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CD REVIEW: The Boyash Gypsies of Hungary – Kanizsa Csillagai
By Ben Ohmart - 09/06/2001 - 04:46 PM EDT

Artist: The Boyash Gypsies of Hungary
Album: Kanizsa Csillagai
CD Review: This is Gypsy music. Boyash Gypsy music, which until now was only performed within this small (30k) minority of Hungarians. Originally from Transylvania, the Boyash Gypsies mainly live in 4 districts of the southwest. Their melodies are more Romanian than usual Gypsy/Hungarian music, with a sense of group fun about it. When one vocal is singing solo, do the rest of the players shut up? No, they keep on with constant, consistent asides that fill up the odd gaps or pauses, if anyone dares to let a second go without a shout, a dabadado, or a group sing-along. It’s one of the aboriginal delights of the album.

18 tracks, 62 minutes long, this cd is a tribute to the freestyle of open air life and music, from the traditional Gypsy group, Kanizsa Csillagai (literally translated as Stars of Kanizsa). Formed in 1993 by 5 young Boyash and Wallachian Gypsies from Nagykanizsa, the leader of the group is singer/guitarist/dancer Zoltan Horvath. This is their 3rd cd, and is indicative of a family recording (Zoltan’s wife and brothers are on here too) as ever I’ve heard. If only all groups were this collaborative and confident with weaving themselves together.

The music is bouncy, impassioned, and acoustically frolicsome. Take the backbeat ‘Jarba’ which means Grass. ‘Grass, big grass, I would like to go home, but I can’t go home, because I have sworn.’ The fiddles whittle away, the vocals glue together in a chorus as peppy as labradors at play. Simple, and effective.

The disc was released and distributed through the World music label, ARC Music, so it shouldn’t be too hard to locate. Great multi-national party music, so I suggest you go locate.

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