• Searching for the depths 

Within the COLLEGE OF ARTS programme the FOLK MUSIC CONCERT SERIES “MONADNOCKS with Gergely Agócs and the Fonó Folk Band” came to a close. (NKA call identifier: 787113/00059). The Szalakóta Association contributed as the organiser of the programme.

The Fonó Folk Band performed their Monadnocks musical production in different towns in Transylvania through five evenings from the 14th of June. Gergely Agócs, fellow research assistant at the Heritage House, founder of the Fonó Folk Band tells us about the concert series. “In the past 36 years I have been doing field work as a folk music researcher in different regions of the Carpathian Basin. During my work, I have had the chance to visit more than 200 different Hungarian settlements outside the borders. In numbers: I worked at more than 70 different locations in 1992 and I have made recordings at more than 350 locations since 2008. According to my philosophy I only “dare” to perform folk music that I know, and only if I have visited the region it originates from in person. It is important for me to meet the representatives of traditional Hungarian music and the neighbouring peoples’ music cultures. I do not just learn about the music but also about the human being, the person I get the information from. The recordings gathered by other researchers are also important sources that I learn from. These journeys are deeply imprinted into my way of thinking and have influenced my emotions as well. They have especially affected my inner self, my attitude in relation to the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon.  It is mostly people that I got acquainted with during my journey, who take part in the “Monadnocks” production: traditional singers, musicians, villagers and shepherds who perform together with the Fonó Folk Band, the group that I founded together with my friends 25 years ago. It is not a secret that we perform the material of my research and material that we have recorded together. We are trying to interpret Hungarian folk music and the folk music of the neighbouring peoples in traditional adaptation for the audience. We believe that there is a deep esthetic content in this kind of interpretation. I would like to emphasise the word “deep” because if “high culture” has any counterpart and we are looking for it in traditional culture and folk traditions then what we find can absolutely not be called “low”, only “deep”. Together with our master teachers we are trying to explore the hidden dimensions of this depth in front of the audience who come to the Monadnock concerts. We have invited musicians from ten different regions which in itself meant a huge task in logistics.  The concert series started on the 14th of June in Székelyudvarhely, then it continued in Csíkszereda on the 15th, then Marosvásárhely, then Méra, and we finished the tour on the 18th in Nagyvárad.” All in all 24 performers took part in the concert series, with 5 performers being present at all locations and at least 50 people contributing as the technical staff and organisers who helped our team. This tour would not have been possible without their work. Thanks to everyone!


  • Monadnocks - Hundred years of the unforgotten Hungarian folk song. Now, when we have to look back at the hundred years that have passed since the Treaty of Trianon, we believe it has to be done with dignity.  Not by lamenting nor by threatening. Without grief and false self pity. Those millions of Hungarians who were cut off from the country remind us of the struggles of the past hundred years not only with their existence but also with the pearls of culture they have treasured and kept. 

The Fonó Folk Band prepared a special production for the 100th anniversary. The performance by our band and our guest stars is built on the realisation that in the regions of the neighbouring countries where there is a Hungarian minority, Hungarian folk song and music is still a living heritage even 100 hundred years after Trianon. We believe it is important to emphasise this, not only because of the partition but also because many people think of folk music as something only existing in archives and in the repertoire of different interpreters and traditionalists. In the “Monadnocks” production such masters of traditional folk music are taking part who are still representing their region's old Hungarian tradition hundred years later. Through their knowledge the heritage that seemed to fade is sparkling in its old glory.  

Following Bartók’s concept of the Carpathian Basin the performance is not only showing the values of Hungarian folk music but also the authentic elements of Slovakian, Transylvanian Romanian and Rusyn traditional musical culture. Besides the members of the Fonó Folk Band, performers include traditional singers and musicians from Gömör and Zoboralj, Upper Hungary, Vojvodina, Kalotaszeg and Mezőség, Székelys from Nyárád and Csángós from Gyimes. We can recognise pieces from the work of Kodály and Bartók, even musical themes from the music lessons from our school years, usually in the same form that pioneering researches of Hungarian folk music recorded them. Among the lyrics we can sometimes even notice the special emphasis on minority life …

The organiser of the programme was once again the Szalakóta Association, which has already proven itself during the highly successful “Paternal branch” concert tour.

  •   26 September 2021 MüPa

  •   27 September 2021 Balassagyarmat

  •   28 September 2021 Nagyida

  •   29 September 2021 Tornalja

  •   30 September 2021 Fülek

Guest artists:

Ilona Lacza, Lauró Béláné – song (Alsóbodok, Zoboralja, Upper Hungary), István Bastyúr – song (Szilice, Gömör, Upper Hungary), Erzsébet Kádár Dezsőné – song (Magyarszovát, Mezőség, Transylvania), Dezső Tankó – song, flute (Gyimesközéplok, Gyimes, Transylvania), Katalin Kaló – song (Inaktelke, Kalotaszeg, Transylvania), Tibor Burján – song, flute (Nyárádszentbenedek, Marosszék, Transylvania), Judit Varga – song (Nevetlenfalu, Ugocsa, Transcarpathia), Rozália Nagy – song (Doroszló, Bácskai Duna mente, Vojvodina)


