Hungarian Folk Singing Circle
Current and Upcoming Classes:
All February - March 2021 classes listed below are held in English online on Zoom, taught by Zina Bozzay. The classes are live and interactive, and not video recorded for later use.
Please register for the virtual classes as soon as possible, as space is limited and Zoom links are sent in advance of class.
HUNGARIAN PRONUNCIATION CLASSES
An in-depth class on Hungarian pronunciation, open to absolute beginners as a first introduction to the language as well as those with experience who want to review. The class covers each letter sound, and includes practice words for each letter. Participants receive a detailed pronunciation guide for later reference. This class is typically offered at the start of each singing class series or before a workshop, and is open to anyone to attend, whether or not you are taking a singing class.
This class is designed for those who have already taken Level I or have previous experience with Hungarian, including heritage speakers in the Hungarian diaspora, who are interested in learning further details to fine-tune their pronunciation. This class covers pronunciation quirks and exceptions often not taught to beginners, such as consonant assimilation, consonant voicing and devoicing, archaic name spellings, and examples of dialect pronunciation. There will be time dedicated to participants pronouncing words and receiving feedback.
Participants may attend one or both classes on February 21. Both classes are held in English by Zina Bozzay, who has been teaching Hungarian pronunciation to non-Hungarian speakers for over a decade.
❋ Level I: Sunday, February 21, 6:00-7:00pm Budapest time
(9-10am California / 12-1pm New York)
❋ Level II: Sunday, February 21, 7:30-8:30pm Budapest time
(10:30-11:30am California / 1:30-2:30pm New York)
HUNGARIAN FOLK SINGING CLASS SERIES
Several-week class series teaching a variety of beautiful traditional Hungarian folk songs, including village source recordings, pronunciation and translation of the lyrics, background information on the style, and more. Held in English and open to participants of all cultural, linguistic, and musical backgrounds, welcoming experienced singers as well as those with no previous experience in the style. Further details about each specific class are below. If this is your first Hungarian singing class, consider taking the pronunciation class above before the class series.
It is strongly preferred for participants to commit to the full class series, but drop-ins are also welcome. There is a minimum of 5 registered participants to hold the class, and classes are capped at 25 people. Because there are several class times and people are joining from various time zones around the world, each class has a name (Chestnut, Tulip, etc) for the ease of participants figuring out which time is right for them and registering for the correct class! Some time zones are written below, but please double-check your own time difference with Budapest, and note daylight savings changes if applicable.
1) Transylvania Semester
Over the course of January - May 2021, we will learn a wide variety of songs from Transylvania, moving progressively eastward and spending a few weeks on each of the ethnographic regions, broken up into three class series: Szilágyság and Kalotaszeg (6 weeks, Jan 12 - Feb 16), Mezőség (6 weeks, Feb 23 - March 30), and finally Maros-Küküllő vidéke, Szekélyföld, and Gyimes (and possibly Bukovina) (8 weeks, April 13 - May 30). You do not need to have attended previous classes to take this class and each class series is a separate group of songs - new people can join anytime.
Songs of Mezőség
(Transylvania Semester Part II)
6-week Class Series: Tuesdays Feb 23 - March 30
- Chestnut Group: Tuesdays 8:00-9:30am Budapest time
Europe daytime, Australia and New Zealand evening:
7am England / 3pm Hong Kong / 6pm Sydney / 8pm Christchurch
- Rosemary Group: Tuesdays 7:00-8:30pm Budapest time
North America daytime, Europe evening:
10am California / 1pm New York / 6pm England / 9pm Istanbul
2) Songs for Folk Dancing
6-week series: Tuesdays Feb 2 - Mar 9
- Peacock Group: Tuesdays 2:30-4:00pm Budapest time
North America morning, Europe afternoon, Asia evening:
8:30am New York / 1:30pm England / 9:30pm Hong Kong
An entry-level Hungarian folk singing class teaching songs from Kalotaszeg and Mezőség in Transylvania - primarily well-known dance songs - including a lot of repetition and strong focus on pronunciation. The class also includes “csujogatás” (rhythmic shouting calls) used during dancing.
Weekend Singing Workshop:
Two Practical Hungarian Folk Songs to Know
The Traditional "Happy Birthday Song" and the World-Famous "Tavaszi szél"
Saturday, February 27: 7:00-8:30pm Budapest time (10am CA, 1pm NY)
Sunday, February 28: 7:00-8:30pm Budapest time (10am CA, 1pm NY)
Please double-check your own time difference with Budapest!
