So why am I bothering to devote an entire post to something Hungarians claim is stupid and unrepresentative of their culture? I came to realize that pop is unrepresentative of their traditional culture, but not of their culture. I would make the same argument for American pop because it may not be rooted in tradition, but it certainly reflects the sensibility of the young generation. Hungarians my age or older (I regrettably did not know any youthful Hungarians) talked about how Westernized it was, but I could only wonder if that is the generational divide. Could the youth of Hungary be more westernized now than ten years ago? I certainly could argue that they are given the prevalence of the internet and globalized communication. They know what's cool in America. It's hard not to know, but they still buy music in their own language! VIVA, the MTV of Europe, does a very even balance of Hungarian and English music and I'm sure that's purposeful. Hungarians are very protective of their language.
What I find commendable is that instead of merely consuming imported music, Hungarian youth are also creating their own pop music in their own language. Hungarian is a very melodic language and people reiterated how great Hungarian is for music and singing. This wasn't brainwashing because it's full of vowels, it employs a linguistic technique called "vowel harmony", and it really does roll of the tongue. Vowel harmony groups vowels together to give the same quality of sound, which surprisingly makes speaking the language considerably easier once you get the hang of it. I found Hungarian to sound very beautiful and melodic. It makes sense that Hungarians want to carry the tradition of the language is music. While it may not be as rich in tradition as folk songs, those songs are from a time that teenagers can't relate to unless they're still farming out in the backwaters. Most of the consumers of pop culture are concerned with the modern world and not the agrarian past, which is understandable. They have to learn to navigate a globalized world of diminished borders. The perfect example of this is Nguyen Thanh Hien, who is a Hungarian pop singer.
There are more artists than I'm highlighting here. I mostly want to bring attention to the effort to preserve the unique tongue through modern vehicles. If kids hunger after American things, at least they're bringing the culture of their language to the table and harnessing that energy. I understand the sentiment that it's removed from Hungarian roots, but they're not forsaking their Hungarian identity entirely. Hungary is now part of the Schengen zone so they are opening up to the world. This means they have to consciously keep their culture and language alive and pop music can aide this. Sure, the culture behind rap is not Hungarian, but language packs away culture. Hungarian rap is not all about bitches, money, and Kristal, so one could say that these artists are not carbon copying, but putting on their own spin on the genre. I will touch on rap in Germany later this week and this is a point I will bring up there. The tradition of the music may not be culturally rooted, but it's not without cultural ties to the country. I feel like although pop music is not the most rich source of culture, it's one way to preserve what you have in the face of Westernization and changing concerns.