  • The Fonó Folk Band has been using artistic methods that might seem unusual among Hungarian folk musicians, ever since their forming in 1997.  Their „Paternal branch” (Atyai ág) production is also following this approach as it tries to show the Eastern relations of Hungarian folk music to the audience. Gergely Agócs and the Fonó Folk Band have since long been in contact with the Szalakóta Association as we have also taken part in the production of their "Wild baroque" record. This is why we applied for a grant together with a programme titled “Paternal branch”. They asked the Szalakóta Association to carry out the programme. It is registered within the COLLEGE OF ARTS programme (NKA call identifier: 787113/00018) -  ATYAI ÁG - GERGELY AGÓCS AND THE FONÓ FOLK BAND - HUNGARIAN-TURKIC FOLK MUSIC CONCERT SERIES  - financial support of 6.680.000 HUF.  21 performers took part in the tour which in itself is a proof of how unique the concert series was. More than 4500 people saw the concerts at 6 different concert locations and we travelled more than 2500 kilometres. A dozen organisers helped us through the tour without whom this project would not have been possible. It was amazing that all our concerts were sold out. The recording of the concerts was completed in January 2020. 

  • 21 September 2019 Kecskemét – Hírös Agóra (XXVII. Kecskemét Folk Music Festival)

  • 22 September 2019 Budapest - Gül Baba Türbe

  • 24 September 2019 Budapest – MüPa Bartók Béla Concert Hall

  • 26 September 2019 Székelyudvarhely – Cultural Center

  • 27 September 2019 Marosvásárhely –  Culture Palace

  • 28 September 2019 Debrecen - Csokonai Theatre 




    • As part of a research, on behalf of the Planet Studio Kft., we interviewed people who had been kept in mental institutions unjustly in the 1950’s. This research served as a basis for the documentary which will be shown in 2019. The title of the film is “Letters from the madhouse”. The film was originally the dream of Gábor Mező, who got the idea while he was reading a couple of letters in the Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security. In the paper with the same title as the film he wrote that he seldom gets emotional during work, but this story really touched him, and he immediately knew he had to write about it. 



    • Our Association was requested  by the HM Zrínyi Nonprofit Kft. Military Film Studio to take part in the production, the organisation and assistant directing of the recording of their documentary film “ Twelve hells”. We had the following tasks: 

      • Participating in the technical script 

      • Keeping contact with the representatives of cooperating organisations  (HM, HIM, military experts, military historians, military tradition preservation associations)

      • Supply and acquisition of sets, costumes and other equipments

      • Organising accommodation and catering at the locations

      • Preparation and supply of pyrotechnics and imitations 

      • Renting of vehicles, coordination of own vehicles

      • Coordination of the commute and activity of actors, extras and staff 

      • Assistance in preparation of shot lists and scenes according to the script 

      • Reviewing the recorded scenes together with the directors, preparation of raw material for editing and scripting

      • Our association carried out the tasks in Hungary, Slovenia and Italy also in English language


    • At the request of the Garamond Kiadványszerkesztő Stúdió Kft. we completed a smaller illustrated study. The publication was edited by the BNPD and was made into a manual from an environmental view point, mainly for forestry personnel, dealing with tree markings in Natura 2000 areas.


  • The Szalakóta Association visited Székelyudvarhely on the behalf of the Bese Association to exchange knowledge and experience about traditional fruit gardening with local producers. We made a short summary about this visit:  
  • The Bese Association organised the First Fruit Festival of Mezőség on 7 November,  2015. They asked us to organise and carry out the cultural programmes. The following video is a summary of the day: 


  • 14 March 2015. Phono again and again! We can't stop... 



  • We organised the Phono dance gathering! More than 70 people from the village were taking part in the dance, and the Pipás group were playing, while Dr. Tibor Szász and Dániel Siptár gave lectures during the event. Dr. Tibor Szász, honorary university professor, started the programme by sharing his views about sustainability. After his lecture some members of the audience asked what could be done to find solutions to some of the problems he mentioned. What can ordinary people do?  Sustainability: "„Sustainable development is a progress that satisfies current needs without endangering the chance for satisfying the needs of further generations.” This is the simplest way to put it. All of our activities have consequences, but they may only be experienced by our children. Will they be happy about it? What can a resident of Cserépfalu do about it? They can pay attention to their consumption without purchasing needlessly, or avoid purchasing food from other countries rather than food grown in the region.  Collect waste selectively, pay attention to water consumption, since water is our vital element and our body is 70% water. Let us quote the words of a Native American thinker here:​ “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realise that one cannot eat money.”

  • In the Summer of 2014, in cooperation with the For the Future of Cserépfalu Organisation and the local municipality, we organised the second Colony of Artists in Cserépfalu in which five painters took part from different parts of the country. As a closing event we held an exhibition and an auction of the paintings made during the programme. Eight of the paintings were purchased by visitors of the event.


  • In the Summer of 2013, in cooperation with the local government, we organised the first Colony of Artists in Cserépfalu in which 10 painters participated arriving from different parts of the country. As a closing event, we held an exhibition of the paintings made during the programme and 10 paintings were donated to the village of Cserépfalu. They can be seen on Cserépfalu Blog
  • We formed the Csurdóka folk dance group, which holds rehearsals weekly and hosts Phono dance houses monthly in the Community House of Cserépfalu. The latter is a modern version of the traditional “fonó” gathering, including lectures, performances, folk music, folk dance and more informal conversations. Our aim with the dance house is to form a powerful local community.