Sharing culture

Music used to break boundaries

Hungarian folk band Sondorgo plays traditional Hungarian dancing music in Northern Michigan University’s Lydia M. Olson Library Friday afternoon as part of a free workshop. Attendees of the workshop could receive free tickets to the bands concert later that night at the Kaufman Auditorium. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

MARQUETTE — Storytelling is often carried out through music. The Hungarian folk group Sondorgo used Hungaro-Serbian tamburas, traditional signature folk instruments, to share a touch of its culture with the Marquette community through a series of performances on Friday.

The band, comprised of three brothers, their cousin and a best friend who’s more like a brother, they said, performed traditional music and discussed its origin during a free workshop held at the Lydia M. Olson Library Friday afternoon and a concert Friday evening at the Kaufman Auditorium.

These performances marked the band’s first stop on their month-long tour in the U.S. as they share their newly released album. They continue to perform this traditional music, which was typically meant for dancing, because over 300 years ago Serbians and Croatians escaped from the Turkish empire, but were still able to keep their musical and religious culture alive in Hungary.

Beaumier Upper Peninsula Heritage Center Director Dan Truckey thought the band’s tour posed a unique opportunity for U.P. residents to get in touch with their roots or learn about music from a culture outside of their own.

“We’ve brought groups from all over the world to Northern and to the U.P. and we always wanted to bring a group that played this kind of music, this Slavic folk music because in parts of the U.P. there’s a lot of people from Slavic countries who emigrated here, but there are very few of these types of groups who tour the United States so when I saw that they were coming I just jumped at the chance to bring a group like them here,” Truckey said.

To see Sondorgo perform is a chance to bring back those memories and relive those experiences, even if only for a night.

“Part of it is just to expose people to different cultures and ideas and different kinds of music,” Truckey said. “I think that that just enriches our lives.”