by Agnes Felber April. 16, 2014 2657 views

Pista Dankó (July 13, 1858 – March 19, 1903) was a Hungarian-born bandleader and composer belonging to the Romani people. He primarily worked in the folk music styles popular in Hungary in the 19th century.

Dankó was born in the Hungarian city of Szeged, where he began composing music at the age of 28. He then moved to the city of Szatmar, where he would meet and begin courting Ilonka Joó, the daughter of Szatmar's mayor. Since Dankó was a gypsy, the mayor disapproved of the relationship, prompting Dankó and Joó to elope. The two were together until Pista's death from lung disease in 1903.

While living in Szeged, Dankó composed music for over 400 poems. One of his most popular songs of the time was Az a szép, az a szép (Handsome is He, Handsome is He), which is still among popular folk dance songs in Hungary.

Dankó is a rare example of a Roma who was born into poverty and then rose to relative fame and fortune. He primarily did this by working to satisfy the musical taste of the public, and thus achieving popularity. As is often the case, Dankó received a considerable amount of recognition after his death, when following generations of Hungarians were even more enthusiastic about and accepting of his music.

A public statue of Dankó was erected in Szeged, on the bank of the Tisza river. A Hungarian-language film named Dankó Pista was also made based on his life, released in January 1941.

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Juhã¡Szn㩠ÉVa 7 years ago


7 years ago Edited
Dan Ravasio 7 years ago

another great pairing of art and history Agnes

7 years ago Edited
Becky Brannon 7 years ago

Very informative!

7 years ago Edited
Moira 7 years ago

Lovelt sculpture , he seems to be hugging his violin

7 years ago Edited
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