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Culture at the Crossroads #2 - Ferenc Tobak Conjures Spirits at the Crossroads

  Friday , Aug 28, 2009         8:00 PM        $15 Children free. Advance tickets at

Event Details

ferenc_tree_300Bagpiper Ferenc Tobak, with visiting master musicians Zoltan Szabo and Katalin Juhasz, will present a program of Hungarian traditional music.  According to folk legend bagpipers can summon spirits with their playing at the crossroads. Lilla Serlegi accompanied by the Slavonian Traveling Band will add the high spirited music of the Croatian villages of Hungary to the evening's musical mix.  Special guest Stephen Kent, playing the didjerido, will be featured in the premier of Ferenc's new composition.

Ferenc Tobak is a master musician of traditional Hungarian bagpipe music.  Since 1998 he has documented the bagpipe traditions of the Hungarian Csángó people of Moldavia in Eastern Romania. In 2001 his initial findings were published in Hungary, earning his place among the scholars of traditional Hungarian music. Tobak has recorded with Hungary’s finest professional musicians, including Márta Sebestyén and Muzsikás. He toured regularly with Vasmalom for over five years, and was an integral part of the production of their first album.  In addition to bagpipe, his recordings encompass traditional Hungarian instrumental and vocal music including flute, lute, violin, drums and songs.



katizoli_300Katalin Juhász is a folk singer, ethnographer. She has been collecting and singing Hungarian folk music since 1980. She has deep interest in singing folk songs of the South-Slavic people. She is a researcher, some of her topics: lullabies, historic folk songs, music of folk customs, the international connections of Hungarian ballads.
Zoltán Szabó is also an ethnographer and folk musician. He has been playing several kinds of Hungarian and South-Slavic folk instruments like bagpipes, shepherd flutes, ocarina. He worked 20 years in the Hungarian Ethnographical Museum with shepherd objects and the musical instrument collections. His exhibition and book about bagpipes of the Carpathian Basin and Eastern Europe scored a great success in European countries.
They both have made many radio and TV appearances, playing on LP, and CD recordings. Well published authors. They performed more than 15 countries around the world.

lilla_2_300Lilla Serlegi was raised in the Croatian community of Horvatzsidany in western Hungary.  This area and the neighboring Burgenland in Austria are exceptionally rich in Croatian culture. Though Lilla grew up in Hungary, Croatian was her primary language. From early childhood Lilla was recognized as gifted in music. As a young child, she took up the tamburitza, and trained with Drazen Soic, one of the best tamburitza teachers in Croatia.  She performed with traditional Croatian tamburitza bands in neighboring villages in western Hungary including Zidanski Becari, Veseli Gradiscanci, Kojnofski Tamburasi, and  Bizonjski Tamburasi. She also performed with the Peruska Marija Choir, which played a prominent role in the cultural life in her predominantly Croatian village in Hungary. Consequently, Lilla mastered the traditional cultural rituals associated with tamburitza music in both the Croatian and Hungarian cultures. She is highly experienced and comfortable performing and teaching the traditional songs and dances associated with the yearly cycle of festivals.



stephen_kent_crw_5475_300Stephen Kent. With beginnings in Uganda, and the seed sown there of a lifetime of interest in global cultures, it is no surprise that Stephen Kent has traveled the world, living at various times in Africa, England, Spain, Australia and, for the last 15 years, The San Francisco Bay Area.  In Australia, in 1981, as Music Director of Circus Oz he first connected with Australian Aboriginal culture and the Didjeridu.
Inspired by the power of the land, and the support the group gave to Aboriginal issues, he learnt circular breathing and wrote music for brass instruments, sounding unmistakably like the Didjeridu. While he has always had great respect for Aboriginal people and their culture Stephen has never tried to imitate traditional styles on the Didjeridu. Instead he has pioneered his own unique style, with the Didj at the center of his many compositions in contemporary music.  
Radio DJ       
In 1995 Stephen Kent was invited to produce a weekly “Music of the World” radio show on America’s original Listener Sponsored Radio Station, KPFA FM . It’s gone from strength to strength ever since, airing live on Thursdays from 10am-Noon [PST].
Musical Educator       
Stephen Kent has, for many years, been in demand in schools, colleges and institutions, presenting popular assembly programs and lectures – with strong emphasis on participation, on both the Didjeridu, its cultural origins in Aboriginal Australia and making a bridge between ancient indigenous culture and the world today.  Teaching the Didjeridu (both individually and in group classes) is also a part of his work and he gives workshops all over the world. For more information email Stephen here.

stbmomo_300Slavonian Traveling Band. The diverse sound and repertoire of The Slavonian Traveling Band crosses all boundaries and speaks for tolerance and hope. The popular eight member ensemble, The Slavonian Traveling Band, blends traditional Bosnian, Sephardic, Roma (Gypsy), Croatian,Hungarian, Macedonian, Serbian music with original songs in the American folk tradition. The acoustic ensemble sings haunting sevdalinkas (Bosnian for "blues"), ballads in traditional harmonies, and represents a newly emerging "California-sevdah" style of music. The band's program blends traditional music with original songs influenced by American spirituals, blues, and story telling traditions, and makes a real time moving connection to the diaspora and the culture of the Balkan peoples.
Founded in 1986, the Slavonian Traveling Band performs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as a tamburitza orchestra typical of the Balkan region. This type of band takes its name from a family of lute-like stringed instruments called tamburitzas which come in different sizes, shapes and numbers of strings. The Band also plays instruments found on the Dalmacian coast of Croatia, including the mandolin, mandola, and guitar. As the Band's repertoire features Macedonian and Romany (gypsy) music, they often include the sax, harmonica, and dumbek (drum).
Members of the Slavonian Traveling Band are Elana Segel, Mari Litsky, Jan Fournier, Paul Litsky, Lilla Serlegi, Betsy Daley, John Daley, Jon Ryshpan.

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