newspaper here: polish 'Pismo Folkowe'  6/2021 - No 157.

'Rozniecamy żar w ludzkich sercach - Festiwal Csángó' .

On the second Csángó Festival a new band has been born: Żar

      This event is a good example for how the ’táncház’ movement is progressing, thus the traditional folk culture: community, connection and friendship are the things which are getting realized - we dance together, play music together - also we exchange the knowledge of dances, music with each other.

This Festival like a very young tree started to grow fast

      On the very last night of this five day long tour there was also a music teaching workshop in Torun˙ (Domek Tilii w rezerwacie, day of festival: 7.11.2021.). The atmosphere was well prepared for those people too who were new at the ‘csángó táncház’  because of the dancing course the day before (Wejściówka, Plac Teatralny, day of festival: 6.11.), so it was possible for the newcomers to meet this culture on a higher level, the culture of the old ‘csángó-hungarians” of the East-Carpathians. This event had more to give, we were able to play together with polish musicians and started supporting happy dancers with our music for their dancing feet, all in all creating a one time (ad hoc) folk music formation of international origins: Kapela Żar[1]. There is a moral in this happening for the dancing folk: The beginner soloist's or band's concert for a communal dancing merriness is in itself better than any other kind of replayed recorded music or useage of jukebox for this purpose.

More things which we can show for people who are interested in ’táncház’ and the tradition of village culture

      Friendly, humane preparations of the dancing place: Nowadays on our side of the world in Center Europe the community gathering’s spaces are not so lively, less welcoming. Little modifications should be enough to bring positive changes to make them more livable, to make them closer to one’s heart. We fade the lights, change the LEDs to classical bulbs, then we put chairs around the dancing spot to make it more comfortable, we find places for tables with litten candles on them. The big ballet-mirrors should be covered with nice clothes, the width of the area can be controlled by curtains and by arranging the chairs. We did exactly the same in a place called Incubator in Gdansk (Pomorski Inkubator Kultury, day of festival: 5.11.), on the other hand we only needed to change the LEDs lighting to our warmer incandescent lamps in the club where we were one more day before (Klub Paszczalwa, day of festival: 4. 11.), a friendly place with live fire in the wall. Another example, last year we were in Warsaw, archeological village or we can say skanzen (Wioska Żywej Archeologii, 4.10.2020.), where we went to play music in an actual jurt tent (video footage: W Kręgu - Fundacja Aeris Futuro). Anyway, the best option is when we are close to nature. This way of dancing depends on the weather circumstances and it bears the harshness of stepping on the soil, not on wooden firmament. (People was agile enough in the old times to dance on the grass too.)

      Without soundsystem: Villages used to hold balls of from one hundred to four hundred people, usually with a bigger band if for the larger quantity. If there is electronically generated loud music, then it is indeed possible to get more and more alienated from each other as a person of a gathering, not to mention the impossibility to sing in this kind of environment, also the cooperation of the dancers is suppressed. The once best ‘táncház’ in Budapest, ‘Kalamajka’, didn't need any amplifying (see own recording[2]). We managed to keep ourselves to our remembered experience, we were the only one band without electric help on the Mazurki Festival during the first COVID restrictions and made our ‘táncház’ for a hundred guests. (Wszystkie Mazurki Świata[3], 3. 10. 2020.)

      We don't need a huge band: The atmosphere is not dependent on the number of musicians. It is common for the village dances to only use one flute player, or just one violinist, bag-pipe player, hurdy-gurdy. In the same time in ‘Gyimes’, another part of the Land of ‘csángó’s, only two musicians was the traditional way, violin and ‘gardon’[4] , and mostly husband and wife for economical or financial reasons. In Moldva, the main ‘csángó’ region, which we play music from, the common was violin and ‘koboz’[5] duet. This pair of musicians needed extraordinary technique and a little bit of born expertise too. We also consist of two players in our band and can still serve with many folk dialect styles from our repertoire: dance music from Moldva, Gyimes and Transylvania.

      To be close to the musician: The dancers gather around very close to the band when they dance, so the feel becomes entirely different, also as a group and also the way music can be heard. The connection with the band deepens. In the Transylvanian folk music style (consisting of violin, special viola and double-bass or cello) it was the most common for the triplet to be shoulder to shoulder to each other. This kind of village antiquity functions properly and best as said.

      Also the dancers should feel each other as close as possible: In closed rooms the golden middle is if there is just enough space to move. Either in the open or under shelter, like a magnet every dancer comes closer and closer to the music band. This was the case in the club of Krakkow, Club Strefa (day of festival: 3. 11. 2021.), the measurement of the place was just fine and friendly, with also the participating number of twenty, thirty guests around.

      The most honest and truest kind of happiness is when you dance to your own singing: In the past very often people only danced to their own singing. We regularly show it to others as a band, we have to do this, because we have only two members: we also play music and teach dances at the same time. We also teach Hungarian songs a very little and so called shouting, chanted verses to music. Sometimes the dancers themselves help us with their own singing during the dance! It happened here in Poland that for our music they sang polish lyrics on it, that was kind of spontaneous: it was a real ball.

      Traditional method of music playing: We tune our instruments on a lower pitch (in between 415 Hertz and 432 Hertz for sound ‘A’), and we also try to use the so called just intonation - natural scale[6],  in our music making (in opposite to the ‘Equal temperament’[7] one), we stay at an older rhythm of old times, not as light speed as the fast industrial life nowadays would expect from us, this also means you can not find the so popular way of growing speed to the maximum during a note. The dances are not shrinked to be more digestible to a short period of time, as the trend of living would feel that normal, we give time for the experience of the dance to flourish. Live music awaits as you enter the place, and we don't make long resting times in between two dances.


