The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

Anthropology of Europe Workshop, April 10: Katalin Kovalcsik


CEERES and the Anthropology of Europe Workshop present:

Katalin Kovalcsik (Institute of Musicology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

“The Change of Storytelling in a Hungarian Vlach Romani Community from the 1980s to 2002”

Thursday, April 10, 2008
5:00 p.m.
Haskell 315

Reception to follow.

If you need assistance attending this talk, please contact CEERES at 773-702-0875.

Abstract: An analysis of tale telling in the Vlach Romani community in a northeastern village in Hungary will be drawn from recording sessions with Mihály Rostás, a Churari Vlach Romani man and other storytellers in the 1980s. In this village tale-telling in Romani was mainly a form of men’s entertainment. It became a community event through strict rules of behavior, through the use of a stock of elaborate speech formulas, and through compulsory audience participation. Women’s interpretation was reserved, and they concentrated on the essentials of the content. They could not tell stories at social gatherings where men were present. Women were important as storytellers mainly in the education of children. It was from the women that small children first heard simplified versions of the stories that they later learned from men to narrate at community events. The change of life style has altered the frame both of the public and private storytelling. People have told stories for children but the public storytelling has pushed to the background. At the same time the repertory changed as well. The new type of storytelling we can see on the vigil of Rostás in 2002 who was the last person telling stories on a traditional way. The lecture will be illustrated with video fragments.

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