Marta Sebestyen (born in Budapest in 1957) grew up surrounded with music. Her mother, a music teacher, studied with the great Hungarian composer, researcher and ethnomusicologist Zoltan Kodaly.
When Marta Sebestyen reached 12 years of age, she already knew that her life would be bound to music. Marta says: "... I grew up in the magic of traditional music. First, there were the songs I heard from my mother. Later on, traditional music came to my life" like a whole new world.
She has given and is still giving concerts all over the world both as a solo artist and also as a guest performer with several Hungarian and international folk groups. Marta sang for H.M. Queen Elisabeth II., the Japanese Emperor and the Spanish Royal Family in diplomatic events.
Since 1974, she has been awarded with many awards, both in her country and abroad. Her collaboration with Deep Forest gave her a Grammy Award in 1996 at the World Music Category. She has also recorded with Peter Gabriel and has been discovered by audiences from various fields of music. She was the "Voice of the English Patient" which was awarded with 9 Oscars also for the music in 1997.
Apart from her contribution in music, Marta Sebestyen has also been honored for her contribution on spreading the tradition of Hungary. She is Honorable Member of the Hungarian Art Academy, she has been declared as Ambassadress of Hungarian Culture and in October 2010 Marta Sebestyen will be awarded as "Artist for Peace" by UNESCO, for all her efforts to bring together different cultures through music and her contribution to music and culture during her career as a musician and folk singer.
Marta Sebestyen "has always been Hungary's hidden secret. A singer, a researcher, a carrier of the rich traditional music of Hungary. Perhaps, for the majority of people, she was a singer discovered as the "Voice of the English Patient", which was awarded with 9 Oscars or Deep Forest's pop success "Marta's Song". However, for the "connaiseurs" of music, her personality stands out for two reasons: first, for the way she used to bring to the surface Hungary's music treasures and second, for her exceptional vocal abilities that are hidden in a small body with a girl's face. Her voice is made from a very unique material. She performs in a very exact way different songs from different time periods. And she remembers dozens of them, as if this is her oxygen..."
Leonidas Antonopoulos, Passport Magazine
A RIVER OF MUSIC:
Bridging the Danube valley with Epirus region in Greece,
Thrace and the Bosphorus...
The "Bridges Hidak" project traces, discovers and presents the exact elements from the cultural exchange between Hungary and Greece. It discovers the melodious treasures which have stayed alive throughout the centuries and shows the close relation between the two nations that can be detected on the first hearing.
"Bridges" project brings together the folk music of Hungary and Greece, and it is a natural progression of Marta Sebestyen's work until the present days. The project perfectly illustrating the objective of constructing a bridge between the music of Csangos and the Epirus people with the pentatonic scale providing a firm foundation, the Hungarian traditions of the tanchaz (dance hall) meet with the Zonaradiko dance originating in Thrace. The musical journey follows the path of the legendary Prince Cantemir down as far as the Bosporus, at the point where two continents meet.
Sofia Labropoulou has set up an excellent orchestra consisting of great Greek soloists, so as to beautifully present the wealth of all of these rich musical traditions.
The worldwide premiere of the project took place in Thessaloniki as a part of the Hungarian participation in T.I.F. Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (September 2010) and was absolutely successful. It has also been rewarded with a brilliant concert in Budapest (Palace of Arts MUPA, November 2011) that has been filmed and recorded.