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Marta Sebestyen, the Hungarian singer

Updated on September 16, 2014

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

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 Balázs "Dongó" Szokolay and Mátyás 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 Interlíra 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
1977, so young and famous.With the familySzentmarton AwardSganghai Centre 2007With the Duvo
1977, so young and famous.
1977, so young and famous.
With the family
With the family
Szentmarton Award
Szentmarton Award
Sganghai Centre 2007
Sganghai Centre 2007
With the Duvo
With the Duvo

Marta Sebestyen's albums on Amazon

Do you like Marta?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Returning to enjoy Marta once again!

    • sociopath-free profile image


      7 years ago

      Love to find great artists I've never heard of before. I found Dalida that way.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I love Marta! I heard her first in the soundtrack of The English Patient and I ran as fast as I could to buy some recordings of her with Muzsikas.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Marta and her music is a wonderful gift to our world!

    • viscri8 profile image


      7 years ago

      I like Marta very much. It is a pity I don't have the money to buy her music from ITunes. Vajon Popescu Adriana az a mienk, a Mokus?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      wonderful voice, agree, i do like her in the Hungarian rock opera, Istvan a kiraly.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      never heard of her,but i will give a try, nice lens,akarki.


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