Thursday, April 8, 2010

Music from the Carpathian Mountains

This CD, which I picked up this morning to listen to while I was working, is quite curious. On the cover it is called, "Pan Pipe Songs and Dances From Transylvania (The Land of Dracula) and Other Mysterious Regions," but in iTunes it is called "Greetings from Hungaria Part 1 - Traditionals." I don't where the country of "Hungaria" is, and the liner notes say:

Transylvania is legendary as the home of the vampire Count Dracula, based on the exploits of a Romanian noble, Vlad the Impaler. But the mythical ghouls have been the least of the problems endured by this Eastern European region, which was invaded by barbarian tribes, Hungarians, Mongols, Turks, Hapsburgs, and Soviets.

The region known as Transylvania sweeps southeastward from the present-day Hungarian border to central Romania. It is bounded on three sides by mountains. The first record of its mane [sic], which means "beyond the forest," appears in documents from the 12th century. Because it is a fertile area and was crossed by important trade routes, rulers of many lands wanted to control Transylvania.

I don't know as much as I'd like to about the history of this region, but the music sounds very much like Hungarian folk music, or at least it would if there were only the hurdy-gurdies, fiddles, hammer dulcimers, and vocals without the bagpipes. The track titles are in Hungarian:

1. Szigetközi Dudanóták (Pipe Tunes of Szigetkoz) [2:15]
2. Zörög a Cidrus (The Citruswood Is Whispering) [1:32]
3. Bonchidai (Slow Lad's Dance) [3:21]
4. Eleki Román Táncdallamok (Dance Tunes of Elek) [3:21]
5. Dráva Menti Horváth Népdalok (Folk Songs of Drava Valley) [3:19]
6. Széki Keserves (Lament of Szek) [2:09]
7. Szépkenyerúszentmártoni Köszöntó (Greeting Song) [1:52]
8. Amerikás Dal (Hungarian Song from the American Emigration) [3:42]
9. Lassú Csárdás és Bertóké Verbunk (Slow Csardas and Bertok's Dance) [2:46]
10. Udvarhelyszéki Dalok (Songs of Transylvania) [3:57]
11. Széki Verbunk (Szek Dance) [1:30]
12. Bánat, Bánat, de Bánatos Vagyok (Sorrow, Sorrow, I Am Sorrowful) [1:53]
13. Lónal Keserves (Lament of Lona) [3:19]
14. észak-mezóségi Tánczene (Dance Music of Northern Transylvania) [3:42]
15. En Az úton (On My Way) [2:01]
16. Székelyföldi Táncok (Dances of Szekely) [3:04]
17. Azért Vagyok Lenvirág (I Am a Flax Flower) [0:24]

In spite of its incredibly silly title, the music is fabulous, like Hungarian folk music.

1 comment:

Andrea Gerak said...

Hi, "Hungaria" is a name for Hungary.

You are right, these are clearly Hungarian folk music pieces (except for a Romanian and a Croatian one).

From different parts of old Hungary, not only Transylvania, but Slovakia etc.

For me, it sounds like somebody selected (shall I dare to say: stole?) a song from this album, another one from that one and put them together randomly... I heard all of these tracks from other, quite well known CDs...

Greetz from the Hungarian Folk Music Blog :-)