2019 Performers

2019 Program

Special Guest Performer András Berecz, Hungary

Folk singer, winner of the prestigious Kossuth Award, and storyteller, folktale collector and performer.

He was born in Budapest in 1957. He learnt his first songs from his mother, daughter of Gábor Tanka of Kunhegyes, a famous dancer, singer, jester and storyteller in the Great Hungarian Plain. As a freelance singer and storyteller, he has been collecting songs, stories and jests in Transylvania, Moldavia, Upper Hungary (now Slovakia), and various regions of present day Hungary for over 25 years now. The songs and stories dearest to his heart are visions and hallucinations of someone deeply in love, someone looking for a home in the world. He has released several CDs, frequently appears on radio and TV in Europe, the USA and Canada, has taught Hungarian folk music at various locations in Transylvania and Hungary, at York University, Toronto. With the help of professional translators, he has entertained Canadian, Estonian, French and Dutch audiences. He also does literary translations, and published several books. He is a member of the band Egyszólam (Unison). He has received a number of awards in recognition of his work.

István Berecz, Hungary

As the son of the world famous Hungarian folk singer and storyteller András Berecz, István’s interests towards Hungarian folklore are grounded in his early childhood. He improved his folk dance skills in various dance ensembles, under the patronage of the best old dance masters from the Carpathian Basin’s remote regions, where folk traditions are still alive. He won the Golden Spur award – the highest acknowledgement for Hungarian folk dancers – three times, thus becoming a Gold Spurer for life. He was chosen as “Hungary’s best male folk dancer” in 2009. He won the first season of the “Fölszállott a Páva” Hungarian folk talent show in the solo dancer category in 2012, and was later invited to be on the judge panel. He was delegated to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival of Washington DC in 2013. Currently he is the folk art director of the “Womex Top Label”-awarded Fonó Music Hall. He has also worked as a choreographer for the National Theatre.

Forgatós Dance Ensemble, Seattle

Seattle’s Forgatós Dance Ensemble, established in 2017 is a multi-generational amateur dance group which performs traditional improvisational folk dances from the Hungarian-speaking regions of the Carpathian basin. It has a kids group and an adult group.

Directed by Flóra Carlile-Kovács and Tibor Horvath, it is sponsored by the Hungarian-American Association of Washington, and is the continuation of the Kisbetyárok Hungarian Family Dancers founded by Sue Isley in 1984.

Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble, San Francisco Bay Area

The Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble is a performing group based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to promote and present traditional Hungarian folk dances and to preserve the history of Hungarian folk culture in all its forms.

The dance group has been celebrating and showcasing Hungarian folk culture in the Bay Area since 1977 through presentations to the Hungarian community and the general public.

The Ensemble consists of twenty to forty adults ranging from age 14 and up. Most are of Hungarian heritage, although membership has never been limited to those with Hungarian backgrounds. The dancers receive their training in the Ensemble as well as from guest teachers and at workshops statewide. The community served by Eszterlánc is vast, as appearances include international festivals, social events, patriotic holidays, and ethnic events. The Hungarian community alone, the group’s most supportive audience, numbers in the tens of thousands in California.

Mazsola Hungarian Children’s Folkdance Ensemble, SF Bay Area

Mazsola Hungarian Children’s Folkdance Ensemble was founded in 2007 in Hayward, CA.

The ensemble’s mission is to enrich the lives of children from all ethnic backgrounds by introducing them to Hungarian folk culture through dance, music, and folklore with the goal of preserving and passing on the Hungarian heritage.

László Tihanyi

László Tihanyi is a native of Hungary and has resided in Oakland, California since September 2013.

Since his arrival, László has been the Assistant Artistic Director and Principal Dancer of Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Dance Ensemble.

His background as an amateur Hungarian folk dancer and dance teacher has led the group to invite him from Hungary for leadership and teaching roles in the United States.

László received his Bachelor of Science in Hungarian folk dancing and folk dance coaching from the Dance Academy Budapest, Hungary.

Forrás Hungarian Folk Band from Vancouver, Canada

Forrás Banda (pronounced: FOUR-rahsh BUN-duh) was formed in 1997. Since then it has grown to become a driving force in the Hungarian folk scene in North America. The ensemble plays traditional village music from Central Europe and its members have regularly studied with master musicians in Hungary and Transylvania.

Forrás Banda’s performances are both entertaining and educational as the players present the traditional lifestyle and work of the peasant musician. They have a broad repertoire accompanying dance troops, presenting musical concerts and the traditional Táncház (Hungarian folk dance parties).

Forrás Banda prides itself in the authenticity of its music. Their work focuses on the acquisition, preservation and presentation of their Hungarian musical heritage. Their repertoire also includes music of Romanian and Romani origin but particularly focuses on music from Transylvania. They play stringed instruments such as violin, a modified viola called the kontra and double bass.

Forrás Banda also plays more unique instruments such as the cimbalom (hammered dulcimer), furulya (shepherd’s flutes), duda (bagpipes), ütőgardon (percussive cello), tapán (moldavian drum), koboz (moldavian lute) and tambura (tamburica).

