Tag Archives: Gypsy

Cigány primás – Zoltán Mága

My Dad has been gone for eight years now, but he returned today, in the music of Zoltán Mága. I recognized the gypsy ‘style’ as soon as the Offspring said, “Mum, you have to hear this!’

This first video clip is a csárdás – the music for a Hungarian folk dance – and Zoltán Mága is what my Dad used to call a ‘Cigány primás’, literally the prime or first violin of a gypsy band.

Dad wasn’t a gypsy primás, but he did learn the violin from one, and that influence stayed with him his entire life. I grew up learning to play from sheet music [on the piano] so I could teach Dad to play songs by ear. One of his favourites was Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago.

My tastes in music ran more to classical music like the Hungarian Rapsody by Franz Liszt or Ferenc Liszt as we Magyar would write it:

But Dad would have absolutely adored this exuberant gypsy music:

Pacsirta is a kind of bird, hence the bit in the middle. 🙂

Dad was a champion gymnast, a mechanical engineer, and in the last third of his life, a busker on the streets of Melbourne. He became quite famous as the man in the tuxedo who played his violin on the trains. He was 87 when he finally stopped playing, 89 when he died.

I miss you Dad.

28/03/1996 NEWS: Violinist ‘Lolly’ with activities support officer Ray Thompson. Busker. Busking. Buskers.


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