In the 1980s, a single female performer, Márta Sebestyén, defined Hungarian folk singing. Sebestyén’s voice, with the heavy ornamentation and chest timbre of the Hungarian-Transylvanian sound, became popular worldwide. Even as Sebestyén’s voice was popularized via electronic dance mixes and film soundtracks, in live performances and interviews she emphasized the ethnic minority Hungarians in Transylvania who served as her musical sources. The 21st century has seen the ascent of several young female singers in Hungary. They have taken the advocate role in a different direction, dramatizing the experiences of other underprivileged groups and of women. They face additional challenges: currently in Hungary, every sphere of artistic life, including folk music, must demonstrate economic independence. The young folk divas front their own groups and develop high concepts for their albums and performances. It remains to be seen whether their forthrightness will gain the same success as the modest image of the classic singer of the Hungarian folk revival style.
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2020 Volume 34
Nemzetközi Magyarságtudományi Társaság -- International Association for Hungarian Studies
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