Residing in Vancouver and Seattle the band performs regularly entertaining audiences across Canada and the US.

Silentium Valley Band

The Silentium Valley Band was formed by friends from the San Francisco Bay Area to break the silence and voice their emotions.
The Silentium Valley Band will perform unplugged  the best Hungarian pop and rock songs ranging from the 1980s to the most recent hits.

Diana Pray – Soprano

Hungarian-American soprano Diana Pray specializes in early, Baroque, and modern music, making her Bay Area singing career with companies including the American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, SF Renaissance Voices, Volti, and sfSound.

She is delighted to perform at the reborn Hungarian Heritage Festival in each of its seven wonderful years. Diana thanks the Festival’s organizers and all Bay Area Hungarian groups and performers for countless opportunities to live her heritage through music.

Eva Gergely

Eva is a native of Hungary and has resided in San Francisco Bay Area since January 2018.

Eva is an artist, singer, designer and lace maker, exhibiting at prestigious exhibitions. Eva Gergely brings lace making and beaded necklace techniques into the 21st century, when she combines traditional motifs, symbols and techniques of Hungarian folk culture with modern elements, focusing once again on contemporary fashion in wearable and decorative elements. She has been invited as a beaded necklace designer to the San Francisco Sustainble Fashion Week International. Eva regularly instructs bobbing lace for beginners as well as for advanced students in Berkeley and in Cupertino. She designed and made herself the „Szatmári” attire of the Hungarian folk dance group Eszterlánc.

More of Eva can be seen on Youtube (in Hungarian): https://youtu.be/oc9f-BZkQQc

Bobbin Lace Display

Bobbin Lace is the classic lace of Western civilization, captivating virtually every culture since 1500 when it became a very necessary and expensive part of fashionable clothing. It has maintained this role well into the twentieth century, complimentary to fashion-loving women from top to bottom, but not denied to men who also dazzle in it.

Beaded necklace display and exibition

Beaded necklace has a very long tradition in the Carpathian Basin, basically the historic territory of Hungary. 

Corvinus Hungarian Chamber Chorus, SF Bay Area

Corvinus Hungarian Chamber Chorus was established in 2015. Currently they have 9 members, men and women, they are rehearsing in Oakland CA. The Chorus is committed to offering the finest Hungarian choral repertoire and inspiring people with its passion in Hungarian culture.

Corvinus is the first Hungarian chamber chorus in the San Francisco Bay Area that performs choral works exclusively from Hungarian composers, like Bartók, Kodály, Bárdos, Karai, etc.

Harangvirag Playhouse

A group of enthusiastic and energetic Hungarians established Harangvirág Playhouse to bring together Hungarian children and their families living in the San Francisco Bay area and enrich their cultural experience by bringing to life Hungarian folk stories in our puppet shows, learning more about our rich Hungarian folk world through stories, songs and children plays, getting created at our crafting table, learning Hungarian crafts.

Our first performance as Harangvirág Playhouse was during the 2014 Hungarian Heritage Festival in Belmont, where our little group at that time brought alive the famous Hungarian story, Ludas Matyi and got crafty at our crafts table. Each member of our group has participated in different children programs either as performer or organizer in the past years. Each member is a volunteer, giving her free time, experience, creativity to this wonderful cause.

A Beautiful Violin

A Beautiful Violin comprises the collaboration of Tibor and Yelena. Tibor demonstrates his artistry as a DJ, violist and entertainer, while Yelena provides a canvas with her skilled accompaniment on the piano. Tibor and Yelena play a variety of cultural songs, including Italian, Irish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and of course, Hungarian. Today they will treat us to beautiful Gypsy and Nóta music in the engaging and playful style they are known for.

Tibor Horvath – Violinist

Tibor Horvath, a Bay Area native, began playing the violin at the age of 8. At age 12, he began studying with Istvan Farkas, a Hungarian Gypsy, for a period of two years. At 16, he started performing in restaurants and for private engagements, and continued his musical education with various other teachers. His father came to the USA from Hungary in 1956.

Yelena Savchenko – Pianist

Yelena Savchenko came to the United States from Russia in 1990. She has a degree in piano performance and a degree in music theory, and was a music teacher at the Khmilnitsky Music College in the Ukraine. Tibor and Yelena met through a mutual friend and began performing together in February, 1992. They have been making their living playing Gypsy music since 1996, and currently play for private engagements.

First California Hussar Regiment

This equestrian organization was established in 2000 in Los Gatos, CA.

Educate the public about the interwoven history of the US and Hungary: 1) In 1776, a Hungarian Hussar officer established and trained the US Cavalry for George Washington. 2) Hungarian soldiers participated in the American Revolution for Independence and the Civil War. 3) Americans helped to preserve Hungarian National Treasures during WWII.

Enjoy by providing colorful entertainment for the public and providing lessons to young people who learn about the equestrian heritage and all the associated skills.
Anyone can become a Hussar (riding or none riding) by joining the First California Hussar Regiment by following the information below: www.californiahussars.com


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