Rabnota – Nem arrol hajnallik (Prisoner’s Song – The Light Does Not Appear)
This Hungarian group features Márta Sebestyén (vocals/recorder), Sándor Csoóri (bagpipes/hurdy-gurdy/viola/vocals), Mihaly Sipos (violin/zither/vocals), Péter Eri (bouzouki/turkish horn/cello/viola/vocals) and Dániel Hamar (bass/hurdy-gurdy/vocals).
Muzsikás (pronounced ‘mu-zhi-kash’) specializes in traditional music from the Transylvania region of their country. Prior to 1987 Sebestyén had performed in the UK with a band called Mosaic. While still young, Sebestyén had heard her mother singing folk songs, so the interest in folk music passed on. Having won a competition at the age of 13, she was awarded a record player, which enabled her to listen to a wider sphere of music. The style of music Muzsikás play is often patronizingly called ‘gypsy music’, but it is far more than just a tourist attraction. Changing from a high-speed dance one minute, to a slow and melancholy air, the music covers a whole range of emotions and tempos. Péter Eri had previously played with a group called Sebo, where he learned much about the background to folk music. The original Muzsikás was a trio comprising Sipos, Hamar and Csoóri. Eri joined them in 1978 after leaving Sebo. They recorded Muzsikas Ketto in Holland, but were not satisfied with the singer who had joined on lead vocals, so they asked Sebestyén to join them in 1979. A number of earlier recordings for the state-run label Hungaroton, are no longer available, but with the growing interest in Eastern European folk music, the possibility of re-releases seems likely. Sebestyén is also a celebrated solo artist.