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Africa in Hungary, Hungary in Africa

Africa in Hungary, Hungary in Africa

2019. június 14. | Bridges, Intercontinental bridges, handover ceremony, Addis Ababa, Hungarian Open Air Museum, Directorate for Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Ethiopian folk music materials collected by Hungarian researchers in 1965 were ceremonially handed over in the National Theatre, Addis Ababa

Supported by the Ministry for Human Capacities, an International cultural programme titled “Intercontinental bridges for safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity took place in June organised by the Directorate of Intangible Cultural heritage, Hungarian Open Air Museum. The series of programmes consisting of two large parts, aimed at the participation of professionals in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage of African countries.
Hungary joined the UNESCO convention about safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in 2006. Taking into account the priorities of UNESCO, our country initiated the implementation of programmes that can promote safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in developing countries, especially in Africa.
The first part of the cultural programme series building connections took place in Hungary in June, while the second part was hosted by Ethiopia. Between 3rd and 10th June, folk music and folkdance professionals from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, and Zimbabwe participated in a professional training in the framework of which they took part in a dance house and folk music events, the dance house method and the Kodály concept were introduced to them, and they also met cultural heritage communities. The one-week programme concluded with the Whitsun Heritage Celebration festival in the Skanzen.

The programme series continued in Addis Ababa National Theatre on 14 June. On behalf of the Hungarian State Dr. Eszter Csonka-Takács president of the Hungarian National Committee for Intangible Cultural heritage of UNESCO handed over to Ethiopia the digitalised version of the unique recordings of folk music and dance collected by Hungarian researchers in the 1960s. The digitalised material was taken over by the National library and Archive, the Ethiop Studies Institute in Addis Ababa, and the Yared School of Music. The ceremony included a festive speech of the deputy minister for culture of Ethiopia and traditional folk music and dance programme. As a guest of honour, the Szeged Folk Dance Ensample performed accompanied by the Mirror band.
A one-day workshop-conference was held in the Yared Music School on 15th June, in the framework of which the story of the collection in 1965, the digitalisation of the material, its procession in the database, as well as the diplomatic and cultural background of the professional collaboration were presented by Hungarian, Ethiopian, French and American researchers.
The ceremonial and professional programme did not serve the close-down of a process, but rather the renewal and development of a collaboration having started in the past, while at the same time it opened up new opportunities for future collaboration for Ethiopia and Hungary.
The Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Science, the Ethiopian Embassy in Hungary, and the Hungarian National Committee of UNESCO participated in the preparatory work and the implementation of the programme, by which helping the work of the Directorate of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Hungarian Open Air Museum.

The story of the folklore material ceremonially handed over in Ethiopia:
Following the 1964 visit of the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I. to Hungary, in accordance of his request, folk music and dance collection started in Ethiopia with the participation of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Science led by Zoltán Kodály. The folk dance material was recorded by György Martin (1932.1983) and the music was collected by Bálint Sárosi (1925-) under contemporary technical conditions. Ethiopian experts also joined in the collection tour along with the Hungarian researchers (head of music department of the Ethiopian Radio, and the director of the National Theatre). It was a six-week collection during which the researchers took more than 6000 km, and voice/sound and film recordings were made at 17 different settlements. In collaboration with contemporary informants, more than 3000 m of film was shot, 40 hours of audio material was recorded, more than a thousand photos were taken, and 2000 pages of notes were written down.

The opportunity to digitally process the collected folk music and folk dance material at the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Science arose after fifty years, and the digitalised collection was handed over to Ethiopia. The database named Ethiofolk is freely accessible online –  and it can be expanded and used in scientific research and education for the stakeholder communities.



Hungarian National Commission for UNESCO
Elemér Muharay Folk Art Assosiation
Assosiation of Hungarian Folk Artists
Institute of Ethnology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Kriza János Ethnographic Society
Hungarian Ethnographic Society
Museum of Ethnography
Hungarian Heritage House
National Cultural Institute