonogram awards. ● ► // +3630 485 8554


Gipsy Cimbalom Band

#cimbalom #Roma #Gypsy #upbeat #WOMEX08

Kalman Balogh formed this band of six virtuosos in 1993 as an experiment in fusing genres like gypsy music, jazz, flamenco, swing, klezmer and ragtime. The end result is a uniquely diverse and universal sound conducive to extraordinary concert experiences. â—? â–ş // +3670 538 8975


Guessous Meshi

#MoroccoTurkeyIndiaHungary #cinematographic #female

With a strong personal mission to help those less fortunate, this Hungarian-Moroccan singer strives to bridge cultures and raise awareness through her music. She graduated from and taught at the Liszt Academy and has released three albums featuring songs in ten languages, all the while performing around the world from the USA to India. Her latest album ‘Transformation’ is due to be released in November 2020. ● ►


Helga Debreczeni-Kiss #HHH #zither #female

Helga Debreczeni-Kiss’ virtuosic performances on the zither have captivated audiences and fellow folk musicians alike. She is passionate about traditional zither music from various Hungarian regions and hopes to inspire others to fall in love with it. She also explores its uses in classical music, jazz, and blues. ● ►

István Pál “Szalonna” and his Band #stringband #violin #virtuoso #WOMEX15

Szalonna and his fellow musicians play folk music from all territories with a deep knowledge, ease and authenticity. Alongside the violins, the cimbalom and wind instruments also play leading roles accompanied by a robust bass section. Their lively, virtuoso performances have earned them a large fan base, both in Hungary and abroad. ● ► // +3620 434 3658


Júlia Kubinyi

#Fonó #vocal #female #folk

Her deeply resonating voice and vocal embellishments earned her Hungary’s ‘Junior Prima’ prize and the title ‘Young Master of Folk Arts’. Júlia performs solos, as well as with bands and folk dance groups. On her album entitled ‘Rustico’ she collaborated with wind instrument player Balázs Szokolay Dongó and cimbalom player Ferenc Zimber. ● ► // +3630 645 8510


#HHH #dancehouse #stringband

In recent years the band has devoted their attention to acquiring a deeper understanding of the traditional music of the Carpathian Basin, primarily Transylvania, through stylistically authentic interpretations. They have built up their concert repertoire and also released a WMCE listed album in 2018 titled ‘Forgatós’ which represents the unique beauty of folk music from these regions. ● ►


Melinda Balogh

#Fonó #female #Roma #Gypsy #Transylvania

Young folk singer Melinda Balogh burst onto the scene with her first album ‘Napkerék’ earning her much deserved praise. On the album she applies her unique voice and emotion to Transylvanian Gypsy folk music. She also performs regularly with the improvised folklore theatre group ‘BaHorKa’. ► //+3630 485 8554



#GreeceHungary #ballads #violin #santur #cinematographic

Can you imagine the vibe of the santouri - the ravishing dulcimer of Greece -, the singing soul of the violin, and a rambunctious rhythm section all making music together? This is Meybahar! A musical fusion formed from the cultures of the Aegean Sea and Asia Minor, with the spirit of India, and the power of a rock band! â—? â–ş // +3630 341 5416


Mónika Lakatos and the Gypsy Voices #female #Roma #Gypsy #vocal #upbeat #family #band #pioneers #WOMEX15

Mónika Lakatos is an outstanding performer of authentic Olah Gypsy folk music, which she sings with an overwhelming intensity and profound empathy. Accompanied by musicians on traditional instruments, her voice projects the traditions of an ethnic community and the fates of individual people. ● ►



#Fonó #WomexArtistAward #dancehouse #stringband #pioneers

For more than four decades Muzsikás has been present on the international world music scene and has performed all over the globe. They were instrumental in getting Hungarian folk music global recognition. In 2008 Muzsikás became the first European band to receive the WOMEX Award for World Music. ● ► // +3620 501 4650


#female #acappella

Napfonat, an a cappella group formed in 2018 by five young women, braids harmonies, rhythms, mindfulness and the subtle depth of womanhood with traditional folk songs from various backgrounds to create rich polyphonic arrangements. Their first album is due to be released in September 2020. ● ►



#instrumental #duo #accordion #cello #cinematographic #Jewish

Minimal tango from New York to Odessa, EasternEuropean chanson, a fusion of French, Jewish, Argentinian, Balkan and circus music peppered with experimental, contemporary and improvised elements: Adam and Endre don’t mess around. They take their audience off the beaten path, while trying to surprise each other every step of the way. ● ►


Oláh Gipsy Beats #Roma #Gypsy #upbeat

Comprised of members from the top Roma bands in Hungary, their music is a powerful blend of archaic songs from small Roma villages and modern classics from the big city, with a good dash of world music in the mix. Their strikingly rich vocals are accompanied by traditional Roma and Balkan instruments always guaranteeing passionately festive performances. ● ► // +3630 474 0044


Ötödik Évszak (Cinquième Saison) #Fonó #folk #chanson #stringband #female #vocal

Sándor ’Sündi’ Csoóri Jr., a prominent figure in the younger generation of Hungarian folk musicians, formed this group with friends including some excellent string players, a cimbalom player and French-Hungarian singer Isabella Caussanel to create exceptional and uplifting music. ● // +3630 220 6352

Parno Graszt

#Roma #Gypsy #percussion #vocal #family #band #WOMEX09

Known for their exuberant live performances where audience and band become one, Parno Graszt has made their vibrant mark on the global world music scene. Songlines Magazine called them “The Source of Gypsy Music”, the BBC made a documentary about them and they’re regulars on the World Music Charts Europe list. ● ► // +3630 959 3039


