Radio Tarifa follow-up

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Sep 23 17:17:30 MDT 2002

(This was posted by erika to the rootsworld mailing list.)

The last sentence (quote from Fain Sanchez Duenas) in Louis' most
recent very excellent post is rich with meaning, "An isolated
culture, 'pure' culture is never a fertile one." Being of Hungarian
heritage, I am aware of how many other ethnic groups impacted, and
changed or affected Hungary (despite Hungarians trying at times to
remain 'pure'): the Germans, Austrians, Serbians, Slovaks, Romanians,
Croatians, and the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire to name a few.

My response to Cliff's question, "does music really 'change your
life' or does it really bring people together," is "yes". There
were/are many ethnic enclaves/neighborhoods in Chicago, where I grew
up that were Polish, Serbian, Croatian, Hungarian, German, Ukrainian,
Russian, Lebanese, Greek, Mexican, and other nationalities that I
can't think of. The children of these immigrants played together and
shared the ethnic foods of their friends/neighbors. They were exposed
to a great variety of ethnic music which was played in the homes, at
church/synagogue gatherings, and weddings ... There was a rich
exposure to different cultures which, where I grew up, led to
acceptance and broadening of one's understanding of the world at
large. In other words, you found out first hand why different
nationalities fled their homeland, who was persecuted and why, and
that the opportunities in the United States for a better life, are
not to be taken for granted, but are available to all. On the other
hand,  you learned about divisions, too for instance, my Serbian
friend explained to me that the Croatians (who are Catholic) and the
Serbians (Orthodox) had long standing ethnic feuds in their homeland.
My friend's Serbian Orthodox Church had picnics every Sunday, where
there was live tamburitza music played by the Popovic brothers and
where I learned to dance many different kolos by imitating the steps,
later breaking into the circle and trying them out when I felt I
grasped the musical pattern. I later learned to love Greek music
because the Greek program followed the Hungarian radio program which
we routinely listened to on Sunday afternoons. When I was older
and had a car, I made summer pilgrimages to Greek Orthodox churches
to festivals (glendis) where I expanded my love of
Greek culture to include Greek dancing. My brother predicted at the
time, "After a while you'll get tired of Greek music. Many
years later, I am pleased to prove him wrong! Growing up among
different nationalities, my love for the music of other cultures
began and has widened and broadened. It has not diminished one bit.
I was very captivated by the music of Radio Tarifa & when I first
heard "Rumba Argelina", was delighted to hear the world-wide radio
band segment which turned out to be a broadcast from Budapest.

I grew up in a primarily Hungarian ethnic community on the southside
of Chicago. My parents moved there because at the time, they knew no
other language & received the support of the community when they
needed it. One of the major benefits of a large city, is that there
are radio programs which play ethnic music ... two programs I recall
are, "The Hungarian Radio Hour" hosted by Ferenc Kovacs and another
one by Gyula Halmagyi. Listening to Hungarian ethnic music on a
Sunday afternoon was a tradition in our family, and in many other
Hungarian households. It was a bond that held the ethnic community
together. My parents left Hungary in 1956 during the Hungarian
Revolution. They were the "new" Americans. Anyone who lived in the
USA more than 10 years was considered established & called "an 'old'
American." So the transition or bridge to becoming a more established
American was accomplished while listening to the traditional music of
the past .... Also a great ethnic TV program was the "International
Cafe" on WTTW (channel 11) hosted by Rudy Orasek. The music and
dance of different nationalities was high-lighted on each program.

Waves of immigrants from Hungary arrived at different times of war
and distress, one was at the turn of the century when many Hungarians
left after the failed Revolution of 1848(? yr) which was led by
Kossuth Lajos, another  group fled around the time of World War I,
many came before and after World War II, and others left in 1956. The
very earliest Hungarians, established a "Hungarian House" on the
southside, where they gathered for celebrations, such as major
Hungarian holidays & or festivals. I would definitely say, that music
brought people together on a permanent basis. In this case, it was to
maintain the bonds of Hungarian culture, but also to share it with
others. The "Magyar Haz" on the soutside was demolished in the mid
1960s. The decline and fall of the ethnic neighborhoods on the
southside of Chicago paralleled the 'globalization' of the economy .
It seems the demise of the steel mills occured around the same time
that the neighborhoods changed, and when there was a mass exodus of
people to the suburbs. Many other factors played a heavy role in
the 'flight to the suburbs'. It seems wherever a Hungarian community
is established, they eventually build a "Magyar Haz" (Hungarian
House). There has been a "Hungarian Club" in Sarasota, FL for over 40
years but the local Magyar Haz was built only in the last 20 years.
To my regret, the primarily retired community does *not* sponsor
bands, like Szaszcsavasz, Okros, Marta Sebestyen and Muzsikas or
Kalman Balogh ... their musical tastes differ from mine.
So, again, I really do believe, music does bring people together.
My favorite local ethnic activity is the four day Greek Glendi held
by St. Babara's Greek Orthodox Church each year in Feb. on Thurs,
Fri, Sat & Sun, the weekend of Lincoln and Washington's birthday.
Anyone visiting the Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice Florida area ...
please come! Erika


Louis Proyect

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