The Kalyi Jag
“As a north-east hungarian gipsy kid, I have dreamed great I live that dream for my life.”
Mr. Gusztáv Varga
(decorated with one of the highest Hungarian medals, the Knight’s Cross)
The Group was founded at the end of August 1978 of young Roma lawyers, educators
and working-class origin musicians coming from the territory of north-eastern Hungary.
There were several reasons for the foundation. On the one hand it became necessary to make widely
known the real, authentic Roma culture, on the other hand to defeat by fostering their mother tongue
the negative opinions, since through the language of music everybody is understandable and everybody
can be loved. More positive communication can be transferred if music of Kalyi Jag gets to
knowledgeable human intelligence.
At the beginning the group had often played at worker’s hostels, youth clubs, in camps and culture
houses. Gypsy language songs, the most original, most authentic genre of gypsy folklore were of
a great success.
The group’s name spread as a raging fi re through the country. This was the fi rst group in the
country and in Europe who performed its own folklore on Roma mother tongue.
In 1979 the Parliament awarded the prize „Young Masters of Folk Art” to the Group. From 1981
„Kalyi Jag” was already well-known in the great theatres, too. In this year the Group had a tour in
the Netherlands which was a historical event in the Roma culture.
In the 1982 the Hungarian Television, the Hungarian Radio and the BBC prepared a 40 minutes
programme with the Group. By 1982 the Group had 100 performances per year.
In 1983 records called Folk art in Europe-Belgium and „Who want to be a piper” were made with the
Group. In 1983 the Group has won the national „Ki mit tud?” (What can you do?) competition with
dancer Béla Balogh, winner of „Golden spur” and Young Master of Folk Art prizes. The audience of
Cuba could also enjoy the music of the Group’s in this year and the 5th anniversary was celebrated
which was fi lmed by the Hungarian Television.
The Group was invited into Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Finland, South-Korea,
Marocco, Denmark, Brazilia, Poland. The Group also toured in Italy, Netherlands, Czech Republic,
Bulgaria, Spain, India, Canada, New Zeland, Chicago, New York, Washington, Los Angeles,
San Fransisco, Arizona, …
In 1994 the European Youth Parliament, the One World Group and the Music Television awarded
the European Prize to the Group. The programme was recorded by MTV,Euro Television and was
broadcast in the Far East and in the United States, too.
Kalyi Jag’s work in 1996 proved that this is the only cultural endeavour which conqéuered several
thousand people with its music. Each of their performances were visited by 10.000 people. Kalyi Jag
received invitation from the Brooklyn Philharmonics and from the Chicago Symphonic Orchestra for the
joint tour planned for the end of 1997-1999.
The Kalyi Jag