Longing for Transylvania under the palm trees

Immigrants to the United States and Canada often sing about the homeland left behind. Mexicans sing corridos, or ballads, the Irish have songs about the Emerald Isle they left and Vietnamese immigrants pass their traditions down from generation to generation through song and dance.

How about Hungarian immigrants?

Thanks to József Baki in California, we have a Hungarian example of this genre. He sings about his lost Transylvanian homeland, the river Maros, and the pine trees of his beloved Carpathian Mountains.

József Baki sings about his lost Transylvanian homeland under the palm trees in Los Angeles.

József Baki sings about his lost Transylvanian homeland under the palm trees in Los Angeles.

Some of you may find the music cheeky, his libretto a bit kitschy and his Hungarian dancers amusing as they perform Hungarian folk dances under the palm trees. But remember, Baki follows the American tradition of immigrant music and deserves praise.

The video was made in 2011 with the help from dancers of the Kárpátok ensemble in Los Angeles.



  1. Avatar David Robert Evans says:

    This would make a great HírCsárda post, but if it’s true, all the better!

  2. This was a truly enjoyable post. Thank you for posting.

  3. Avatar Charlie London says:

    Isn’t this more Romanian culture than Hungarian (pre Trianon maybe?)? Even if the Moros joins the Tisza.

    Pity there was so little dancing with the women in National dress.

    It is commendable that József is keeping the tradition alive.

    Well done József!

    For me it is a great disappointment that in my experience – in north-west Hungary that folk music and dancing has seemingly disappeared – there are very few folk festivals as we experience them in England. You may get some traditional dancing on a stage at a Palinka festival but nothing like, say, the Sidmouth International folk festival here. (Google and watch!) Folk music and dancing take over a whole seaside town for 10 days. And there are many others.

    And yet Kodaly is considered the founder of music teaching internationally.

    (But not so well regarded in Hungary – Kodaly only got a roundabout (Korond) named after him to mask the disastrously named Hitler Adolf Korond! )

  4. Avatar Gizella Czene says:

    Hungarian folk dancing is alive and well in Los Angeles. All are welcome. Thanks to Ms. Ivann Judit who started the first children’s dance group in the Hungarian House, the Csardas TancCsoport. One thing though, I always wanted to do the dancing that the boys got to do, I thought theirs was soo challenging and showy. Alas, girls could only twirl their skirts, show their petticoats and dance 2 steps to the left, 2 to the right. 😉

    • Avatar Charlie London says:

      Isn’t it a well known car plate in the USA, Gizella that reads:

      “Love your children unconditionally – because they get to choose your nursing home.”!!

    • Avatar Charlie London says:

      So it’s the older women who put their arms around each other and circle around endlessly?!!

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