The members of the Gyanta Hungarian Folk Ensemble are drawn from the vibrant Canadian-Hungarian communities of Montreal and Toronto. They belong to the upper echelon of musicians, singers and dancers based in North American specializing in the unique and centuries-old Hungarian village music.
Its members have recorded extensively and performed at festivals, concerts, and Hungarian community-based events and “tanchaz”-es (Hungarian folkdance parties). Since its founding in 2006, the band has been featured at the Drummondville Folk Festival, Mondial des Cultures (North America’s largest world music and dance festival), toured the U.S. Midwest (including performances in Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit), performed at large-scale Hungarian folk festivals in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal, as well as the Cowboy Poetry Gethering in Elko, Nevada, and collaborated with several well-known artists from Hungary and Transylvania.
“Gyanta” means rosin in Hungarian, a word with double meaning to Hungarian folk musicians. Not only is rosin necessary to prepare the bow for playing the string instruments that forms the foundation of the top-shelf music of Gyanta, but the verb “rosining” also denotes the preparing of the musicians themselves – through some light-hearted and good-natured drinking from a top-shelf selection. It is this work-hard but play-hard Hungarian tradition which Gyanta seeks to preserve and share with its audiences.
The impressive roster of Hungarian and Transylvanian artists with whom Gyanta has worked includes Kalman Balogh (cimbalom), Janos Csik (vocals/violin), Istvan Varga “Kiscsipas” (violin), and Istvan Pal “Szalonna” (violin), as well as well-known Hungarian bands such as Duvo, Uszturu, and Gazsa. Its members have also accompanied many North American-based Hungarian folkdance ensembles, including Bokreta (Montreal), Kodaly (Toronto), Vadrozsa (Calgary), and Csipke (Detroit). It has often shared the stage in performances with established North American-based folk bands such as Eletfa (New York/New Jersey), Forras (Vancouver/Seattle), Feketefold (Toronto), and Szaszka (Madison/Minneapolis). For several years, Gyanta has served as the “house band” for weekend and week-long Hungarian camps in Detroit, Niagara Falls, and Montreal.
Aside from its core offering of Hungarian village music, Gyanta also plays music from the Hungarian “nota” tradition (often referred to as “gypsy music”) and popular Hungarian dance tunes, including well-known csardas melodies, hallgato (listening songs), waltzes, tangos, and polkas. This allows the band to serve the musical needs of all Hungarian communities in North America. For this reason, Gyanta is often called upon to play at Hungarian weddings, balls, and various community functions throughout the continent for those desiring a wide-ranging mix of village music together with these more mainstream genres.
This album features 6 tracks recorded on acoustic instruments, spread across a wide range of Hungarian and Transylvanian musical regions. The instrumentation features violins, violas (both classical-style violas and flat-bridged, 3-stringed Transylvanian "kontra" viola), double bass, percussive cello (called the "uto-gardon") and drum. Singing is in the typical Hungarian village style made famous to the world through Bela Bartok's recordings during his excursions to remote villages decades ago. Guest artists Sergiu Popa (accordion) and Jozsef Szasz (cimbalom) join Gyanta on a few of the tracks.
Introductory liner notes by Peter Arendas, Assistant Professor, Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary.
Members of Gyanta:
Jeszika Paulusz-Garda: vocals)
Sylvie Fritsch-Paquette: vocals, uto-gardon
Attila Krasznai (Medve): bass, vocals
Andrew Kocsis (Bandi): violin, drums, vocals
Levente Garda (Leves): kontra & bracsa (3 and 4-string violas), vocals
Kalman Magyar (Ocsi): violin, vocals