What has Gypsy Music got to do with jazz?

People familiar with the Hungarian jazz scene and its historical background would reply to the question above: a lot, indeed. Béla Szakcsi Lakatos has been the only Artist of the Nation  jazz musician to date, which is the highest state award for a performing artist.

His work and music is deeply rooted in the authentic Romani folklore as much as the urban kind of folklore known as Gypsy music and mostly played in restaurants and coffee houses. Descendants of greatly established, century-old Gypsy musician dynasties have nowadays become famous in world music, pop music and classical. However, as pianist–composer Kálmán Oláh repeatedly expressed it, in jazz many of them have found their new vernacular. The complex phenomena of how jazz and Gypsy music have been going separate but parallel ways or have entered interaction can be analysed with the methodology of many scientific disciplines. This is exactly what will be attempted by the fourth international symposium of the Jazz Studies Research Group in January, when the circle of young scholars of many disciplines examining various aspects of jazz and the Romani Studies centre of the Károli University hold a conference. As the call for papers below states, the deadline for the submissions of abstracts has been prolonged till the end of the summer due to the calamities caused by the pandemic.



Snétberger Ferenc Tehetségközpontja a hátrányos helyzetű roma növendékekre fókuszál 


Call for Papers
Romani–Jazz and Gypsy–Music 2021


The Jazz Studies Research Group (Jatakucs by its Hungarian acronym) and the Károli Gáspár Reformed University (KRE) is organising a conference 22-23 January, 2021 in Budapest. This, the Fourth International Symposium of Jatakucs will be the first one devoted entirely to one topic. Contributors this time will be selected by the conference committee based on the basis of submitted abstracts of their talks.

The Organising Committee of the Conference of the Jazz Studies Research Group (Jatakucs by its Hungarian acronym) and the Károli Gáspár Reformed University (KRE) decided to postpone the conference originally planned on 22-23 January, 2021 in Budapest.
The new date is 27–28 May, 2021, the venue is the Károlyi-Csekonics palace of the KRE.

Ever since jazz appeared in Hungary in the 1920s, it has entered an interaction with Gypsy music of the coffee houses, which has been practised by the Romani minority as an urban, folkloristic, popular style of music. Instances when the Romani came across jazz, viewed from a historical angle, provide excellent examples of the complex ways Gypsy musicians related to the urban culture of different times. As in French and German speaking countries, Roma and Sinti entertainment musicians in Hungary embraced jazz and transmitted it to their audience alongside the local repertoire. We believe that it is necessary to look into issues of history, society, (popular) culture, aesthetics, musicology, etc. in order to provide valid answers by Romani studies and jazz studies. From the viewpoint of interdisciplinary jazz studies Gypsy musicians appear in a number of crucially important contexts, so that studies examining the social situation of the Roma and cultural science-based jazz studies may complement each other ideally and together they may be able to produce fruitful knowledge for both fields. The conference is aiming at this kind of synthesis by expecting talks exploring the relation of the Gypsy/Roma to music and to jazz in the sphere of their own disciplines. There has been a certain ambivalence concerning the social acceptance of Gypsy music ever since the days of Ferenc Liszt whose book on the subject was based on false assumptions while his compositions truly elevated this music. Since then, a lot of scholarly and some amateur works have been published, but there are some unanswered questions left. We are convinced that through the opportunities provided by the conference Hungarian researchers could play an inspiring role in the international scientific work to come on these subjects.    

The conference will be held in Hungarian and English. Applicants are expected to send in a 200-250 word abstract in Hungarian and/or English with a bio of max. 100 words, including their affiliation. The same parameters are expected to be followed by applicants for the following events at the conference: roundtable, symposium (a couple of shorter contributions to the same subject) or workshop (held interactively about one topic) to the following e-mail address: Ez az e-mail-cím a szpemrobotok elleni védelem alatt áll. Megtekintéséhez engedélyeznie kell a JavaScript használatát.          
Deadline: August 31, 2020.

The proceedings are planned to be published in Hungarian (Gondolat Publishers, Budapest) and in English (L’ Harmattan, Paris), in separate volumes.

Conference Committee:

Eszter György (ELTE BTK Atelier)                        

Tamás Hajnáczky (KRE)                                         

Ádám Havas (Milestone Inst.)                                 

Lynn M. Hooker (Purdue University)                      

Ernő Kállai (SZTE)                                                   

Kornél Zipernovszky  (Jatakucs)       


Fotó: Lázár Miklós

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