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Marta Sebestyen, the Hungarian singer
Lady of the Hungarian song
Marta Sebestyen has long been known in her native country as the greatest interpreter of Hungarian folk music, introducing the wealth of Hungarian culture to the world. However, she gained a wider international audience when two of her songs were used on the soundtrack of The English Patient, the 1996 Academy Award- and 9 Oscars- winning film. Her collaboration with the French group Deep Forest "resulted" a Grammy Award in 1996 for the album 'Boheme'. She recorded with Peter Gabriel 'Big Blue Ball' and has been discovered by other genres as well such as the film.
Nothing in Marta Sebestyen is common, sensation hunting or artificial. Genuine hardworking ARTIST, who slowly but surely makes her way to the very top as an international folk performer and so much more.
updated: Sunday 14 September 2014
The folk music and Marta Sebestyen
Born in Budapest in 1957, Marta grew up surrounded with music. Her mother, a music teacher studied with the great composer, scholar and ethnomusicologist Zoltan Kodaly. So not surprisingly she studied music in Budapest.
25 years of collaboration with the "Muzsikas", the leading Hungarian folk music ensemble gained her the Hungarian folk music's ambassador title.
Marta is an amazing singer (she also plays tin whistle and drum). She seems be able to effortlessly find any note on the scale no matter how low or high it might be. Her voice is often named "haunting", i would tell unique. But her repertoir is harmoniously combined with her exceptional voice, she is singing only the best quality genuine song, often collected by herself, and so often rescuing old, almost forgotten treasures of the Hungarian soul.
Click on the picture for an old love song.
The "English patient" songs
Two of her songs were used on the soundtrack of The English Patient, the legendary multi prized film. Right clickon the image and open it in new window, listen to the "Szerelem,szerelem".
English Patient Song
Why not to try?.
Religious songs in Marta Sebestyen's repertoir.
I Can See the Gates of Heaven is a noticeably more austere proposition, albeit none the less admirable for that. It is a distinctive and gorgeous interpretation of Hungarian religious and secular songs reaching back centuries, a collaboration with young musicians BalÃ¡zs "DongÃ³" Szokolay and MÃ¡tyÃ¡s Bolya,
Collects together songs and hymns from the folk and religious traditions of the Carpathian Basin - no surprise from Marta - even from Navarro, the Bask County.
Taste of folk music from the Balcan.
She considers herself "a translator," she told Tim Lloyd, a writer for the Advertiser of Adelaide, Australia, "Because people who have never heard folk music in the city at the end of the 20th century need a translator. We are so used to video clips and so on that sometimes we no longer understand the power of the pure voice and pure harmony."
As translator, between different cultures she recorded her songs from Hungarian, Jewish, Bulgarian, Moldavian, Transylvanian and many other folk music.
Click the image to listen Jewish music.
Hungarian folk vocalist Marta Sebestyen named UNESCO Artist for Peace
Only the most importants...
1974 - Young Master Of Folk Arts
1984 - Singer of the Year /King Stephen,Rockopera)
1988 - Niveau Prize For The Hungarian Culture
1991 - Liszt Ferenc Prize ( the most prestigous musical prize in Hungary)
1993 - Emerton Prize
1994 - The Officer's Honorable Cross of the Hungarian Republic
1996 - GrammyAward in worldmusic category for the Deep Forest Album - La Boheme
1996 - Golden Giraffe (Prize of the Hungarian Record Industry)
1997 - Emerton Prize, Folksinger of the Year
1998 - International InterlÃra Prize
1998 - Deri Janos Prize (1 golden Forint)
1998 - The Oscar for best Filmmusic and Main Theme in the film "The English Patient")
1999 - Kossuth Award (the highest prize given by the goverment for artists in Hungary)
1999 - For Budapest Prize (for making Hungarian folkmusic world famous)
2000 - Hungarian Arts Award
2000 - Hungarian Heritage Award
2003 - Prima Primissima Award - (Hungarian Prize "Best among the Best" - folkartist category)
2004 - SFOA, Diploma alla Carriera/Italy/
2010 - UNESCO Artist for Peace
2011 - Duna Dij prize, from Duna TV, the Hungarian Television.
2012 - Lanchid award, from Hungarian Government
2013 -Member of the Hungarian Art Academy
What Marta's photos are telling us...Click thumbnail to view full-size
Marta Sebestyen's albums on Amazon
My favorite links
- More about Marta Sebestyen
Biography and more about her work.