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Kálmán Balogh Gypsy Cimbalom Band and the Karavan Familia at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The performance offers a musical journey into the wide stylistic varieties of Roma musical tradition from Hungary and Central-Europe.  Either melancholic or fiery, the melodies and the rhythms captivate the listeners with the distinctive virtuoso sounds of Hungarian gypsy music played by these superb musicians with great brio and bravado.
Members:Kálmán Balogh (cimbalom), Csaba Novák (double bass), Róbert Lakatos (violin) István Nagy (vocal, guitar, tamboura, blues harmonica) and Ilona Farkas (vocal, dance)

Kálmán Balogh is one of the foremost Hungarian cimbalom players, descending from a famous dynasty of Hungarian Gypsy musicians. His virtuosity is matched only by his understanding and respect of his heritage. A graduate of Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music of Budapest, he has completed many successful tours throughout the world with various ensembles, including five tours in North America. He plays mostly authentic folk music from Hungary and from the Balkans, though during the last years he has played with jazz groups, rock bands and symphony orchestras too. As an artist he has performed with several Hungarian bands including Muzsikás, the Swedish Orient-Express, the Dutch Sultan and Ot Azoj, the English Transglobal Underground, the American Peter Ogi and the Joel Rubin Jewish Ensemble. He was musical director of the "Magneten Gypsy Show" of Andre Heller and also performed with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and also with the Miami Philharmonic Orchestra. The cimbalom, a sort of oversized hammer dulcimer played with mallets like a vibraphone, possesses piano like percussive abilities to drive a band rhythmically or take the melodic lead. In Kálmán Balogh's expert hands, the cimbalom can do both simultaneously. His mastery of this unique and rare Hungarian folk instrument has mesmerized audiences.

Csaba Novák (double bass)
Csaba before performing with Kálmán Balogh has played in the famous orchestra of young talented Roma musicians the Rajkó-band and in other Budapest based gypsy bands of legendary fame such as Ifj. Ferenc Sánta Ferenc, Lakatos Sándor,  Ifj. Kállai Kis Erno. He is a member of the Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble as well. Recently he is participating in world music performances as well with Frankie Lato, Bea Palya etc.
Further info on Kálmán Balogh and the Gipsy Cimbalom Band please visit

The Karavan Familia is a Gipsy World-music group from Hungary – which plays traditional Gipsy music arrangements with individual effects and sounds. They aim at refreshing the sound of Gipsy musical tradition by mixing traditional Hungarian gypsy folk tunes with more modern or international expressions. Karavan Familia wants to popularise and preserve the artistic and human values of Gipsy culture.

They are a real family: Parents are István Nagy (vocal, guitar, tamboura, blues harmonica) and Ilona Farkas (vocal, dance) played before in Romanyi Rota, Romano Kokalo, and István was a guest artist on Transglobal Underground recording "Rejoice, Rejoice" (1998). The Karavan's first CD entitled "Gipsy Flamenco" (EMI, 2002) where Boban Markovic (Gipsy trumpet player from Serbia) participated as a guest musician.
In 2003 the group was enlarged with the two children of the artist-couple.
Bandpage on Facebook with soundtracks:


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