Fiddlers of Budapest

It was only a few decades ago when no less than forty Gypsy bands would play live music at the different restaurants of Nagykörút, that is Budapest’s Grand Boulevard in the evenings. Gypsy musicians used to be esteemed members of the local communities across the Carpathian Basin and their knowledge was passed down from father to son. However, today both the tradition and the trade are about to disappear: at most restaurants one can only hear Gypsy musicians playing in solo performances or duets at best. Children of the musician families prefer to study classical music or find their livelihoods playing popular music.

Fiddlers of BudapestTo support and popularise this kind of classical Gypsy music typically played at restaurants, the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister and the Hungarian Heritage House have jointly launched the Fiddlers of Budapest programme, in the framework of which, Gypsy bands of four to seven members will be playing live music six days a week at twelve of Budapest’s famous restaurants during the summer tourist season, between 20 May and 20 August. Tourists, as well as those longing for nostalgia and even younger generations will thus have the chance to experience the unique and captivating atmosphere created by their music. With this exceptional initiative, we hope to keep this tradition of community-building music-playing alive.

We must make the singing a fashion again, because if the people cannot sing to the gypsy music, that is the death of it. Because then you will listen a bunch of concert music. You can say that those are beautiful and you like them, but that is the same if you go to a classical concert hall. The gypsy music has its own place in the Hungarian culture, so after ten years from now, we would like to talk about the blooming of this music and not the memory of that. Achieving that is our mission.

Back then, when the gypsy music was on its heyday the gypsy musicians has been taught not only how to play music, but how to dress, how to serve the audience (even if it is a small village or the royal family), because these gypsy musicians has been followed the people’s life from the birth to the funeral all over the Carpathian Basin. Our most famous gypsy primates are Imre Magyari and Kálmán Banyák – they were musicked for even noble and royal families.

Restaurants and gypsy bands:


Reataurant Adress Name of gypsy band
Evezős Sörkert 1031 Budapest, Római part 34. Budai Sándor és Zenekara
Fekete Holló Étterem 1014 Budapest, Országház u. 10. Sarkadi Károly és Zenekara
Gerbeaud Bistro 11051 Budapest, Vörösmarty tér 7-8. Lakatos Mihály és Zenekara
Kárpátia Étterem 1053 Budapest, Ferenciek tere 7-8. Sárközi Lajos és Zenekara
Márványmenyasszony Étterem 1012 Budapest, Márvány u. 6. Lakatos Miklós és Zenekara
New York Kávéház 1073 Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11. Roma Hungaricum Zenekar
Panoráma Terasz 1051 Budapest, Vigadó tér 3. Budapest Gipsy Band
Rosé Étterem 1072 Budapest, Akácfa u. 24. Farkas Band
Százéves Étterem 1052 Budapest, Piarista u. 2. Ifj. Sárközi Lajos és Zenekara
Szeged Étterem 1114 Budapest, Bartók Béla út 1. Oláh Ernő és Zenekara
Tepertő Magyaros Étterem 1092 Budapest, Ráday u. 20. Tepertő Zenekar
Városliget Café & Restaurant 1146 Budapest, Olof Palme stny. 5. Roma Hungaricum Zenekar


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