25/02/2013: Milestone English teacher Vilma Nádasdy (who also moonlights as a radio host) and her father, noted Hungarian linguist and poet Ádám Nádasdy, have put together a programme of traditional Hungarian songs that they perform at Pepita Ofelia Bar. Called ‘magyar nóta’, these songs were written between the 1890s and the 1930s, and constitute a sort of popular music of the time.
The rare joint performances by father and daughter offer not only a glimpse into a musical world replete with a particularly Hungarian nostalgia, but also feature witty introductions by Ádám Nadasdy that provide historical and societal context to the genre, the individual songs and their composers.
Though the songs originally served the purpose of light entertainment, they now function as a window onto the past and its attitudes, often involving romantic love or the misinformed longing of city-dwellers for the countryside. The magyar nóta fall into two categories, the csárdás and the ballada that also correspond to gender roles, so that women are generally assigned the happier csárdás while men tend to perform the more melancholy ballada. Yet as Ádám Nádasdy points out, a Hungarian anomaly is at work here, too, since even happy songs are set in minor rather than major, as the Western tradition of classical music would have it.