Hungarian Folk Singing Circle
Current and Upcoming Classes:
Hungarian Folk Singing Class
Held in English, led by Zina Bozzay
6 weeks: September 14 - October 19, 2020
Mondays evenings 6-8pm
Semmelweis u. 4, Budapest
Conveniently located near Astoria
Come learn beautiful traditional Hungarian folk songs! Open to participants of all musical and language backgrounds, this class teaches a wide variety of songs, taught directly from village source recordings. Participants receive a pronunciation guide, printed song lyrics, English translations, recordings, and background information on the songs.
The class is held by Zina Bozzay, a native English speaker and active performer, collector, arranger, and teacher of Hungarian folk songs in the US, Hungary, and around the world. She has taught both Hungarian speakers and non-speakers for over a decade, and is known for her friendly, accessible teaching style, academic rigor, and contagious enthusiasm.
Price: 6-week class series: 10.000 Ft., Drop-in: 2000 Ft./class
Discounts available (Student, senior, bring-a-friend, exchange)
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE (August 2020)
We plan to hold this class in person at Háló. We ask everyone to use precautions for the safety of all participants, including washing hands upon arrival and not attending class with any symptoms of illness or any potential exposure to someone with coronavirus. We do not expect mask-wearing during the class, but of course anyone can chose to wear one or sit at a distance, and those choices will be respected. We greatly look forward to the joy and beauty of singing together after the many months apart!
If at any point the pandemic necessitates stopping in-person classes, then this class will be held on Zoom at the same day and time. This page will be immediately updated to reflect that change if it occurs, and there will be a link to sign up to receive the Zoom link in advance of class. We really enjoyed our virtual class in the spring, so this will be a wonderful session however it takes place!
Virtual Hungarian Folk Singing Classes
Held in English, led by Zina Bozzay
6 weeks: September 15 - October 20, 2020
❋ Tuesdays 10 - 11:30am Budapest time
Europe daytime / Asia evening
(9am England / 4pm Hong Kong / 6pm Sydney / 8pm Christchurch)
❋ Tuesdays 7 - 8:30pm Budapest time
North America daytime / Europe evening
(10am California / 1pm New York / 6pm England / 8pm Istanbul)
Please check your time zone! All of our virtual classes are open to participants anywhere in the world.
The class description is the same as the in-person class above -- participants are emailed the materials (PDFs of song words, mp3s of village source recordings), and the interactive class is held on Zoom using the same teaching methods, combining detailed song teaching and discussion of translation and background information.
Click here to register (class pricing at the link)
If you are interested in a virtual class at a different day or time, please contact us.
Private and small-group lessons
Summer 2020 and Ongoing
Zina holds private lessons regularly in person in Budapest, as well as for people in other locations via video conferencing (Zoom and other platforms). In-person lessons in other cities can also be arranged, and Zina typically offers lessons while touring as well. Lessons and coaching sessions may be one-on-one private lessons, semi-private or small group study (2-3 people), or for groups and choruses. Also feel free to contact us with inquiries for larger public or private events (workshops, festivals, schools, camps, etc). Lessons can be held in English or Hungarian (or with a translator into other languages - Slovak, Spanish, etc).
Beyond learning folk songs, these are some of frequently requested topics: introduction to the style, locating specific recordings or song words, pronunciation coaching, feedback and corrections on a song before a performance or recording, and stylistic vocal technique. More topics can be found lower on this page.
All types of inquiries are welcome, and we also refer to other specialists as needed. More information about educator Zina Bozzay here.
To inquire or sign up, contact us here.
Other Workshops and Events
Other upcoming public events will be announced here when confirmed. Many were cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus, and some are now tentative and not yet confirmed.
To inquire about scheduling a public or private workshop, presentation/lecture, performance, or other event, please contact us. Scroll further down this page for a lists of song types and presentation topics to get ideas.
Our classes featured on TV
Interviews with Zina Bozzay
(In Hungarian with English subtitles)
Looking back at 2019...
We reached thousands of people through folk singing classes, workshops, presentations, performances, private lessons, and more at Hagyományok Háza (Hungarian Heritage House), Óbudai Népzenei Iskola (Óbuda Folk Music School), Rákóczi Szövetség summer camps, American International School in Budapest, Háló Közösségi és Kulturális Központ - S4 (Háló Community and Cultural Center - S4), and other institutions.
Participants came from dozens of countries across six continents, with enormously diverse cultural, linguistic, and musical backgrounds, and of every generation from young children through older adults. THANK YOU for your support and participation!
What's coming up in 2020?
Monday evening folk singing class January-May at Háló Közösségi és Kulturális Központ - S4 (Háló Community and Cultural Center - S4) in Budapest, folk singing workshop at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, mentoring musicians at the Hagyományok Háza (Hungarian Heritage House), integrating new curriculum for middle schoolers at American International School, singing classes for cultural tours visiting Hungary ... and more!
