Hungarian jazz great guides young Roma musicians
For young Gypsy musicians, it’s a unique opportunity to get ahead in life.
Renowned Hungarian jazz guitarist Ferenc Snetberger’s music school for Roma kids is coming to the end of its inaugural year, with around 60 students getting instruction not just in their instruments but also in subjects such as English and computer skills seen as key to building a professional career.
Nearly all of the students at the Snetberger Music Talent Center in Felsoors, a picturesque village among rolling hills on the north side of Lake Balaton, two hours drive from the capital Budapest, come from underprivileged Roma families.
The integration of its Roma community, estimated at around 5-8 percent of Hungary’s 10 million people, is one of the largest social and economic challenges facing the country. Unemployment among Hungary’s Roma ballooned after the 1990 end of communism, which resulted in the close of many mines and factories that provided low-skilled jobs.