Pengetős (Plunking) Trio #HHH #zither #female

This trio’s music is a meeting of long-lost cousins the zither, the alt and cello tambura, and the cobza, and they have a lot to discuss. These instruments are related to each other and are well-known individually, however, the trio’s sound is absolutely unique thanks to the previously unknown consonance of these three instruments. ● ►


#Roma #Gypsy #percussion #female #vocal #WOMEX15

Romengo performs traditional Hungarian Olah Gypsy folk music featuring songs learned from their parents and original songs, along with a variety of unique instruments. Most of the members learned to play music at the same time they learned to speak. Romengo has performed at more than 25 European festivals and in 2019 they celebrated their 15th anniversary. Both of their albums made it into the top 10 albums of World Music Charts Europe. ● ► // +3670 360 1742



#tamboura #virtuoso #Balkan #family #band #WOMEX14

This band of brothers use their signature instruments, Hungarian-Serbian tamburas, to brilliantly combine sparkling virtuosity, a respect for tradition and enthusiastic innovation to create a sound that is energetic and upbeat, but delicate at the same time. ● ► // Andries van Wieren



#HHH #csango #Transylvania

Csángó music is known as the “heavy metal of folk music” and Tázló brings this raucous energy to their folk dance parties. Their dynamic concerts also include captivating ballads and wistful love songs. Following 25 years of collecting, researching and performing, Tázló builds upon the melodies freely, creating their own unique adaptations. ● ►


Terra Profonda

#Fonó #indie #folk #blues #English #lyrics

By their own definition Terra Profonda plays ’shamanistic folk blues’. Front man Vincenzo Lo Buglio draws from many sources building upon his characteristic voice and visionary lyrics. They performed at the Eurosonic Festival in 2018 and toured as the opening band for Ripoff Raskolnikov. ● ► // +3630 485 8554

The Mabon Dawud Republic #afrobeat

Hungary’s first Afrobeat band initially got together to perform at Felabration Budapest 2017, a celebration of the life and music of Nigerian Afrobeat musician, composer and human rights activist Fela Kuti. Since then they’ve come into their own with a more sophisticated sound and original songs, but still rooted in the traditions of West-African music. ● ● ●


Török Tilla Folk Experience #female #vocal #folk

Playing music since childhood, multi-instrumentalist folk singer Tilla Török’s band, which includes her siblings, creates a unique musical synergy that interweaves Hungarian folk music elements with the ancient music of the Eurasian Steppe. ● ► // +3670 320 0976

Várkonyi Csibészek #Roma #Gypsy #children #socialproject

Guided and supported by the volunteer musicians and teachers of the Common Vibe foundation, the Várkonyi Csibészek are a group of underprivileged Roma youths from one of the poorest areas in Hungary. Since 2017 the band has steadily gained local and global recognition through touring and YouTube for their raw and inspirational talent. ● ►


Veronika Harcsa Bálint Gyémánt Quartet #female #vocal #jazz

Colourful, narrative melodies, traditional Eastern European rhythms and contemporary jazz elements fuse into a dynamic rich sound through Veronika’s mesmerizing voice, Bálint’s virtuoso guitar playing and a top notch Belgian rhythm section, making this quartet genuinely Pan-European. ● ► // +3670 398 9216



#tamboura #virtuoso #Balkan #pioneers

Formed in 1974 during the early days of the Hungarian folk dance revival movement, the band’s repertoire is based not only on prominent researcher’s materials, but on their own folk music collections in the field. They are heavily influenced by Southern Slav folk music of Hungary, but also by the diverse music of the Carpathian Basin as a whole. ● ► // +36 30 382 0356



#Jewish #harp #instrumental #virtuoso

With the Jew’s harp as the focal point, Zoord plays high energy, shamanic dance music inspired by traditional Transylvanian motifs, ethno and organic trance, with a trace of electronic, and accompanied by heavy drums and emotive violin. They’ve appeared on many a world music stage at major European festivals and have toured Central Asia, as well as Japan. ● ► // +48 500 184 645

Zűrös Banda #folk #female #vocal

Playing Hungarian and Balkan music without borders, Zűrös Banda is made up of well-established musicians from the Hungarian folk and world music scene. Their fresh approach combines authentic folk music melodies (Hungarian, Serbian, Macedonian and Bulgarian) with the modern sound of their rhythm section to create heartfelt ballads as well as vibrant dance music. ● ►



MÓNIKA LAKATOS Mónika Lakatos is a world-renowned figure of Olah Romani culture and a shining star on the international world music scene. As the first singer of Gypsy heritage to ever receive the prestigious WOMEX Artist Award, Mónika is a true ambassador of Hungarian Gypsy music heritage. Mónika gained international recognition as the lead singer of Romengo and as part of the duo with husband Mihály “Mazsi” Rostás. Her debut solo album, Romanimo, features heartbreaking ‘hallgato’ (slow-style) songs and made it to the top 5 albums of World Music Charts Europe. Her most recent band, Gipsy Voices, shows off the fast-paced, pulsating energy of Olah Romani music. A primal rhythm and the thrilling harmony of center-stage vocals make Gipsy Voices the most captivating modern Olah Romani formation.


Travel support for Hungarian musicians - collaborate with us! The Halmos Bela Programme has been helping to cover travel costs for Hungarian folk musicians performing abroad since 2017. Browse through our portfolio featuring over 100 musicians and if you would to like sponsor one of these Hungarian folk bands or folk musicians to perform at your festival or musical event then get in touch: The Halmos Bela Programme will help to partially fund travel costs for these artists.


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