Istvan Marta – Doom. A sigh (1989)

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“Doom. A sigh” is based on two songs that Istvan Marta recorded during his visit to Romania. The first, sung by mrs. Pieter Bendek, 58, evokes her long dead parents, and the second, sung by mrs. Gergel Imre, recounts the scene of a bloody battle.

“In the summer of 1973, I visited the village of Trunk, Romania, a community of 400 Hungarians belonging to a folk group known as the Csangos. With my rudimentary equipment, I recorded some folk music and took some pictures. The village had been spared by civilization and the mass media. The people still spoke an archaic Hungarian and rarely moved beyond the comfines of their settlement. Their way of life, nevertheless, was doomed to extinction. Lack of schools and other circunstances were forcing the children to speak a language foreign to them; an encroaching government was weakening their sense of identity and family bonds. The village welcomed and accepted me. I was allowed to record their ancient stories, tales and songs, all in a peculiar Hungarian that predates the language reform of the early nineteenth century. Upon my return, I sent some photographs of the trip to my hosts in Trunk. Half a year later, the police identified those who had sung for me and levied heavy fines on them in punishment. It’s highly probable that the inhabitants of the village of Trunk were made to leave their homes and were resettled elsewhere in the years following 1973, purportedly because of the construction of a power station. In March 1974, I received a telegram in Romanian: “Do not come again”. I have heeded the message.” – Istvan Marta, 1989.

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