"Szászcsávás is a small village located in the Kis-Küküllő River valley of Transylvania, in Romania. The majority of the village's 900 inhabitants are Hungarians, with 20% Gypsies. This CD presents selections from the traditional repertoire of this village's Gypsy musicians. Szászcsávás holds a unique place in Hungarian music history. Whereas Hungarian folk singing is always in unison, thisis perhaps the only village where polyphonic singing is found.
It is a folklorized form of the polyphonic religious singing style which was introduced by protestant theologians at the end of the eighteenth century, upon returning from university in western Europe. According to the researchers, the Szászcsávás' choral tradition can he traced back to the Basel school, on the basis of the number of parts and elements of composition. An active five part chorus still exists in the village today. Every Hungarian sings; the parts are passed down through the family, from father to son. In addition to performances by the chorus, the people of the village sing in parts during church services, at weddings, at halls and other gatherings. At such celebrations, older popular Hungarian art songs generally dominate, but other popular folksy-songs (known in Hungarian as nota), traditionalfolk songs and the traditional songs which accompany dancing are also sung in parts. Traditionally in Transylvania, the Gypsies - and before WW II also the Jews - played the instrumental music at weddings and other celebrations. For many generations the Gypsy musicians from Szászcsávás have been famous throughout the region. Though they are not members of the choir, they know the songs and the style of singing. The people of Szászcsávás are a more musically demanding audience than the average, who don't tolerate weak musicians. The Gypsies live on a street on the edge of what is by Transylvanian standards a fairly well off village. They make their living by doing seasonal agricultural work and making bricks."

01. Overture" - csárdás 3:11
02. Székely verbunk 2:56
03. Szegényes 1:27
04. Vénes 2:04
05. Sűrű verbunk 2:29
06. Szaggató verbunk 1:22
08. The Szászcsávás Gypsy March 1:52
09. New style csárdás and szökő 7:41
10. Gypsy tunes: lament, table song and jumping dance 5:49
11. Scat csárdás and szökő 1:31
12. Csárdás and szökő to live dancing 4:47
13. Mahala 3:11
14. New style Hungarian songs: lament, csárdás and szökő 9:2
15. Gypsy csárdás and szökő to live dancing 5:14
16. "Rákóczi March" 1:44
17. Csárdás and szökő in the Hungarian "Paprikash" restaurant in Chicago

Jámbor István 'Dumnezu' (1951) - first fiddle, voice
Mezei Ferenc 'Csángáló' (1951) - kontra, primkontra, dance
Csányi Mátyás 'Mutis' (1953) - bass, dance
Mezei Levente 'Leves' (1969) - fiddle, dance
Csányi Sándor 'Cilika' (1959) - fiddle
Jámbor Ferenc 'Tocsila' (1970) - kontra, dance, fiddle

Recorded live in Chicago USA on June 12th 1998



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