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Blues for Transylvania


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Audio CD, June 25, 1990
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$14.99 $4.78
Vinyl, July 1, 1991
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$34.99

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ryko Distribution
  • ASIN: B00000061Q
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,036 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Old Song From Somogy
2. Legenyes From Kalotaszeg
3. My Lord, My Lord
4. Szapora
5. Outlaw Song
6. Dawn Song From Bodonkut
7. On My Way To Kolozsvar Town
8. Cimbalmos From Bonchida
9. Kati-Kata
10. Old Wedding Song
11. The Time Is Autumn

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Despite the best efforts of Romania's Ceaucescu dictatorship to make Transylvanian folk culture disappear, it survived at least in part due to the very deprivations (e.g., the lack of electricity and education) that were intended to destroy it. This well-known Hungarian quintet began rooting around in the one-time Hungarian territory a decade ago, and their first collection of Transylvanian tunes is a deep and diverse treasure trove of nearly forgotten centuries-old acoustic history. A droning hurdy-gurdy introduces a song about the "damned misery of love"; a pair of fiddles rouse dancers to high-stepping wedding and Christmas dances; a sad string quartet accompanies a song describing "The Time of Autumn" when conscripted soldiers left their villages. And, as with all Muzsikas's albums, Marta Sebestyen's wise and clear and cold voice re-creates another world in your living room. --Richard Gehr

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Roseanne T. Sullivan on March 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you buy this album you are in for a treat
for your ears and your mind.
A Hungarian friend of mine took me with her
to hear Muzikas while I was in the Twin Cities
last month and the group was on tour. The
music was a revelation to me.
I am half-Hungarian but had never heard Hungarian
folk music before, except perhaps through classical
music composers who adapted folk songs for their work.
My friend has heard Muzsikas perform before many
times, some of those times in Hungary. I'm very
glad she brought me along to hear them at
the Cedar Cultural Center.
It was like I had been ushered into a new musical
world. During intermission I bought two of their CDs.
For the rest of my stay, as I drove around the Twin
Cities area I played the CDs
constantly in my rental car, trying to comprehend
what made the music so unusual and haunting.
The Blues for Transylvania is the more intriguing of the two
albums I bought, partly because it contains music from
the Jews who used to live in the Carpathian mountains in
Transylvania. The Jews are gone from there. Many, of course,
were killed by the Nazis, and others emigrated.
Muzsikas went to Transylvanian weddings, funerals,
dances, and collected the music that was left behind.
The bass player announced that in the Carpathians
there is none of the noise pollution as the
rest of us know it in our lives. Only perhaps the occasional
sound of "a bear screaming in the forest.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Milkweed on January 20, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Every song on this album is excellent. I enjoyed this one more than the Bartok album. Wish this group would have recorded more together and in this style.
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By whistler on November 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I originally bought this CD because my wife had grandparents from Transylvania, and I thought she might like it. Now she can't pry it out of my hands! It is some of the best folk music I've ever heard, and the woman singer is simply extraordinary. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, it's a bit like gypsy music and a bit like balkan or Greek folk music, but really, it's in a class of its own. The title is entirely appropriate, it really is Transylvanian Blues. If you even think you might like it, believe me, you should get it. Wonderful.
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Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to a lot of great music by KCMU-FM in Seattle way back in the day, and sadly KCMU seems to have gone away. Or maybe it was KBOO in Portland. Or maybe some music paper like The Rocket or something. Anyway, I am grateful to the non-commercial radio stations for playing all kinds of wonderful music from all over; music that was worth listening to. 'Blues for Transylvania' is for people who like to turn off the phone, TV, and all the other distractions, pop a CD into a good-quality hi-fi, and sit back and really listen. 'Blues for Transylvania' is a blend of primitive, raw emotion, primitive-sounding instruments, and sophisticated rhythms, melodies, and vocals. 'The Outlaw Song' is my fave; listen closely because there is whole lot going on. And who can resist lyrics like this:

"Then they asked me again what was my name?
And demanded my papers and passport
Two I shot dead before they could move
And that's my passport, if you please"

Márta Sebestyén sings the lovely 'Dawn Song' a capella, and 'Szapora' is an irresistible energetic dance song. 'My Lord, My Lord' is the story of a cold marriage. It makes me wish I knew more music history because I swear I hear ancient Middle Eastern influences, Celtic, and Greek.
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