Join us to learn two famous Hungarian village folk songs that are very useful to know. Held in English and open to participants of all cultural, linguistic, and musical backgrounds, this workshop includes village source recordings, pronunciation and translation of the lyrics, and learning the songs well and in detail. We welcome newcomers and long-timers alike, including participants who are and aren't already familiar with these songs. Because we're learning directly from multiple village recordings of each song, there will be many details and new information for those who already know the melody. The is also a perfect workshop for those who have never learned a Hungarian folk song and want somewhere to start - these are relatively easy songs and you'll be able to put them into use in your life! If this is your first Hungarian singing class, consider taking the pronunciation class above before the workshop.
The beautiful "Tavaszi szél" from Moldavia, famous in Hungary and performed by Hungarian and non-Hungarian musicians around the world. The village recordings of this springtime love song - including a recording nearly 100 years old - are full of rich melodic details and additional song words not heard in the popular versions. If you'd like to learn a famous folk song others are likely to know, join us!
"Sok születésnapokat", the Hungarian folk "happy birthday song". Learn this gorgeous folk song from the village Szék in Transylvania which you can sing for your loved ones on their birthdays! It has a beautiful melody and equally beautiful and poetically rich song words, and is commonly sung within folk music and dance communities both in Hungary and in the diaspora.
PRIVATE LESSONS, PRIVATE GROUP CLASSES, WORKSHOPS, & OTHER EVENTS
In addition to the public group classes listed above, we have students studying both in-person in Budapest and online from around the world in one-on-one private lessons, semi-private or small group private study (2-5 people), and in larger groups (choruses, school music classes, workshops, festivals, summer camps, etc). In-person teaching can happen in other cities as well, but is more limited right now due to coronavirus travel restrictions. Beyond learning folk songs, frequently requested topics include an 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.
Please contact us with your inquiry to learn more or arrange a time.
ABOUT ZINA BOZZAY
Zina Bozzay is an active performer, collector, arranger, and teacher of Hungarian folk songs in the US and Hungary. She has taught these songs to Hungarian speakers and non-speakers for over a decade, and is known for her accessible teaching style, academic rigor, and contagious enthusiasm. When her in-person classes went virtual in spring 2020 due to coronavirus, people joined from around the world, leading to these expanded online offerings in fall 2020. For more information on Zina, click here.
Looking further ahead:
Weekly class series and assorted workshops will continue to be offered through the end of May. In the summer we plan to host a weeklong intensive summer camp, whether in person, online, or both. Weekly classes will resume in September through December. Whether or not we are able to hold in-person group classes, we plan to continue offering online classes in any case.
Sign up on our email list to hear when the next classes are announced and registration is open. Emails are infrequent.
Our classes featured on TV
Interviews with Zina Bozzay
(In Hungarian with English subtitles)
with Zina Bozzay
hosted by Mihály Rosonczy-Kovács of I Dance Hungary.
Celebrating 10 years of the Népdalkör!
What began as a small weekly singing class in the Bay Area has grown to reaching thousands of people each year on six continents through folk singing classes, workshops, presentations, performances, private lessons, and more. From a San Francisco living room, to Ashkenaz and Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA, to the Hungarian Heritage House and Óbuda Folk Music School in Budapest, to virtual classes several times a week to meet the demand of participants in various time zones. Participants range from young children through older adults, with enormously diverse cultural, linguistic, and musical backgrounds - including many who are reconnecting with lost family heritage.
THANK YOU for your support and participation!
Donate now to support our continuation of this work for 10 more years! We are committed to continuing our village song collecting, teaching, performing, and more. Especially during this difficult year, it brings great joy to enrich people's lives with music, language, culture, and meaningful learning that changes lives. 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
American International School, Budapest, 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.
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 maps, song word sheets (lyrics), and English translations, as well as background information on each song. We also host traditional handcraft gatherings, seasonal parties, performances by 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.
Song types and regions taught:
Gyimes (valley in Carpathian mountains, Transylvania)
Mezőség (region in Transylvania), in particular villages Szék and Magyarszovát, among others
Maros-Küküllők vidéke (region in Transylvania)
Kalotaszeg (region in Transylvania)
Felföld (former Northern Hungary)
Magyarbőd, Imreg (villages in Felföld, with harmony)
Somogy (part of Transdanubia)
Seasonal songs - springtime, Christmas, etc.
Songs for experienced singers and small groups
Sampler - variety of songs from various regions (including regions not listed above, such as Bukovina, Alföld, etc.)
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
Easter egg decorating party, March 2016
Hosting guest teacher Ágnes Enyedi from Hungary
Workshop for Zhena Folk Chorus, Los Angeles, CA