Ferenc Sebő has been a determining figure in the life of the Hungarian folk music in the past few decades, and renowned for initiating the movement for instrumental folk music, and the dancing-house.

The artist, whose career involves the activities of a vocalist, a musician, a composer as well as that of a folk-music researcher, was born in Szekszárd, on 10th February, 1947. He was educated in Székesfehérvár, then, in Budapest. As a student at the State Conservatory of Music, he learned to play the piano and the cello. In 1970, he graduated at the Budapest University of Technology with a degree in Architecture. Music played an important part in his life also during his university years. He played the cello with the University Symphony Orchestra, but he also made his appearance on the University Stages with performing recitals of folk song adaptations, and his songs composed to poems by Attila József, accompanying them with his guitar play.

In the first part of the 70’s, Ferenc Sebő worked as an architect; first, at the Planning Office of the County Council, then, at the Centre for Library Science and Methodology of the National Széchenyi Library. Along his regular work, he was also an active  member of the legendary 25th Theatre, where he contributed as a composer, perfomer artist and musical director.

In 1970, he established the Sebő Ensemble, together with his former university year- mate, Béla Halmos, which ensemble soon  grew into a four-member group. Their repertoire included, beside the olden style East- European peasant music, poems set to songs – among others, those by Attila József, Sándor Weöres and László Nagy were performed. The members of the Ensemble were also involved in collecting folk music; their aim becoming to perform the acquired piece of music in its authentic form. The Sebő Ensemble, in the following years, played a very important part in starting the dancing-house movement. There were two club- houses to run; the R-club of the University of Technology and the Kassák-club in Zugló. They attracted a wide range of audience, and were regularly visited by folk artists, well-known creative artists, as well as by public figures. In 1978, Ferenc Sebő, Béla Halmos and Sándor Tímar were presented with a shared State Award for organising the movement.

In the meantime, the accomplished artist, between the years of 1973 and 1980, also worked as a lecturer at the Department of Research in the Institution for Demotic Education. In 1984, he enrolled on a degree course at the Faculty of Musicology of the Academy of Music, where he graduated in 1989 with a degree in History of Music and also obtained the Certificate of Musicologists. Following this, he educated at the Béla Bartók Vocational Secondary School for Music, then, he taught folk music at the Faculty for Musicology of the Academy of Music, he  did scientific researches  as a Fellow of the Institution for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and designed and realised the electronic documentation of the Type Orders in Folk Music out of the enormous folk music collection of the Institution for Musicology.

Ferenc Sebő has composed accompanying music to several radio and television programmes, as well as to works of some of the best known Hungarian film directors – such as Miklós Jancsó, György Szomjas, Pál Zolnay or Gábor Bódy.

He had taken up an essential role in the pursue of enabling folk music, folk dance and the genre of olden music appear on television. For many years, there were television programmes running connected to his name, such as the Cimbora/ Buddies, Muzsikáló szerszámok/ Music-playing tools, Aprók tánca/ Dance of  the Tiny ones, Zenelánc/ Music- chain, Nyitott Stúdió/Open Studio, Musica Historica or the House of Traditions. From 1996, he has been the art director of the Hungarian National Folk Ensemble, while, from 2002 he has been holding the post of director of  the profession at the House of Traditions.

Ferenc Sebő musical achievments have been acknowledged by several awards and distinctions.


Ferenc Sebő

(voice, hurdy-gurdy, guitar, Jew's harp)

Iván Barvich

(tárogató, bulgarian kaval, panflute, sheperd's pipe, tenor tambura, harmonizing tambura)

László Perger

(first tambura, bulgarian tambura, guitar)

The Sebő-ensemble

(Click to enlarge!)


József Attila: Rejtelmek (Mysteries are calling me)

Nagy László: Ki viszi át a szerelmet
(Who will carry love over)

Orbán Ottó: Egy jó borivó vágáns éneke

József Attila: Harmatocska (Little Dew)Horatius/Sebő: Lydiához (Ad Lydiam)Weöres Sándor: Őszi éjjel izzik a galagonya ruhája

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