Marta Sebestyen Biography

Budapest, Hungary. Widely celebrated as one of the world’s finest female vocalists, Sebestyén has recorded as a solo artist and also as an intrinsic part of Hungarian folk group Muszikás. She grew up in Budapest surrounded by music, her mother having studied under renowned composer and folk song collector Zoltan Kodaly. Sebestyén had begun singing at concerts and on television performances while still a child. She soon graduated to Budapest ‘dance houses’, a movement which rebelled against the uniformity of culture under the Communist regime. She joined the Sebö And Halmos group in 1975 before enlisting in Hungary’s best-known folk group, Muszikás, in 1980. She also spent several years collaborating with another popular Hungarian group, Vujicsics. In the 80s, most of her energies were spent, however, touring Europe with Muszikás. In 1984, she sang a folk musical based on the life of Hungary’s former king Stephen, and in 1991 was awarded the title Female Singer Of The Year. Later she became the first Hungarian singer to be given the Liszt Award. In 1992, she released her debut solo album, Apocrypha, featuring a repertoire of Romanian, Slovak, Bulgarian and Serbian songs, which brought international recognition. In 1995, she recorded Kismet, alongside multi-instrumentalist producer Nikola Parov, the leader of Budapest group Zsarotnok. Other musicians included Zoltan Lanton (violin), Kornel Horvath (percussion), Péter Éri (mandola) and András Berecz (vocals). This time the songs drew on her widespread travels rather than relying simply on indigenous Hungarian music. It was also her first album to be sung entirely in English. Many of the songs were based on Irish tradition, including ‘The Shores Of Loch Bran’ and ‘On Leaving Derry’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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