Intense learning

      A band who plays ‘csángó’ music and teaches their dances goes only a couple of times in a year to one of the polish towns each. We have to count the precious hours when we teach not for long, because it will have to be enough for the rest of the whole night party, we can only hope people will get a hang of it until the end. Our goal is for the dances to be enjoyable and full of deep emotions. This kind of fast teaching makes a toll on the guests: their concentration is needed not less than for three hours, their will and patience in essence. This was rather different in the past, when children saw the dances with their eyes and drank it like mother's milk, the little man and woman could feel, spy on the dances, try it out, learn from everybody around, from birth to adulthood. This whole life of dancing-mother language is packed in this short amount of learning hours. Knowledge of the (traditional polish) dances makes it easier for the participants.

The difference between dances and circle dances

      ‘Csángó’ circle dances needs another kind of firmness holding each other, side by side. The teamwork in it has differences in it's main level to the known pair dances or classical noble dances. Nowadays in Europe usually circle dances are unknown, that is the reason why we make it important for ourselves to put it more in the center of attention and teach these dances as we are able. We wrote a little article in the polish folk magazine, Pismo Folkowe, in it's May edition in 2020, just about this topic, the importance of circle dances: moving together, sharing life with each other, connecting with our minds, etc. (Tańce w kręgu ‘csángó’, wzmacniająca siła prawdy i wspólnoty - Festiwal kultury ‘csángó’)

Get to love dancing - we give our knowledge and enthusiasm for this cause

      To love ‘csángó’ circle dances it is essential to participate in a special occasion, on with a determining, unforgettable good experience, personally felt but with shared feelings as a group. First somebody needs a good company of great people. We can only give to this experience what we have, and we do try to give it: organizing the place of dancing, moving furniture, arranging the type of lamps, lighting, we give our music from our heart, the somewhat knowledge of the dances, teach whatever is needed, we try everything to make somebody use his or her intuition, helping him or her understanding the depth of dancing. We also hope this, that we can give a good impression, an impulse to the local communities found here, the national ‘táncház’-movement of Poland a little friendly push of ours, whising them strength, wishing a good trip for their never ending learning of dances and music, wishing for everybody to start to love what is precious in folk culture. And we also wish for new and new ensembles to form in every region, locally. For this reason we play with bands from Poland. We try to advance in sharing our experience of ‘táncház’, our understanding which we got to gather as knowledge in our traveling years: live culture in Transylvanian and Moldva (’Szeret’ Valley, area Bákó/ Bacău) villages still found in our lifetimes, when we were there, a very archaic and good way of living ones. life.

What do we bring back home with us from Poland to Hungary?

      The polish dancers have so much life and love for dance in them which we only experienced in Hungary in the end of the nineties, when it was common everywhere. At home boredom is starting to spread, run amok, but it is refreshing to see that not yet here in Poland: we feel happy for the good atmosphere here, the true joy of the dancers, everybody’s thankfulness for both polish and ‘csángó’ dances.

      We were in a very, very small cottage, a room of fifteen square meters in Warsaw with a small and nice little garden (Ambassada, next to Chata Numinosum, 7.8.2021.), which had a so good feel to it, the best was it's live party of singing and dancing polish folk dances to a band, it was comparable to the most remembered events of our ‘táncház’ life in Transylvania, Moldva or in rare and small places of Budapest.

      It also makes us happy to see that the ‘táncház’ movement[8] is alive in this country: people search for still available knowledge of traditional dances, for old village musicians, and these masters of folk music get their well deserved praise and are kept in great honor and respect, also big gatherings are made regularly for the bands of the ‘táncház’ movement here.

      It was joyful for our hearts to meet and play music with our good friends again, they are: Paweł Iwan - Kapela Ozimkiewicza (cimbal); Jakub Trojanek (koboz); Olena Yeremenko (violin);  Dominik Wóltański – Agregandado (violin).

      It was especially good, necessary, that no restrictions or banishments were in order at the time we were here, everybody could gather if wanted, because we wouldn't have come otherwise if it would have been forbidden or if it would have been available but only for half of the people to participate according to regulations. It is good that the society seems more peaceful here, the life more flexible.

      Another seemingly small but important good thing here what we bring back home was the absence of the not so called but in reality should be called, drugs like cigarette and alcohol, it was so modestly used and not in the center of dances, and the dancing people all had their sanity and coordination. Our polish friends in these folk parties could enjoy themselves in a cultural way but with full of energy.

      Lastly but not least, we thank everybody the renewing, always warm sheltering of us vagabonds, sharing the love of their personal space, their home with us again and again: namely the hosts in Cracow, Gdansk, Torun. We give our special thanks to the organizers in every region, those who invited us, and the never stopping, glad, fast stepping dancers.

Sámsondi Kiss Gergely, Gyulai Farkas

‘Szépszerével’ band (szépszeré, Budapest

2021. November    


[1] Kapela Żar founded in Torun 7.11.2021., Wojtek and Paulina from Torun, Farkas and Gergő from Budapest

[2] http://szépszeré

[3] http://szépszeré

[4] gardon: type of cello, but being hit to play on it with a stick

[5] koboz: a lute like instrument for mainly rhythm functions in dancing occasions