With the coronavirus pandemic, we took our classes online, including an intensive weeklong summer workshop and expanded offerings to participants in new parts of the world in fall 2020.
Donate now to support our work in 2020 and beyond! Like others working in music and culture, our work is deeply impacted by the current pandemic, and we are committed to continuing our song collecting, teaching, performing, and more, reaching thousands of people every year. There are many non-monetary ways to contribute as well.
Some Past Workshops and Class Series:
Hungarian Heritage House, Budapest, HU
Óbuda Folk Music School, Budapest, HU
Rákóczi Szövetség camps, Sátoraljaújhely, HU
Háló Community and Cultural Center, Budapest, HU
Hunscapes cultural events, HU
Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, USA
Ashkenaz Music & Dance Center, Berkeley, USA
Hungarian Heritage Festival, Belmont, USA
Magtár Hungarian Cultural Alliance, Los Angeles, USA
Hungarian Art & Culture Festival, Walnut Creek, USA
Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, USA
Rod Poppy Art House, San Francisco, USA
Hungarian Scouts, Woodside Priory, Portola Valley, USA
United Magyar Ház, Los Angeles, USA
East European Folklife Center Music & Dance Workshop, USA
Zhena Folk Chorus, Los Angeles, USA
Kárpátok Hungarian Folk Ensemble, Los Angeles, USA
Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble, Bay Area, USA
Hungarian folk dance classes, Bay Area, USA
Zambaleta World Music & Dance School, San Francisco, USA
SF Community Music Center, San Francisco, USA
Private workshops, coaching, and lessons (members of KITKA, Janam, Cancioner, Stellamara, VOCO, and other choruses)
Lectures and presentations in the US and Hungary:
Corvinus University (HU), American International School (HU), AHEA conferences (US, HU), HATOG conference (US), Egyszólam music camp in Váralja (HU), Visszidens meeting (HU), and lectures at several festival and venues listed above
Thank you to Alliance for California Traditional Arts for the support through Living Cultures grants.
Join our email list to hear about upcoming classes and events!
Also contact us here if you're interested in scheduling a class, workshop, or presentation for your community, chorus, or event.
Song types and regions taught:
Gyimes (valley in Carpathian mountains, Transylvania)
Szék (a village in Mezőség, Transylvania)
Magyarszovát (a village in Mezőség, Transylvania)
Maros-Küküllők vidéke (region in Transylvania)
Felföld (former Northern Hungary)
Magyarbőd, Imreg (villages in Felföld, with harmony)
Somogy (part of Transdanubia)
Seasonal songs - springtime, Christmas
Sampler - variety of songs from various regions (including regions not listed above, such as Bukovina, Kalotaszeg)
Songs for experienced singers and small groups
Class and presentation topics:
Introduction to Hungarian folk music
Hungarian folk singing in the traditional village context
Hungarian folk music instruments
History of song collecting and folk music revival in HU
Contemporary folk music revival in Budapest
Resources for study (archives, institutions, media, etc)
Teaching and study methodology in the style
Notation issues in Hungarian folk song transcription
Symbolism in Hungarian folk songs lyrics
Folk singing vocal technique and exercises
North American Hungarian diaspora
History of the San Francisco Népdalkör and Vadalma
Lessons learned from folk song collecting work
Hungarian pronunciation in detail (for singers)
... and other topics upon request
The Hungarian Folk Singing Circle ("Népdalkör" in Hungarian) teaches Hungarian folk songs, beautiful village songs crafted over generations of unbroken oral tradition. Founded in San Francisco in 2010 by Zina Bozzay, the Népdalkör now hosts class series, workshops, private coaching and lessons, and presentations in both English and Hungarian in various locations around the world.
We teach a wide range of songs from across the Hungarian language area in the Carpathian Basin: slow and fast, old style and new style, simple and highly ornamented, ballads, laments, dances (lassú magyaros, csárdás, etc.), and more. They include a range of regional scales and unique rhythms. All songs are village songs from the oral tradition taught directly from source recordings, not composed songs or arrangements. Participants receive village source recordings, a Hungarian pronunciation guide, ethnographic map, song word sheets (lyrics), and English translations, as well as background information on each song. We also host traditional handcraft gatherings, seasonal parties, performances of experienced members, and other events.
Class sessions are open to everyone, of any musical or cultural background. No previous experience in the style or Hungarian language is required. Join us!
To support our work, click here.
Hosting guest teacher Ágnes Enyedi from Hungary
Easter egg decorating party, March 2016
Workshop for Zhena Folk Chorus, Los Angeles, CA