Slovak and Moravian String Music




Belonging to the same continuum of small string ensemble music that stretches from Romanian Transylvania through Hungary, the Czech Republic and up to the Zakopane region of Southern Poland, the string band music of Slovakia and Moravia is unique and there are many treasures. I first came upon recordings of this music in the early 80s. I wanted to hear more and to learn more. I even began a study of the Slovak language. When I visited Slovakia in the mid 80s, still firmly under socialism, I learned that if I were permitted to enter Slovakia for research, I would most likely not be permitted to leave the city of Bratislava. This was not my idea of doing field work. My research in Romania in the late 70s was difficult for many reason, but as an officially invited foreign scholar I was permitted to travel. In Slovakia it was to be a different matter and I gave up. Later when things changed after the fall of the Berlin Wall, too many things changed. That same Socialist government that had so strongly supported folklore was now gone and with it the support. Folklore continued but no longer had the special status it did before, and what was considered folk music changed rapidly.

It is for this reason that I am putting up these recordings of that music. I think the recordings in any form are no longer available and they reflect that unique and purer style of Slovak and Moravian folk music. Without the strong governmental support that existed in the bad old days, I doubt that they should become available again for quite a while.


Robert Garfias


April 8, 2004

I will keep adding to this gradually.

Vonicka Dulcimer Band (Moravian Band)
A lovely and refined, all women's group that plays clean semi-revivalist versions of Moravian folklore.


Chodila Maticka

Ma-mila-rozmila and Pselo-bylo-tma

nejezdi ty synku


Aj odolan nedolan


Jan Berky-Mrenica (Slovak)
Popular and well recorded towards the end of the Socialist period, well rooted in folklore but with an arresting and contemporary interpretation of the Slovakian folklore


Sadla Muska

Bodaj ten kohut zbludil

Vrchovske cardases

Hajnailovske cifry



Music for strings

I am not too sure about this last one. It was copied from a friend long ago and I no longer remember the source. I put it here because it sounds to me like Jan Berky-Mrenica, his flashy, neo-folk style. This one is really powerful and when the csardas gets going its hard not to want to dance.


Lubomir Malek Dulcimer Band (Slovak)




Slavek Volavy Dulcimer Band (Slovak)

Nebanovala bych